MINUTES - MORRIS CITY
COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING - NOVEMBER 14, 2017
regular meeting of the Morris City Council was called to order at 5:15 p.m.
this 14th day of November, 2017, by Mayor Giese in the Council
Chambers of the Morris Senior Citizens/Community Center.
The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.
Roll call was taken with the following members present: Council member
Wohlers, Solvie, Gullickson, Miller and Mayor Giese. Also present was City
Manager Hill, Finance Director Raasch, Police Chief Tiegs, Public Works
Director Dittbenner and Head Librarian Barber.
Introduction of New Police Officer: Chief of Police Tiegs introduced
new officer Kyle Brundage. Mayor Giese administered the Oath of Office to Officer
acting as a member of the Salvation Army advisory committee, extended an
invitation to local politicians and asked if they would be willing to do some
bell ringing for those less fortunate. Tiegs noted all of the money raised
from the kettle campaign stays in Stevens County and helps with various local
Sewer Assessment Dispute: Cory and Shelley Evink, 386 South Highway 9, were
present at the meeting to discuss their storm sewer assessment. Evink stated
he talked with City Manager Hill about the run off area on the land they own
behind the apartment building. Evink stated the map shows that it drains into Thomas
Street and in the case of a 5" rain it spills over their holding pond and
drains down to Thomas. Evink noted they have a lot of trees and a holding area,
which is more of a rain garden, and then water runs across the grassy area of
the Apostolic Church where there is filtration and absorption. Evink indicated
it is hard to get an exact number on how much is actually draining all the way
to Thomas Street. Evink stated they are willing to pay for their part but
don't feel they use it like the people on the street and they are asking for a
discount on the entire storm water assessment. Evink asked if Thomas Street
would be redone in the future if they would be on the hook again for an
assessment. Evink stated with the amount of their assessment it's getting to where
their property isn't going to be favorable to own anymore.
Evink noted as a special assessment it should benefit them in that amount. Shelley
stated that Blaine Hill said at the November 22nd meeting, that according
to Nagel Appraisal it would raise the benefit of the value of a property
anywhere from $9,000-$13,000 if all the improvements were done. Shelley
pointed out they only had one thing done and it's almost $9,000. The parcel of
land is only valued at $26,200 on their tax statement according to Shelley.
Shelly pointed out their property has already been assessed for the Columbia Avenue
storm sewer. Shelley reiterated that they're not trying to get out of this on
a technicality; they just want to pay their fair share.
Manager Hill explained that Jeff Kuhn and WSN went out and surveyed this area.
Hill presented two maps of the area to the council, one of an aerial view and
the other a survey map. Hill noted Evinks own three parcels of land and approximately
57,000 square feet is included in the assessment Hill indicated Columbia
Avenue already had a special assessment of $4,700 for their property that drains
in to that area. Hill pointed out that none of that land is considered part of
this project, only the area that goes down into Thomas Street.
clarified that Jeff Kuhn did go out and survey the area and determined that all
the square footage of the assessed area drains into Thomas Street based upon
the elevations. Hill stated there are some defining features on the map which
indicate part of the property drains to Thomas and part drains to Columbia.
The Fischer property drains to the south towards Birch Avenue. Hill explained
that the system the city has in place for figuring out special assessments does
give, in some cases, a credit for property that is undeveloped in open spaces
and Kuhn relayed that information to Cory. Hill stated after talking with Kuhn
it was decided it was reasonable that about half of Evinks 57,000 square feet could
be eligible for a credit, which reduced their assessment to $8,028.54.
indicated it is true that in the initial assessment hearing discussion took
place about appraisals and what the value of a lot might be if it had all of the
improvements. Hill noted that referred to a standard lot size and with Evinks
that is not the case because this property has a lot of land. Hill stated the
city receives a general appraisal letter to get an idea of what the value of a
particular assessment is going to be to a piece a property. If there is an appeal
the city would hire an appraiser to see what the value was before and after the
improvement. Hill noted obviously drainage is important because if a property can't
be drained a person wouldn't have the full use and value of it. Hill
acknowledged that as far as a remedy there has to be some kind of methodology
for why you do it. Hill stated, in his opinion, what is fair is to charge an
assessment on square footage that drains into the system. Hill indicated he
thinks the adjustment that was made was fair and he doesn't have any other
criteria to adjust it anymore. Hill confirmed that the assessment for West
Central Christian Homes was one of the biggest in this project at well over $40,000
for their storm water drainage. The Apostolic Christian Church was about $30,000
for their drainage, but they did get a slight credit because it is mostly grassy
stated he met with Kuhn and they walked the property to try and find where the spill
over area is and they never got to it. Cory commented that Kuhn said he had a legitimate
argument. Shelley stated if you look on the elevation map the elevations
actually go uphill. Hill stated there is no drainage ditch that takes the
water so it has to go over land. Shelley argued that there is evaporation,
absorption and trees that pick up the water.
member Gullickson asked what formula was used for the initial credit for Evinks.
