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MINUTES - MORRIS CITY COUNCIL - REGULAR MEETING - MARCH 27, 2018

The regular meeting of the Morris City Council was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 27th day of March, 2018, 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, City Attorney Jordan and Finance Director Raasch.


CITIZEN'S COMMENTS: PRCA Request: Ferolyn Angell and Jennifred Nellis were present at the meeting on behalf of the Prairie Renaissance Cultural Alliance to request support for the organization beginning with the 2019 budget. Council member Wohlers wondered if tourism dollars would fit their request.


Hill stated the city is not philanthropic and doesn't even have enough money to spend on the things the city needs to do. Hill noted the city is blessed with the PRCA and the arts are very important. Hill explained the city's primary funding source is LGA and in the next few years that funding source will be capped and the city has to figure out how to balance the services it provides. As far as tourism dollars, Hill stated that money is to be used to promote Morris as a tourist destination. Wohlers noted maybe something could be used on an event by event basis. It was the consensus of the council that they would look into this request when working on the 2019 budget.


UMM Voting Precinct: Several students and faculty were present the meeting to speak to the resolution on the agenda that would reduce the number of polling places in the city from six down to three, and eliminate the voting precinct at UMM. Those present argued that eliminating the University as one of the polling places would result in a reduced number of voters. A petition was presented to the council with 160 signatures of people in favor of keeping UMM as a polling place. The group felt it was important to have a polling place on campus and that as the distance to a different polling place would increase, voter turnout would decrease. It was noted that many students also don't have a vehicle to travel to the polling place.

PUBLIC HEARING: None


READING AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES: 3/13/18 Regular Meeting Minutes: Council member Miller moved, seconded by Council member Solvie, to approve the 3/13/18 regular meeting minutes. Motion carried.


3/13/18 Condensed Minutes: Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Gullickson, to approve the 3/13/18 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. 3/21/18 Tourism Board Minutes

Motion carried.

PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONS: Appointment to Library Board: Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Wohlers, to appoint Charise DeBerry, Kristin Lamberty, Lori Kurpiers and Amolia Fluegel to the Library Board. Motion carried.


Wadsworth Trail Marker Plaque Restoration in East Side Park: Hill indicated he was contacted by the MN State Society - Daughters of the American Revolution with a request to restore the Wadsworth Trail marker plaque located in East Side Park. Hill stated after talking with the Historical Society it was decided this was a valid request. Hill noted he asked that the marker be in place for Prairie Pioneer Days so they will either have it done by then or wait until afterwards to take it.


Council member Miller moved, seconded by Mayor Giese, to authorize the removal and restoration of the Wadsworth Trail marker plaque located in East Side Park. Motion carried.


Westmor Storm Sewer Connection: Hill explained that Westmor came to the city about a drainage problem they have on the northwest side of their property. Westmor did some expansion on the west end of their property and there isn't enough grade to get the water to drain out to the storm sewer line in Industrial Boulevard. Westmor would pay for the entire project.


Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Gullickson, to authorize Westmor to run a storm sewer line from their property to the city's main storm sewer line in Industrial Boulevard. Motion carried.


ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS: Resolution Setting Polling Places for the 2018 Primary and General Elections: Hill explained that the city is required to give a 90 day notice before an election when making changes to polling places. Hill stated he is a 1987 graduate of UMM in political science and has been doing elections since 1980. Hill pointed out that it is important to understand that the number of absentee ballots is up considerably. Hill indicated the reduction of polling places wasn't done because of money or efficiency, the biggest reason is finding election judges to staff the polling locations. In addition, Hill indicated when the county was looking at purchasing new machines it was necessary to look at the future of voting. Hill noted all the townships in the county except for three are mail in ballots and if the city of Morris were allowed to do mail in ballots he would definitely recommend it.


Hill explained one of the criteria he has for a polling place is that nothing else be going on there. Hill stated the three places that are being proposed, the Armory, Federated Church and Evangelical Free Church are perfect. Hill encouraged the University to get students registered before Election Day and then they will know where they're going to vote. If they have a problem getting to the polling place they can apply for an absentee ballot or go to the courthouse. Hill pointed out the armory is only four blocks over from the University. Hill stated it would be pretty disappointing if students chose not to vote just because there wasn't a polling place right there. Hill suggested students could walk, ride bike, take the transit or get a ride from another student that has a vehicle. Hill indicated everyone in town has to travel to a polling place.



Resolution Setting Polling Places for the 2018 Primary and General Elections: (continued)

Hill stated from his perspective this is the best solution for the short term and for the future he will fight to go to mail in ballots so there won't be any polling places. Hill noted his final recommendation is that the council go with the three polling places and not add a fourth one at UMM.


County Auditor Barsness was present at the meeting and stated the polling places have been well researched. Barsness indicated the polling place on campus has always been a concern of hers because you are not allowed to linger or gather 100 feet from a polling place and that is impossible to do out there while classes are in session.


Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Solvie, to adopt Resolution #3543-3-18, Resolution Setting Polling Places for the 2018 Primary and General Elections. Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.


Resolution Supporting Local Decision Making Authority: Hill explained the League of MN Cities is asking for support through resolutions to let the legislature know that cities don't want the state to take away local decision making authority.


Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Miller, to adopt Resolution #3544-3-18, Resolution Supporting Local Decision Making Authority. Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.


Resolution Changing the Bid Opening for the 2018 Reclaim Project: Hill stated that the timing for publication of the advertisement for bids didn't work out so this resolution changes it and sets a new date.


Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Gullickson, to adopt Resolution #3545-3-18, Resolution Changing the Bid Opening for the 2018 Reclaim Project. Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.


Resolution Authorizing an Application for the MN GreenCorps Program: Hill stated the city has the opportunity to apply for a service position for one year for someone to work on Morris Model projects. The application would be to the MN GreenCorps program, administered by the MPCA. There is a requirement for an in kind match and Hill noted that would be his time and the city providing office space and equipment.


Council member Miller moved, seconded by Wohlers, to adopt Resolution #3546-3-18, Resolution Authorizing an Application for the MN GreenCorps Program. Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.


Resolution Adopting Assessment for Current Services: Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Solvie, to adopt Resolution #2547-3-18, Resolution Adopting Assessment for Current Services. Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.




CITY MANAGER'S REPORTS & RECOMMENDATIONS: Replacement of Wind Damaged Light Tower: Hill noted the wind blew down a light tower on the north softball field at Chizek. The city has filed an insurance claim but the tower needs to be replaced before the season starts.

The total cost would be $41,980 with new LED lighting and any insurance money that comes in would go against the cost.


Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Miller, to authorize the replacement of the light tower on the north softball field at Chizek Field. Motion carried.


City Manager Newsletter: Hill explained that with regard to fundraising the city itself cannot fundraise. Hill pointed out if an organization wants the city to do a project they can, but the city cannot commit to it until all the funds are in place. If the money isn't raised beforehand, and a group ends up fundraising on the city's behalf, instead of their organization, that is not allowed.


OTHER BUSINESS: Council member Wohlers asked about the new building project being done by Timmerman and if it was zoned correctly for an apartment building or duplex. Hill stated it was zoned multi-family which is correct for the type of building going up there.


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


LED Lighting Upgrades: This was informational for the council.


MPD Incident Report: This was informational for the council.


ADJOURNMENT: There being no further business, Mayor Giese adjourned the meeting at 6:42 p.m.

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