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MINUTES – MORRIS CITY COUNCIL - REGULAR MEETING – DECEMBER 11, 2018

The regular meeting of the Morris City Council was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 11th day of December, 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, Finance Director Raasch, City Aaron Jordan, Public Works Director Dittbenner, Fire Chief Dybdal and Police Chief Tiegs.

CITIZEN’S COMMENTS: None

PUBLIC HEARING: None

READING AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES: 11/27/18 Regular City Council Meeting Minutes: Council member Miller moved, seconded by Solvie, to approve the 11/27/18 regular meeting minutes. Motion carried.

11/27/18 Condensed Version Minutes: Council member Gullickson moved, seconded by Wohlers, to approve the 11/27/18 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. Pay Estimate #15 — Magney Construction

C. November Transit Report

D. 10/17/18 Tree Board Minutes

E. Gambling Report — Eagles

F. Application for Exempt Permit — Stevens County Gobblers

Motion carried.

PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONS: Donation to Police Department from West Central Christian Homes: Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Wohlers, to accept the donation of $500 to the Morris Police Department from West Central Christian Homes. Motion carried.

ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS: Resolution Adopting Assessment for Current Services: Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Solvie, to adopt Resolution #3586-12-18, Resolution Adopting Assessment for Current Services. Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Appointing the Morris Fire Department Assistant Chiefs and Other Officers: Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Gullickson, to adopt Resolution #3587-12-18, Resolution Appointing the Morris Fire Department Assistant Chiefs and Other Officers. Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Approving a New Four-Year Agreement with Stevens County for City Attorney Services: Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Miller, to adopt Resolution #3588-12-18, Resolution Approving a New Four-Year Agreement with Stevens County for City Attorney Services. Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

CITY MANAGER'S REPORTS & RECOMMENDATIONS: 2019 Licenses: Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Gullickson, to approve the 2019 licenses as listed, pending insurance for 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.

City Manager Newsletter: Hill reviewed the topic of the Police Civil Service Commission. Hill noted he met with them to talk about the process to hire a new chief, which will be advertised through the end of December. Hill stated the new sergeant will start the 26th of December. Hill explained that there are many different places that address the rules including the city charter, union contracts and state statute, and they all conflict. Hill indicated there is no real clear process for how things are supposed to be done.

City Attorney Jordan stated he has been looking at the civil service commission statutes. Jordan noted that for whatever reason the legislature enacted other laws but at the same time the city long ago agreed to be part of a civil service structure. Jordan noted his recommendation going forward is to discontinue the civil service commission, while still having state statutes, the city charter and union contracts to address policy and procedures.

Considerable discussion was held on the role of the civil service commission.

OTHER BUSINESS: Council member Gullickson, seconded by Mayor Giese, to close city offices at noon on Christmas Eve. Motion carried.

2019 Legislative Priorities: This was informational for the council

MPR News — Electric Cars: This was informational for the council.

BUDGET MEETING — 6:00 P.M.: Budget & Levy Presentation: City Manager Hill reviewed the 2018 final levy and 2019 budget. The property tax levy is the amount of money the City certifies to the County to collect for taxes the following year. For 2018 the levy is $1,562,123, which amounts to a 3% increase over last year’s levy. The market value is the assessor’s estimated value of property in the city for tax purposes. The 2019 market value is $261,519,400, or a 3.4% increase over 2018.

Hill highlighted the following revenue and expense considerations: a minimal increase in LGA, splitting out of the utility funds, an increase in water rates because of the new plant, wages are set with union contracts, health insurance went down a little bit and maintaining the same work force except the addition of a water/wastewater employee. The annual benefit for the fire relief association will be raised an additional $50 per year.

The total 2019 budget is $11,636,565, which is a 12.9% increase over the 2018 budget of $10,307,920. The general fund is budgeted at $3,950,867. The capital improvement fund will see a 23% increase because of the larger reclaim area for next year. The capital outlay fund includes funds for a hybrid car, a police car, the certificate of debt for the new fire truck and a new hoist for the garage. The library fund did not have any big ticket items. They asked for an additional part-time employee but that was not put into the budget.

Hill noted lodging tax funds are up a little bit. Hill recommended that the city drop the contract with the chamber to buy time from their employee. Hill stated the city is providing $20,000 of support to the chamber which should amount to 15 hours a week in time and expenses. Hill stated the city is required by law to make sure the lodging money goes towards marketing Morris for tourism and not anything else. Hill stated it is not clear the difference between chamber and tourism and based on the information he has received the city is probably getting about 5 hours a week.

The new water rates were reviewed. The old rate is $2.50 per 100 cubic ft. of usage and will increase to $4.53. Debt service will add on $.88 per cubic ft. unit and operations would add on $1.15 per 100 cubic ft. unit. DENCO will also come on board to purchase water from the new plant. The new reconditioned wells are going to have new flow meters so there will be an accurate reading of how much water is coming out of the ground and how much is going to the tower to be sold. The new plant will also recycle backwash water. The new formula will approximately double the water rate, but not double a utility bill because it also includes sewer and garbage. Salt won’t be needed for softeners and a household won’t be using water to recharge a water softener so there will be some cost savings there. Hill noted if a person chooses to still have a water softener the city will be helping to manage that.

The remainder of the budget review included the sewer utility fund, refuse fund, liquor store and central garage.

Council member Miller asked about the status of using solar on some city buildings. Hill pointed out it could be that the city has a third party finance it, similar to what was done with the LED lighting. Hill added one additional item to consider is a sidewalk program but noted it is expensive to have an engineer design it.

Resolution Approving the Final 2018 Levy for Collection in 2019: Council member Wohlers, moved, seconded by Solvie, to adopt Resolution #3589-12-18, Resolution Approving the Final 2018 Levy for Collection in 2019. Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Adopting the Final 2019 Budget for the City of Morris: Council member Miller moved, seconded by Wohlers, to adopt Resolution #3590-12-18, Resolution Adopting the Final 2019 Budget for the City of Morris. Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Increasing Sewer and Water Utility Rates for 2019: Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Mayor Giese, to adopt Resolution #3591-12-18, Resolution Increasing Sewer and Water Utility Rates for 2019. Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Increasing Water Utility Rates for the New Water Plant Starting April 1, 2019: Council member Miller moved, seconded by Solvie, to adopt Resolution #3592-12-18, Resolution Increasing Water Utility Rates for the New Water Plant Starting April 1, 2019. Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Setting the Annual Pension Benefit for the Morris Fire Relief Association: Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Solvie, to adopt Resolution #3593-12-18, Resolution Setting the Annual Pension Benefit for the Morris Fire Relief Association. Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

ADJOURNMENT: There being no further business, Mayor Giese adjourned the meeting at 6:55 p.m.

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