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The regular meeting of the Morris City Council was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 25th day of August, 2020, by Mayor Giese.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE: The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.

ROLL CALL: Roll call was taken with the following members present: Council members Wohlers, Solvie, Miller and Mayor Giese were present via Zoom. Council member Gullickson was absent. Also present via Zoom was Police Chief Welle and City Attorney Jordan. City Manager Hill was present via Zoom from the Council Chambers.

CITIZEN'S COMMENTS: Rebecca Peterson - West Central Initiative Fund: Rebecca Peterson appeared at the council meeting via Zoom to present information on projects the WCIF has been working on. Morris' own Gilda White appeared in their most recent publication of Writing a New Story about her translating business. Peterson stated they provided nine child care emergency grants when Covid hit to help with expenses and also provide hand sanitizer and bleach. Peterson indicated they worked on resiliency fund grants and two DEED small business grant. Peterson asked the council to keep their donation to the WCIF in mind when preparing their budget for the coming year.


READING AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES: 8/11/20 Regular Meeting Minutes: Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Miller, to approve the 8/11/20 regular meeting minutes. Motion carried.

8/11/20 Condensed Version: Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Mayor Giese, to approve the 8/11/20 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. Raffle License Report

C. Revenue & Expenditure Report

D. 2/18/20 Planning Commission Minutes

E. 6/17/20 Tree Board Minutes

F. 5/13/20 Library Board Minutes

G. Gambling Report

Motion carried.


ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS: Resolution Authorizing Fund Transfers and Closing of Funds: Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Solvie to adopt Resolution #3703-8-20, Resolution Authorizing Fund Transfers and Closing of Funds. Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Authorizing Fund Transfer: Council member Miller moved, seconded by Wohlers, to adopt Resolution #3704-8-20, Resolution Authorizing Fund Transfer. Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

CITY MANAGER'S REPORTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS: Flood Zone Map Update: City Manager Hill explained that the federal government has been working with state agencies, the county and cities in Stevens County to update the flood plain maps. Hill noted this often comes up when people are doing loans and refinancing. Hill indicated the flood plain areas are limited to where there is water and low lands and it doesn't affect much property in Morris. This was informational for the council and required no action.

City Manager Newsletter: Hill reviewed the loss of another police officer and explained that he has talked to Police Chief Welle about pausing to take a look at things while putting together the preliminary budget. Hill stated one thing that plays into this is that the school is possibly facing a financial crisis as well and they do not want to provide funding for a SRO at the same level. Hill recommended the SRO position be removed and that officer be put back into the police rotation. Hill stated the question is whether or not the department can get by with one less officer and still maintain their workload. Hill would like to discuss the issue during the preliminary budget next month.

Solvie agreed with the idea of waiting on an officer until the preliminary budget is reviewed. Solvie stated he would like to see the county throw in a little money at the school as well because there is a lot of kids that go to school that don't live in the City of Morris.

Hill indicated Police Chief Welle has done a good job of looking at things at the school and started shifting some things back out in the law enforcement realm. Hill stated the Morris Police Department is a 24-hour a day, 7 day a week service and how that service is provided may need to be looked at. Solvie pointed out the City also has the Sheriff's Department and by law they have to respond if the Morris Police Department is unable to.

Hill stated the time has come for something to be done about the Morris Floral building. A letter was sent asking for permission to do an inspection. Hill stated a major piece of plywood is hanging leaving a big hole, siding is falling off and there are several areas where the interior walls are exposed.

City Attorney Jordan stated the first step would be to get inside and do an inspection. If an inspection is denied an administrative search warrant would be needed. Jordan explained at that point if the property is found inhabitable and a public nuisance the next step would be for the council to declare it a public nuisance and take the necessary steps to condemn it. Jordan noted the concern is the safety of the building and it's also a factor if the business is open to the public. Also, a state of disrepair could bring rodents and a disruption to the neighborhood.

Solvie asked who would be financially responsible for taking it down. Jordan stated the city would but the costs could be assessed back to the property owner. Solvie asked what the city's liability would be if nothing was done. Jordan indicated it is a privately owned property so he doesn't see any liability for the city. Wohlers stated he feels business owners have a responsibility to have their buildings in good repair and he sees it as a pretty serious situation.

Hill pointed out nobody wants to see anyone forced out of there building, but at the same time something needs to be done. Hill would follow up after the 10 days given in the letter.


INFORMATIONAL ITEMS: Leadership Award - Chloride Reduction: This was informational for the council.

Pay Equity Report Compliance: This was informational for the council.

ADJOURNMENT: There being no further business, Mayor Giese adjourned the meeting at 6:19 p.m.

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