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MINUTES - MORRIS CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING - MARCH 28, 2017

The regular meeting of the Morris City Council was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 28th day of March, 2017, by Mayor Giese in the Council Chambers of the Morris Senior Citizens/Community Center.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE:  The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.

ROLL CALL:  Roll call was taken with the following members present:  Council member Wohlers, Solvie, Gullickson, Miller and Mayor Giese.  Also present was City Manager Hill, Police Chief Tiegs, Finance Director Raasch, Fire Chief Dybdal, Public Works Director Dittbenner and City Attorney Jordan.

CITIZEN'S COMMENTSResolution Accepting and Approving the 2016 Annual Financial Statements for the City of MorrisJamie Faye, Audit Manager from the city's auditing firm of Eide Bailey, was present at the meeting and reviewed the city's executive summary for 2016.  The city received a clean unmodified audit opinion, which is what the city wants and has received in the past.

Total expenditures for the city were $4,417,555 and revenues of $4,469,945.  At the end of the year the city had a fund balance of $3,789,158.  Faye stated the city has been consistent from year to year in revenues and expenditures.

Council member Miller moved, seconded by Gullickson, to adopt Resolution #3462-3-17, Resolution Accepting and Approving the 2016 Annual Financial Statements for the City of Morris.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried. 

ADDITIONS TO AGENDA:  Mayor Giese added the following items to the agenda:  Application for Exempt Permit from SCMC and a Resolution Authorizing the Purchase of a Transit Bus.

PUBLIC HEARING:  None

READING AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES:  3/14/17 Regular Meeting Minutes:  Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Council member Miller, to approve the 3/14/17 regular meeting minutes.  Motion carried.

3/14/17 Condensed Minutes:  Council member Gullickson moved, seconded by Solvie, to approve the 3/14/17 condensed version minutes.  Motion carried.

CONSENT AGENDA:  Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Wohlers, to approve the consent agenda which included the following items:

         A.      Audit of City Bills

         B.      Gambling Report

         C.      Community Ed Information

         D.      2/21/17 Planning Commission Minutes

         E.       Application for Exempt Permit - SCMC

Motion carried.

PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONSGambling Report from American Legion:  Council member Miller moved, seconded by Wohlers, to accept the gambling report from the American Legion.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor and Mayor Giese abstaining as an officer of the Legion, motion carried.

Accept Various Donations for Fire Department UTV:  Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Gullickson, to accept donations from Superior Industries ($250), Mohr Plumbing & Heating ($50), Spring Valley Farms ($500) and the American Legion ($2,600) for the purchase of a UTV for the Fire Department.  Motion carried.

ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONSResolution Accepting a Bid and Authorizing a Contract for the 2017 North, South and East Court, Brook Street and Eleanor Avenue Improvement Project

Jeff Kuhn of WSN was present at the meeting.  Kuhn stated bids were received last week and ranged from a low of just under $1.8 million with the high bids right around $2.4 million.  The engineer's estimate was $2.2 million.  Kuhn indicated this project is all local dollars, unlike last year's project that had federal money.   

Kuhn noted there was a separate schedule that included replacement of the culverts under Eleanor and Skyview Avenue, along with some additional ditch cleaning and tree removal.  Kuhn stated there is some flexibility allowed within this bid to possibly making some adjustments if need be.  Kuhn pointed out the city ultimately has control over this area and it needs to be maintained because it is a storm water conveyance feature for a large portion of the city.  Kuhn indicated the new culverts will be a drastic improvement from what is there today.  Currently there are 4-5' culverts which will be brought to a 10' wide minimum, 5' height box on the upstream and then 12' wide on the downstream to avoid a sanitary sewer line.  Kuhn stated from a capacity standpoint and from a pre to a post flow standpoint, the 100 year flood elevation rate will be reduced through those channels. 

Kuhn pointed out that funding for the bridge (culvert) replacement is tied to what the legislature is doing, so the possibility of funding is probably slim at this point.  Kuhn noted in talking with City Manager Hill they are recommending moving forward without that.  Kuhn added if the council decides to move forward the city would be unable to get reimbursed if the funds become available at a later date. 

Wohlers asked if Kuhn had been conversing with the Tree Board with regard to the trees that are being removed in this project.  Kuhn indicated he did attend a meeting and believes there is going to be an ongoing discussion.  Kuhn stated there is room to try to work together and the group was going to explore some other funding possibilities to accomplish what they would like to see.  Kuhn reminded the Tree Board that they need to work with the city because the city is the ultimate authority in maintaining that system for the rest of the citizens.   