Hill stated half the 57,000 square feet was credited with a .8 reduction.
Giese asked if additional storm sewer would be put in when Thomas Street is
eventually done. Hill indicated there would be underground storm sewer eventually
but he doesn't anticipate that road would be dug up for at least 15 years.
Hill commented that this is a single family residential area and to have a
parcel this big in a project is out of the ordinary.
stated in looking at the elevations he is having a hard time not agreeing with Evinks
where the water is finding its way out. Solvie indicated there maybe needs to be
some sort of consideration for that fact and discounted based on the retention.
discussion was held on where the storm water drains off of the property.
Giese questioned how much the absorption rate would be for how much water is
sucked up by trees compared to the open grassy area next door. Shelley presented
a handout to the council about the percentage of storm water that is picked up
by trees. Gullickson stated she understands where they're coming from but the
city can't look at every tree on every property and there has to be a formula
that the city uses. Solvie agreed that there has to be a methodology to this.
asked Evinks what they had in mind for a reduction. Cory stated he would be
happy to settle on something around half of the assessment cost.
proposed a 20% reduction on the whole property in fairness to everyone on the
project. Hill noted applying the credit to the whole area would bring it down
by another $900, but to go beyond that there's no science to tie it back to
unless you look at the trees but that whole neighborhood is full of big,
beautiful trees. Solvie noted he would like to see a little bit more than a
council discussed at length if an additional credit should be applied and how
it should be calculated.
stated he likes a different reduction for some sort of forest. Giese stated if
a 20% reduction is for grassland, an equal amount for trees makes sense. It
was noted a 40% reduction would bring the assessment somewhere close to
Giese moved, seconded by Council member Solvie, to apply a 40% reduction on the
assessed property because of the wooded area and the major size of the parcel
and to direct City Manager Hill to figure out the exact number. Upon a roll
call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.
AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES: 10/24/17 Regular City Council Meeting Minutes:
Council member Miller moved, seconded by Gullickson, to approve the 10/24/17
regular meeting minutes. Motion carried.
Condensed Version Minutes: Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Wohlers, to
approve the 10/24/17 condensed version minutes. Motion carried.
Mayor Giese added Pay Estimate #3 for the water treatment facility to the
Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Wohlers, to approve the consent
agenda which included the following items:
of City Bills
& 10/25/17 Tree Board Minutes
Estimate #3 - Magney Construction (Water Treatment Facility)
REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONS: None
Resolution Revoking Rental Housing Licenses for Non-
Compliance: Melanie Fohl of the Stevens County HRA was present at the
meeting to request that two rental licenses be revoked. Fohl asked that 305
West 8th Street, owned by Jamie Swenson, be revoked for non-compliance
with completing repairs. Fohl indicated there is no heat to the 2nd
floor bedrooms and he has been given several deadlines. Fohl noted this has
been going on for years and they have been very patient and it's time to revoke
second license is for 101 East 8th Street owned by David and Wendy
Lindberg. Fohl stated they have also been working with them for years. Fohl
noted she thought this property was vacant but there is someone living there
and they haven't paid the license fees or done any of the required repairs.
recommended the license for the property at 306 West 11th Street not
be revoked as they have made some of the repairs and new windows are supposed
to be in on November 21st .
member Solvie moved, seconded by Miller, to adopt Resolution #3523-11-17, Resolution
Revoking Rental Housing Licenses for Non-Compliance. Upon a roll call vote
taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.
Giese asked what happens after the revocation. Fohl explained that the license
can be reinstated, but there is a fee for having that done. Fohl noted a
letter would be sent to the property owner in which they would be given a
certain amount of time to have their tenants move out or bring the rental into
compliance. Fohl indicated they have to allow the notice period for a tenant
to expire and if they continue to rent without taking care of the compliance
issues it will be reported to the City Attorney's office for violation of the
MANAGER'S REPORTS & RECOMMENDATIONS: City Manager Newsletter: This was
informational for the council.
Hill noted that County Auditor Amanda Barsness would be coming to the next
meeting to talk about new voting machines.
ADJOURNMENT: There being no
further business, Mayor Giese adjourned the meeting at 6:31 p.m.