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MINUTES - MORRIS CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING - APRIL 11, 2017

The regular meeting of the Morris City Council was called to order at 8:30 a.m. this 11th day of April, 2017, by Mayor Giese in the Auditorium of the Morris Area High School.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE:  The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.

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

CITIZEN'S COMMENTSPheasants Forever Pollinator Plot Project:  Hill stated this Pheasants Forever pollinator plot project would give authorization to utilize approximately one acre of land in PDT Park as a demonstration project in conjunction with the Morris Area Schools. 

Matt Christianson of Pheasants Forever was present at the meeting.  Christianson stated through their partnership with the state they have the opportunity to do what they're calling pollinator projects and are looking for a 1/2 acre minimum sized area located on public land.  Christianson indicated they would like to try to implement one of these projects this spring in PDT Park.  Christianson noted the uniqueness of this project is that it involves young people and allows them to implement conservation into the schools and teach them some important lessons along the way.  Christianson added that there is no plan for any prescribed burning at least for the first season.

Council member Miller asked if there would be a problem if there were trees in the one acre area.  Christianson stated they picked a spot closest to the road and there were one or two trees scattered within that one acre area.  Christianson stated they could adjust it slightly to exclude the trees.  Christianson noted with prairie reconstruction and the native landscape of prairie habitat they typically don't associate trees with that landscape or habitat model.      

Nick Milbrandt, Ag Teacher at Morris Area Schools, stated he is the school contact person for this project.  Milbrandt noted this is an important project to the school because they teach a class called Ag Processing and also have four bee hives located behind the softball field at UMM.  Milbrandt indicated they talk a lot about the importance of providing areas for these honey bees and other pollinators.  Milbrandt stated one of the big concerns is the diminishing number of pollinators so it's not just important for their project but as a whole, because without pollinators a lot more is lost than just honey.  Milbrandt pointed out there would also be an informational board put in so that anyone walking by would be able to see the different plants and native species in this patch. 

Sue Granger, member of the Tree Board, stated they looked at the trees slated for removal and there is an elm in good shape and standing by itself so it is important to keep that.  Granger indicated Sally Finzel, who is a Tree Board member and native plant specialist, saw no reason why the shape of the area couldn't be changed or to just work around the trees.  Granger added that they fully support the pollinator project. 

Council member Gullickson stated her only concern was if the trees had been looked at and she would hate to see any come down.  Hill indicated there is no plan to take down any trees.  There is talk of a controlled burn in the next year or two but it would be more on the river side. 

Granger stated PDT is river bottom, not prairie, so to have trees in this area is native and natural.  Granger asked that whenever the city takes on management of this piece of land the Tree Board be involved in helping to decide its future.    

Council member Miller moved, seconded by Gullickson, to authorize Pheasants Forever to restore a one acre site at PDT Park as a Pollinator Project with the Morris Area Schools.  The area should be without trees or if there are trees they should not be removed.  Motion carried.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:  None

READING AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES3/28/17 Regular City Council Meeting Minutes:  Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Mayor Giese, to approve the 3/28/17 regular meeting minutes.  Motion carried.

3/28/17 Condensed Version Minutes:  Council member Gullickson moved, seconded by Miller, to approve the 3/28/17 condensed version minutes.  Motion carried.

4/3/17 Board of Review Minutes:  Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Wohlers, to approve the 4/3/17 Board of Review Minutes.  Motion carried.

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

         A.      Audit of City Bills

         B.      March Transit Report

         C.      Raffle License Report

         D.      2/23/17 Tree Board Minutes

Motion carried.

PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONSArbor Day Proclamation 2017:  Mayor Giese read through the proclamation announcing May as Arbor Month. 

Accept Donations from Land O Lakes and WCI for Fire Department UTV:  Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Gullickson, to accept the donations from Lands o Lakes ($1,000), West Central Initiative Riverview Fund ($5,000) and West Central Initiative Federated Telephone Charitable Fund ($1,000) for the Fire Department UTV.  Motion carried.

ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONSFirst Reading of Ordinance No. 107, An Ordinance Establishing Morris City Code - Chapter 15, Storm Water Management - Illicit Discharge Ordinance:  City Manager Hill explained the City of Morris is required to be an MS4 permitted community in order to discharge storm water.  Hill noted with that comes a number of rules and regulations the city needs to follow, including having a specific ordinance and enforcement policy.  Chuck DeWolf of Bolton & Menk was present at the meeting.  DeWolf stated the city is required to submit a permit application to become a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System community.  DeWolf stated with that process there are several requirements the city will have to address over the next few years.  One of the first items is to adopt an ordinance dealing with illicit discharge.  DeWolf indicated there are a few items that are not required to be in the ordinance but they would recommend including information pertaining to easements, documentation of rate, quality and water compliance, oil and grease as well as off-site tracking.  There will be other steps required to complete as part of the MS4 permit in 2017, and also additional items in 2018 and 2019. 

Wohlers asked how the monitoring of the storm water would be accomplished.  DeWolf noted there would need to be a certain number of compliance checks per year, along with documentation.  Construction monitoring would also take place.

Hill indicated a $5 charge was put on utility bills to go into a storm water administration fund and it could be that some of that money be utilized to do some of the inspections.  Hill noted the building inspector will take care of the construction inspection requirements.  Hill suggested, as the city gets into some of the more technical inspection requirements the city may have to hire a company to specifically do sampling and testing.  Hill stated the biggest thing will be to map everything out, know where it is and figure out what needs to be done and who's going to do it.    

