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The regular meeting of the Morris City Council was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 28th day of November, 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, Gullickson, Miller and Mayor Giese. Council member Solvie was absent. Also present was City Manager Hill, Public Works Director Dittbenner, Police Chief Tiegs and City Attorney Jordan.


CITIZEN'S COMMENTS: County Auditor Amanda Barsness - New Voting Machines: County Auditor Amanda Barsness was present at the meeting. Barsness discussed the fact that the state has a grant available for counties to purchase new voting equipment. Barsness stated elections are expensive and she wants to make sure the county's grant dollars are being used appropriately. Barsness proposed that the City of Morris reduce their polling places from six down to three. This would save money on wages and equipment. Barsness indicated she spoke with the Secretary of State and they feel it is reasonable for a polling place to serve 1,000-1,200 voters. Currently each city polling place has between 411 to 602 registered voters.


Barsness pointed out the County would be purchasing the machines and the equipment is managed in their office. The savings for the city would come in the form of wages. Barsness added that because of no excuse absentee ballot voting they have seen an increase in people voting beforehand. The new machines would be far more user friendly and election judge friendly. Barsness stated at this point the city would need to decide if they would be willing to combine polling locations and it could be done by resolution. Barsness suggested combining precincts 1A & 2A, 1B & 2B, 3A & 3B. Barsness noted she feels this scenario would serve the voters without overpopulating these precincts.


Barsness stated the city has the option to redistrict up to 90 days prior to the primary election but she is not recommending that at this time. The combined polling locations would be the best first step. Barsness explained that the City of Morris is not an option for mail in ballots because of the limit that you can't have over 400 registered voters in order to do that.


City Manager Hill stated when he came to Morris he was surprised to see there were six voting precincts. Hill indicated is it hard to staff a voting place and believes the future of voting is that less and less people will come to the polls. Hill suggested getting rid of the University as a polling place because a polling place should be readily accessible and comfortable to get in and out of and they have no parking. Hill stated the Armory would be a good option. Hill noted after the 2020 census takes place the city can look at some redistricting. Hill pointed out that there needs to be a better job of getting people to register before Election Day.


Barsness added that the new E-poll books would make the process much quicker. Barsness stated the City of Morris does need new election equipment and the voters would be better served with the new machines. Each machine costs between $5,400 and $6,000.


It was the consensus of the council that they were comfortable with the reduction in polling places and that the new machines sounded like a good idea.

Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Miller, to move forward with combining of the voting precincts and to reduce the number of polling places from six down to three. Motion carried.


ADDITION TO AGENDA: Mayor Giese added an Application for Exempt Permit from the 9-F Club to the agenda.


READING AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES: 11/14/17 Regular Meeting Minutes: Council member Miller moved, seconded by Gullickson, to approve the 11/14/17 regular meeting minutes. Motion carried.


11/14/17 Condensed Minutes: Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Mayor Giese, to approve the 11/14/17 condensed version 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. Gambling Reports

C. Application for Exempt Permit - 9-F Sportsmen's Club of Morris

Motion carried.






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


OTHER BUSINESS: Giese asked if Brad could take a look at the chairs in the council chambers. Giese also asked Dittbenner to have the crew remove the leaves at East Side Park.


INFORMATIONAL ITEMS: Construction Progress Report - Water Treatment Facility: This was informational for the council.


ADJOURNMENT: There being no further business, Mayor Giese adjourned the meeting at 5:53 p.m.

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