Sue Granger, Tree Board member, stated they feel this project has three goals which include eliminating the local flooding, providing a continuous flow of storm water and minimizing future maintenance.  Granger stated the Tree Board and some neighbors are wondering if there is a way to do that without eliminating the environmental benefits and the wind break for the houses that the trees provide.  Granger pointed out the elimination of the trees would really change the character of the area.  It is currently a meandering sort of creek with a lot of trees, and right now the proposal is to turn it into a wide, straight, grassy ditch.  Granger stated the first plan shows quite a large area of clearance so they are looking at ways to fulfill those goals but maybe be a little more surgical about the tree removal and shaping of the area.  Granger stated they are trying to envision something that is a little more environmentally friendly, keeps the wildlife corridor and the neighborhood amenities.  Granger recognized that there aren't many creeks in Morris and it is important not just to the neighborhood but to the community.  Granger indicated that by just putting the culverts in, there's a possibility that will take care of the flooding.  Granger stated one suggestion was to put the culverts in and delay the rest of the project until next year or later this season. 

Wohlers asked if this bid were to be approved tonight, and the city were more selective with the tree removal, if it would cost more and is that built into this proposal.  Kuhn stated he approached the contractor in regards to some of these discussions and the hope is that this can move forward as is, and the contractor would work with the city to fine tune the design.  Kuhn does not think the city has to put a halt to the project.  Kuhn stated Riley's are a local contractor, good to work with, reasonable and not unfair.  Wohlers asked what phase of the project involved Green River.  Kuhn stated that has not been determined yet.  Kuhn indicated there is some flexibility to do it throughout the project but more than likely the contractor will want to do it sooner rather than later. 

Solvie asked what the design was for the area.  Kuhn explained the river would be cleaned out and a regrade of the channel to provide more uniform slopes from the sides instead of what is there now, which is abrupt eroded areas where there's no grass growing.  The plan is to straighten the alignment of the channel and pull it away from the road where it encroaches on Green River Road itself.  Solvie also asked about the tree cover, because there's extensive tree coverage from Skyview to the bypass on either side and also from Skyview to Eleanor.  Kuhn stated the plan includes taking and removing some tree cover so sunlight can reach the bare ground and get some vegetation to grow again.  Kuhn indicated there will be a wetland mix for the bottom of the channel and then more of a mobile grass on the upland slopes. 

Solvie asked how many trees would be left between those two stretches.  Kuhn stated that hasn't been fully decided because the plan is to remove by the area so there wasn't an initial count put together.  Kuhn noted the area from Skyview to Hwy 59 is mostly wetland so that will be confined to the first 100-200 feet east of Skyview. 

Hill pointed out that the river used to go out to the old highway garage and was eventually all filled in with culvert, so this is the last stretch of Green River that's left standing.  Hill explained there are literally trees growing in the channel that shouldn't be there, so somehow the city has to figure out how to clean that out.  The city owns property on the first stretch between Columbia and Eleanor and property owners have been asked to remove their stuff from the city property.  Hill noted there isn't that strip of buffer between residential and the creek.  Hill indicated the process moving forward is to work with the Tree Board to see the best way to maintain that piece of land.  Solvie confirmed that there is a responsibility to the other citizens of the town to take their water away. 

Jared House, Grant County Soil and Water and Morris resident, stated he attended the last Tree Board meeting and feels like the major concern for the citizens of that area is that the current plan looked like it would take out a lot of trees on a large stretch on the east side of the river.  House indicated he used to work for the PDT River Association and he knows the area pretty well.  House understands that the city has already moved ahead, but suggested there was some potential for clean water funds to integrate into this project.  House stated it is hard to look for those funds after a bid has been accepted.  House doesn't think the city would have to do much to the project to be eligible for those funds.  House noted the main thing for the Tree Board, and some of the residents, is that the kids play in the trees and they would like to see if there's a way to mitigate those losses.  House pointed out that doing this project is a benefit for water quality because of the way the banks are eroding and the amount of water that is going through there.

The council took a look at the plan for the area.  Considerable discussion was held on the Green River portion of the project.

Council member Gullickson suspected that when people bought houses along there the river was the allure of the property.  Kuhn agreed, but noted that people also have to be cognizant that it isn't their property. 

Siobhan Bremer, 2 Skyview Lane, stated that when purchasing their home they looked at the fact that it was an end house by water with trees.  Bremer also stated the trees block traffic noise and help block the street light that comes into their window.    

Mayor Giese pointed out that there is no us against them, everyone is the city.  Giese noted there are a lot of people that depend on this project and he is confident that it will all be worked out.  Giese thanked Granger and the Tree Board for taking this project on.  Kuhn noted the possible start date for the project is the middle of April but that is not definite. 

Granger noted with regard to the removal of trees along the streets there are 9 of them that have to be moved due to utility conflicts.  Hill added that number is down to 7. 

Giese stated he thinks the project should move forward because the city would be subject to losing the bid and it's quite a savings.  Kuhn stated that he and City Manager Hill would not move forward if it would end up costing the city more money.  Kuhn pointed out there will be weekly meetings held by the on-site engineer.  Hill added that the city would be sending out an informational letter to all the property owners.   

Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Wohlers, to adopt Resolution #3463-3-17, Resolution Accepting a Bid and Authorizing a Contract for the 2017 North, South and East Court, Brook Street and Eleanor Avenue Improvement Project.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Providing for the Sale of $2,195,000 G.O. Improvement Bonds, Series 2017A:   Nick Anhut, financial advisor from Ehlers, stated the proposal in front of the council is to work with Ehlers to house a competitive sale where they collect bids from various underwriters to finance this project.  The anticipated size of the financing is $2.195 million.  Anhut noted the bonds will be repaid from a combination of levied assessments and a tax levy.  Anhut explained in keeping with past policies the bond structure is to be repaid over a 15 year term.  Anhut indicated they would prepare the bond documents and come back at the second meeting in April with the results of the bids.  The bonds could be closed within a month after that time. 

Council member Miller moved, seconded by Solvie, to adopt Resolution #3464-3-17, Resolution Providing for the Sale of $2,195,000 G.O. Improvement Bonds, Series 2017A.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried. 

Resolution Authorizing Advertising for Quotes - Engineered Design Build HVAC System at Library:  Hill reviewed the history of the heating system at the library.  Hill stated the system is a maintenance nightmare and there is no fresh air circulating in the library.  Hill explained Johnson Controls came in and advised the city that an engineered system is needed for the library.  Hill recommended advertising for quotes from companies that would design a solution and build it.  Hill noted there are two parts to it which include the heating/cooling and the other is the air exchanger.  There is also a concern of how loud the registers would be.       

Mike Harding of Johnson Controls was present at the meeting and stated it would be an engineer design build self-executed contractor that could do the work.  Hill indicated $80,000 was budgeted to do a current proposed update but that probably isn't going to be the right fix.    Hill stated he thinks the reason there's so many mechanical problems with this system is that it wasn't designed to work the way it's working.  Harding stated the geothermal heat pump systems are the most efficient way to do heating and cooling, which the city already has.  Harding stated the city would get small gains in efficiency by going to newer style equipment.   Harding stated on the air exchange side the plan would be to leave the existing air exchangers there and utilize its capabilities and add dehumidification to provide fresh air. 

Miller asked about the potential of adding on or remodeling the library because it wouldn't make sense to custom build a system if that is still a possibility.  Harding explained the existing geo thermal heat pump would be utilized and the concept is to go with new more efficient counsel units on the geothermal, along with revitalizing the duct work system and hooking into the air exchange system.  Harding stated this would basically bring the system back to what it was originally designed to do with more efficient, modern equipment.  Hill indicated if there was a remodel it would just be added on to the improved system.  Hill explained that  the city isn't set up to be able to maintain this kind of technical system, so a maintenance contract with a professional company that can monitor and set it up the right way would be needed.

Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Council member Miller to adopt Resolution #3465-3-17, Resolution Authorizing Advertising for Quotes - Engineered Design Build HVAC System at Library.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Revoking Rental Housing Licenses for Non-Compliance:  Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Miller, to adopt Resolution #3466-3-17, Resolution Revoking Rental Housing Licenses for Non-Compliance.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Hill noted it's possible this property may have been sold, but at this time there was no deed filed with the courthouse. 

Resolution Approving a Final Plat Titled "Third Addition to Stevens County - Morris Industrial Park":  Council member Miller moved, seconded by Gullickson, to adopt Resolution #3467-3-17, Resolution Approving a Final Plat Titled "Third Addition to Stevens County - Morris Industrial Park".  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Authorizing the Purchase of a Polaris 6 x 6 with Skid Unit for Grass Fire Fighting:

Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Miller, to adopt Resolution #3468-3-17, Resolution Authorizing the Purchase of a Polaris 6 x 6 with Skid Unit for Grass Fire Fighting.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Authorizing the Submission of a  Grant Application for the Morris Municipal Airport Master Plan Update:  Hill explained this grant, if received, would pay for 90% of the cost of updating the airport master plan, along with 5% from the state and the remaining 5%, or $25,000, coming from the city.  The local share would be paid for out of a transfer from the liquor store or capital outlay fund.  Hill stated this update will give the city the best possible information as to whether or not a runway extension at the airport is possible.  Hill noted if the city doesn't receive the grant the runway extension project more or less dies.

Council member Miller moved, seconded by Mayor Giese, to adopt Resolution #3469-3-17, Resolution Authorizing the Submission of a Grant Application for the Morris Municipal Airport Master Plan Update.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Authorizing the Purchase of a Transit Bus:  Council member Gullickson moved, seconded by Miller, to adopt Resolution #3470-3-17, Resolution Authorizing the Purchase of a Transit Bus.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

CITY MANAGER'S REPORTS & RECOMMENDATIONSCity Manager Newsletter:  This was informational for the council. 

Authorize Sale of 2005 Transit Bus:  Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Solvie, to authorize the sale of the city's 2005 transit bus in the usual manner.  Motion carried.

OTHER BUSINESS:  None

INFORMATIONAL ITEMSCorrespondence - Pay Equity:  This was informational for the council.

ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, Mayor Giese adjourned the meeting at 6:58 p.m.

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