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MINUTES    - MORRIS CITY COUNCIL  -  REGULAR MEETING    - JANUARY 14, 2020

The regular meeting of the Morris City Council was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 14th day of January, 2020, 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 members Wohlers, Solvie, Gullickson, Miller and Mayor Giese.  Also present was City Manager Hill, Police Chief Welle, Finance Director Raasch and City Attorney Jordan. 

OFFICIAL ACTSElection of Mayor Pro Tem:  Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Solvie to appoint Jeff Miller as Mayor Pro Tem for another year.  Motion carried.

Appointments to Boards and Commissions:  Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Wohlers, to approve the appointments to the various boards and commissions as presented.  Motion carried.

Appointments of Ex-Officios:  Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Solvie, to keep the ex-officios the same for the coming year.  Motion carried.

Designation of Official Newspaper:  Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Miller, to designate the Stevens County Times as the official paper of the Morris City Council.  Motion carried.

CITIZEN'S COMMENTS:  Mike Sax was present at the meeting to discuss a number of items.  Sax first asked when the city passed an ordinance making it illegal to park a car on the street for more than 24 hours.  Sax asked what the policy for enforcement was because he clearly believes it is rarely enforced.    Giese indicated it is not a new ordinance and Hill confirmed it's been in place since before he started for the city in 2007.  Sax stated he made the mistake of leaving a vehicle on the street while he made a quick trip to Pennsylvania and he received a ticket.  Sax noted when he is in Morris during the summer he violates that ordinance any day his van isn't driven. 

Police Chief Welle explained it is an ordinance that can be enforced year round, but it is done specifically in the winter when the plows need to get through and open up the roads by clearing away snow and ice berms.  Sax stated he begs to differ and thinks it is an ordinance with no good practical purpose because the city doesn't go around and clean up the streets anyway. 

Sax addressed the fact that at a November council meeting there was consideration given to eliminating any on street parking which he feels is a lousy idea.  Sax stated there is no reason to not allow residents to park overnight on the streets.  Sax asked the council to keep in mind that the customers are the taxpayers and residents, not the Public Works Department.  

Sax questioned why the streets weren't plowed the weekend after Christmas when it warmed up.  Council members Solvie and Wohlers agreed that the roads would have been in a lot better shape if they had been cleared off.  Sax stated it is his impression that the city doesn't salt and sand near as much as they used to and that weekend exacerbated it.  Sax noted there are many intersections that at least need some sand put down.  Hill pointed out that the city is trying to do a lot less of it because of the MS4 permit requirements for storm sewer.  Hill added that if someone is sliding through an intersection they are driving too fast for the conditions. 

Sax stated he has read what the city is contemplating and the MN Supreme Court has told the city that they cannot regulate a building component any differently than the state building code, and yet the City is off on a path where eventually the city thinks they can do that.  Sax is referring to the City entering properties to check on water softeners.  Sax understands the city has a problem with salt, but if the City gets to the point where they need to do something about softeners inside residences, there is a mechanism to allow the city to regulate it with permission from the state.  Sax stated there is a process and it would be nice on all issues if the city would actually follow the law.

Hill explained there is no intention of going into properties right now.  The city is simply asking people to adjust their water softeners.  Hill noted there was language put in the code stating that the city will have to ask to go into a property, and if the owner states they don't want the city to, then staff will not unless the proper legal channels are followed.  Hill pointed out there is a letter going out asking citizens to manage their water softeners and staff has met with the water softener companies.    

Sydney Bauer was present at the meeting and stated there is a group of citizens meeting as their own version of the Morris Model and they are wanting to do something about sustainability.  They are holding monthly meetings and are aiming to become more educated and sustainable citizens.  Bauer indicated they are hosting a meeting the first Saturday in February on waste and invited the council to attend and also help provide information on who would be good resources for this topic. 

PUBLIC HEARING:  None

READING AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES12/23/19 Regular Meeting Minutes:  Council member Gullickson moved, seconded by Solvie, to approve the 12/23/19 regular meeting minutes.  Motion carried.

12/23/19 Condensed Version:  Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Mayor Giese, to approve the 12/23/19 condensed version minutes.  Motion carried.

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

A. Audit of City Bills

B. December Transit Report

C. 11/20/19 Tree Board Minutes

D.   Application for Exempt Permit - Stevens County Pheasants Forever

E. Gambling Reports

Motion carried.

PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONS:  None

ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONSResolution Adopting the 2020 Morris City Council Standing Rules:  Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Miller, to adopt Resolution #3665-1-20 Resolution Adopting the 2020 Morris City Council Standing Rules.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Electronic correspondence was discussed and whether or not that should be incorporated into the standing rules.  City Attorney Jordan stated the open meeting law doesn't allow the council to conduct business by email and the safest and best practice is to wait until the meeting to discuss any issues. It was the consensus that if need be, changes could be implemented for next year. 

CITY MANAGER'S REPORTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS:   2020 License for Best Northland Jalaram:  Council member Miller moved, seconded by Gullickson, to approve the 2020 liquor license for the Best Northland Jalaram.  Motion carried.

City Manager Report:  This was informational for the council.

OTHER BUSINESS:  Police Chief Welle asked that the council approve a donation of $400 to the Morris Police Department.  These funds were given by West Central Christian Homes to be used to finalize items for the fair booth that was donated last year.  Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Gullickson, to accept the donation of $400 from West Central Christian Homes.  Motion carried.

INFORMATIONAL ITEMS:  None

ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, Mayor Giese adjourned the meeting at 5:54 p.m.

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