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MINUTES   -   MORRIS CITY COUNCIL - REGULAR MEETING   -  DECEMBER 10, 2019

The regular meeting of the Morris City Council was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 10th day of December, 2019, 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 and Police Chief Welle. 

CITIZEN'S COMMENTS:  None

ADDITION TO AGENDA:  Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Miller, to add to the consent agenda Pay Estimate #26 from Magney Construction.  Motion carried.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:  None

READING AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES:  11/26/19 Regular City Council Meeting Minutes:  Council member Miller moved, seconded by Gullickson, to approve the 11/26/19 regular meeting minutes.  Motion carried.

11/26/19 Condensed Version Minutes: Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Mayor Giese, to approve the 11/26/19 condensed version minutes.  Motion carried.

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

            A.         Audit of City Bills

            B.         November Transit Report

            C.         Gambling Report - Eagles

            D.         Pay Estimate #26 -  Magney Construction

Motion carried.

PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONS:  None

ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONSResolution Approving an Assignment of TIF Note:  Mike Stoebe, the management agent for INH Properties, stated their operations with the TIF district are going very well.  Stoebe explained that they have the opportunity to modify the existing loan with their lender.  The modification would convert the existing ownership structure from a master limited liability company to three separate limited liability companies.  Stoebe indicated the assignment has met the satisfaction of the city's legal counsel and they are asking for the council's endorsement.

Hill stated Briggs & Morgan reviewed the paperwork and made a couple of recommendations that were incorporated into the agreement. Hill added that nothing on the city's end changes, this was just an opportunity for the partners involved in the TIF to change their financing. Hill added they will be required to pay the city's legal fees for Briggs & Morgan. 

 

Council member Miller moved, seconded by Wohlers, to adopt Resolution #3657-12-19, Resolution Approving the Assignment and Assumption of Development Agreement and the Assignment of TIF Note. 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 Gullickson moved, seconded by Miller, to adopt Resolution #3658-12-19, 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.

Fire Chief Dybdal stated it has been a privilege to be a part of all the things the department has been able to accomplish.  Hill stated it was a tough year for the Fire Department, along with the Police Department, with a lot of stressful calls.  Hill added it is hard on not only the individuals, but their families as well.  The council thanked Dybdal for all his work and stated they are also looking forward to working with Matt.

Mayor Giese presented incoming Chief Matt Solemsaas with the Fire Chief Badge. 

CITY MANAGER'S REPORTS & RECOMMENDATIONSCity Manager Newsletter:  Snow removal was discussed and staff is recommending the ordinance be changed with regard to parking on the streets.  Hill indicated the concern is how many off street parking spots need to be provided per residence.  Hill noted UMM has offered to make some parking available.  The plan is to observe how things go this season and bring something back to the council before next winter.  Snow emergencies will be effect yet for this year. 

Council member Wohlers indicated the challenge will be rental properties with multiple people in a dwelling and all of them having vehicles.  This was something the city required at one time years ago.  Police Chief Welle explained, after talking with the Stevens County HRA, the number of kitchens dictates how many parking spots are required.  Because most rental units are single family homes with one kitchen, they are required to have just one off street parking spot for the single family rental property.   

With regard to the Welcome to Morris signs, Hill stated he has done some checking on possible lighting sources.  Solar or battery is an option but a couple of them are near an electric source.  Hill indicated whether or not the city could redo the lighting of the trees along main street will depend on price.   

Hill noted a request was made from the Fair Board to consider street lighting along County Road 22 near the Lee Center and the fairgrounds.  Giese suggested pressuring Otter Tail to put the lights in since they provide them for the rest of the town.  Giese stated that should be the first avenue rather than just paying for them.  It was the consensus of the council that it makes sense to have lighting in that area. 

2020 Licenses:  Council member Miller moved, seconded by Gullickson, to approve the 2020 licenses as listed, pending insurance for all of them except Crystal Lanes and Wohlsol as they have already submitted theirs.  Motion carried.


OTHER BUSINESS:  Gullickson noted the Tree Board received the grant they applied for.  Hill noted it was quite a bit of money and they hoped to plant 350 trees and provide some education as well with the money.     

INFORMATIONAL ITEMS:  None

BUDGET MEETING - 6:00 P.M.Budget & Levy Presentation:  Hill stated the levy is the amount of money the City certifies to the County to collect for taxes the following year.  The 2019 levy is $1,608,986, compared to the 2018 levy of $1,562,123, which is a 3% levy increase.  Hill noted the loader payment is less in this levy and that goes away next year when it's paid for.  

The 2020 market value is $270,617,100.  The 2019 market value was $261,519,400 for an increase of 3.48%. 

Hill reviewed some revenue and expense considerations.  The LGA increase helped to balance the budget.  The reorganization of the water treatment plant has been finished.  Wages are set at a 2.5% increase, with next year being the last year in a 3 year contract.  Health insurance saw a 6% increase.  The airport manager position is down from 30 to 20 hours.  An addition from the preliminary budget is the inclusion of professional fees for website design for the city.  Hill indicated sometime next year he may be recommending another capital equipment purchase like a road grater or dump truck.  The annual benefit for the Morris Fire Relief Association will increase by $50.

The 2020 total budget is $11,517,665, which is a decrease of 1% over last year's 2019 budget of $11,636,565.  The general fund budget for 2020 is $4,160,544, or a 5.3% increase over 2019 but also includes the loader levy lease. 

The Capital improvement fund is budgeted at $372,310.  Hill noted more money was moved last year to do road work.  Hill pointed out there is a group of projects that he may have the engineers put together in a bid package like East Side Park, the Chizek Field parking lot and sidewalks.  This is estimated to be around $350,000 worth of stuff and some money could be moved from reserves or the liquor store to do that work.   

Hill explained there has been some issues with the hydraulics on the ladder truck for the Fire Dept.  Staff is looking at refurbishing the existing one for around $150,000 because a new one is over one million.   

Hill reviewed the remaining funds including the Library, Stormwater, Lodging Tax, Debt Service, Water Utility, Sewer Utility, Refuse, Liquor Store and Central Garage.

Miller asked if lodging tax money could be used for the lighting on the Welcome to Morris signs.    Hill questioned whether or not that was marketing and he does not believe it is.  Gullickson noted it could affect anyone coming through town and questioned who sets the definition for tourism. Gullickson asked about the fireworks and Hill stated it is the one gray area that the tourism funds are used for.  Hill does not believe that a lighted sign would bring anyone to Morris to stay over. 

Wohlers stated the Tourism Board is focusing on better advertising.  Considerable discussion was held on whether or not the lodging tax funds could be used to pay for the lighting of the signs. 

Hill ended his presentation with talk about the future.  LGA had an increase this year but it will be interesting to see what happens with the legislature and the $1.3 billion surplus.  Health insurance costs remain a concern.  There are two more years of road maintenance to get caught up with continued focus on capital equipment. 

Resolution Approving the Final 2019 Levy for Collection in 2020:  Council member Wohlers, moved, seconded by Gullickson, to adopt Resolution #3659-12-19, Resolution Approving the Final 2019 Levy for Collection in 2020.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

 

Resolution Adopting the Final 2020 Budget for the City of Morris:  Council member Miller moved, seconded by Wohlers, to adopt Resolution #3660-12-19, Resolution Adopting the Final 2020 Budget for the City of Morris.  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 Miller moved, seconded by Mayor Giese, to adopt Resolution #3661-12-19, 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 6:54 p.m.

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