Granger asked about the storm water management and the area in front of the old Burlington Northern depot across from McDonalds.  Granger claimed that Burlington Northern has dumped  sterilant along the railroad which killed some evergreens and eventually washed into the storm sewer system.  Granger asked if this new storm water ordinance would address this kind of problem.  Granger noted that from a Tree Board perspective they would like to see a system that would keep the sterilant out of the grassy area and the storm water system.    

Hill stated this ordinance would absolutely address that.  Hill noted if the city has a 5" rain the entire city gets washed and it all goes into the river.  Hill indicated enforcement will be a big part of this and violations will be issued. 

Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Miller, to accept this as the first reading of Ordinance No. 107, An Ordinance Establishing Morris City Code - Chapter 15, Storm Water Management - Illicit Discharge Ordinance and set the second reading and public hearing for April 25th at 5:15 p.m.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Authorizing a Lease Purchase Agreement with Titan Machinery for a Stump Grinder

Hill explained this resolution would allow a lease purchase agreement with Titan Machinery to lease purchase a new Fecon Stump Ex stump grinder for $20,250.  Hill stated this runs more or less like a big auger system and operates very slowly.  Hill noted the blades are guaranteed for 1,000 stumps.   

Council member Miller moved, seconded by Council member Wohlers, to adopt Resolution #3471-4-17, Resolution Authorizing a Lease Purchase Agreement with Titan Machinery for a Stump Grinder.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Giese stated it goes without saying, but with all the discussion on trees the city will make sure it's very careful in making stumps with the new piece of equipment. 

Resolution in Support of Increasing LGA in the 2017 Legislative Session:  Hill indicated the legislative session is not going very well for the City of Morris.  Hill stated the CGMC and LMC are working hard to try and get local government aid increased, but the legislature is nowhere near an agreement on anything.  Hill stated that could be a major issue with the city's funding source going into the budget. 

 

Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Mayor Giese, to adopt Resolution #3472-4-17, Resolution in Support of Increasing LGA in the 2017 Legislative Session.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

 

Resolution Approving the Construction of Two New JV Baseball Field Dugouts:  Hill noted the plan was to replace the JV baseball field dugouts next year but one of the dugouts collapsed this winter.  Hill recommended the council approve the construction of two new dugouts using capital outlay fund reserves for a cost of $13,787.56.  Hill pointed out there is also money in the budget for a new backstop and fence on the new JV softball field.    

 

Council member Miller moved, seconded by Wohlers, to adopt Resolution #3473-4-17, Resolution Approving the Construction of Two New JV Baseball Field Dugouts.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

CITY MANAGER'S REPORTS & RECOMMENDATIONSTrees - 2017 Construction Project - Green River:  Hill recommended that a change order be developed to remove almost all the tree removal from this project and to remove the regrading of Green River.  Hill indicated Jeff Kuhn of WSN has talked with the contractor and it is not completely settled exactly what trees will come out.  Hill noted there are some trees in the actual creek bed and because of the two culverts on Eleanor Avenue and Skyview Lane a few may need to come out.

Jeff Kuhn of WSN was present at the meeting.  Kuhn stated he and Hill met with the Board of Soil and Water and the local Soil and Water Conversation District representative Matt Solemsaas.  Kuhn stated they discussed at this time removing from the project the grading of the Green River and cleaning out of the channel and flattening of the side slopes.  Kuhn indicated those items could be introduced back into the project if the city wants but with the recommendations from the local experts, and trying to keep a meandering channel, it was decided at this point to remove that.  Kuhn noted he had a discussion with the contractor and they're not jumping up and down about the loss of some of the work, but it's within the city's right to do that. 

Giese asked with the replacement of the new culvert how much it would extend beyond the road.  Kuhn noted generally beyond the aprons themselves, maybe 20-30 feet for riprap and stabilization and those areas will be marked.  Kuhn stated the major part is the culvert improvements.  Kuhn explained that the water flow model of the culverts in the existing condition of the channel has a minor impact but it's safe to say they can do a wait and see approach on whether or not there is going to be any other sort of meandering of the channel or dangerous encroachment on to Green River road itself.  Kuhn added the worst case scenario is that the actual encroachment area could be tackled, without involving trees.

Wohlers asked what type of riprap would be used.  Kuhn indicated it is specked as MN DOT riprap which generally speaking would be the less expensive rounder field stone rock. 

Granger stated the Tree Board's recommendation was that the amount of riprap be minimized.  Granger indicated sometimes there's some engineering leeway and to do the job effectively but don't overdo the riprap because that's going to allow the trees to grow back in.  Granger suggested just doing the amount of riprap needed to protect from erosion but not overspread it.  Granger hoped that the rounded rocks could be part of the specifications as opposed to crushed granite.   

Granger asked what would happen to the soil that's removed because oftentimes it is taken offsite and the area is left with compacted clay.  Granger pointed out that the trees as part of new street projects aren't growing as well because the soil is so compacted and poor.  Granger also asked what the provisions are for replanting.

Kuhn noted there will not be any extra soil removed and the only trees that will be removed are on the culvert crossings.  Kuhn indicated they are not looking at removing any other trees at this time unless there is approval by all parties.  Kuhn explained they generally put down granular material that's called for in the design on the box culvert crossings and then on the inland slopes where its outside of the 1 to 1 protected area they will try to utilize some of the top soil instead of hauling it away.  Kuhn confirmed that the riprap is probably a moot point because it will probably be field stone.    

Hill stated the actual change order would be brought back to the council.       

City Manager Newsletter:   This was informational for the council.  Hill reviewed the changes to the enhanced 911 system. 

OTHER BUSINESS:  None

INFORMATIONAL ITEMSArbor Day Foundation - Tree City USA:  The City of Morris was recognized as a Tree City USA for 2016. 

Status of CGMC Priorities:  This was informational for the council. 

ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, Mayor Giese adjourned the meeting at 9:45 a.m.

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