- MORRIS CITY COUNCIL - REGULAR
MEETING - APRIL 28, 2020
The regular meeting
of the Morris City Council was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 28th
day of April, 2020, by Mayor Giese.
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 were present via Zoom. Also present
was City Manager Hill in the Council Chambers. City Attorney Jordan and
Finance Director Raasch also appeared via Zoom.
ADDITON TO AGENDA: Mayor Giese moved,
seconded by Council member Wohlers, to approve the addition of two items under
the Consent Agenda - an Application for an On Sale 3.2 Malt Beverage License
and an Application for Exempt Permit from the Assumption Catholic Church. Upon
a roll call vote taken and all voting in favor, motion carried.
PUBLIC HEARING: None
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
4/14/20 Regular Meeting Minutes: Council member Solvie moved,
seconded by Miller, to approve the 4/14/20 regular meeting minutes. Upon
a roll call vote taken, motion carried.
Council member Gullickson moved, seconded by Wohlers, to approve the 4/14/20
condensed version minutes. Upon a roll call vote taken, motion carried.
CONSENT AGENDA: Mayor Giese moved,
seconded by Council member Wohlers, to approve the consent agenda which
included the following items:
Audit of City
for On Sale Malt Beverage License - Assumption Catholic Church
for Exempt Permit - Assumption Catholic Church
REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONS : Accept Donation for Improvements at PDT Park: Council
member Solvie moved, seconded by Wohlers, to accept a donation of $2,500 as a
memorial to Pam and Brad Heil for benches and other improvements along the bike
path at PDT Park. Motion carried.
Resolution Authorizing the Use of MIF Funds Countywide:
Hill stated the City
transferred its MN Investment Funds (MIF) to the SCEIC in 2014 and 2015 with
the stipulation they only be used in Morris. Hill explained as chair of
the SCEIC board he was approached with an idea that the Morris Industrial Development
Corporation form a loan pool to provide assistance to businesses through these
COVID times. Hill noted that Cheryl Kuhn, director of the SCEIC,
suggested that an additional $50,000 from MIF funds be added to make it a
$100,000 loan pool and possibly seek additional donations. Hill noted
that the MIF funds that were transferred over several years ago had one caveat
tied to them and that was that they could only be used in the City of Morris.
Hill stated since the SCEIC assists everyone in the county it is a good idea to
make these funds of $100,000 available county wide, with the goal of not seeing
any businesses in Stevens County be lost due to COVID. The EDA would have
to remove the same stipulation.
Wohlers stated this
is the second time the council has talked about opening up this money and
making it accessible beyond the city limits. Hill noted at that time it
was only talked about when the funds were moved and the council in general felt
adamant about keeping that money in the City. Wohlers stated businesses
up and down main street of Morris are struggling and he doesn't want to short
change businesses in the City of Morris. Wohlers added that he does not
feel the council has been kept up to date with quarterly reports on what
happened with that money when it was turned over.
Mayor Giese stated
he understands where Wohlers is coming from and at the time, he agreed that the
money should stay in Morris, but the amount being considered is not a
lot. Giese indicated there is a lot of money in the fund that could still
be loaned out to Morris businesses. Giese felt the reason the council
isn't getting reports is that there really is not a lot going on but a report
would be good. Giese stated keeping it in Morris is not as big of a deal
as he originally thought. Hill explained that this is a new fund and it's
only taking $50,000, with over $400,000 remaining in the MIF fund.
Solvie indicated if
it's only removing the stipulation on $50,000 of that money he would agree with
it. Solvie stated other people being able to borrow it throughout the
county is a good idea.
Hill explained that
the funds were originally from the federal government, the money never came
from the city itself. Hill stated he feels this is the strongest economic
improvement commission the county has had since he's been here and everybody is
working together. The focus is on businesses and this would be a little
bit of money that can maybe help a business get over a hump.
Wohlers noted he
doesn't want to short change the City of Morris for any opportunities that may
come down the road. Hill pointed out any business that creates jobs and
brings in revenue in the county is good for everybody. Wohlers stated he
was not comfortable going ahead with this when Morris may be looking at half as
many businesses along main street. Wohlers asked what the county's
involvement was in this and if they would be making a donation. Hill tried
to explain that the city isn't making a donation, these funds originated from
the federal and state government and were never taken from the city
coffers. Hill recommended that the council not act on this if they are
not in favor of it and hopefully no businesses in the county get shorted.
discussion was held on whether or not to turn over $50,000 of the MIF funds and
remove the stipulation.
Council member Miller
stated he thinks it makes sense to use it county wide during these times and he
doesn't see a problem going ahead with it. Solvie stated he thinks the
money is being underutilized and the stipulation needs to come off. Solvie
noted it would be good to get it out in circulation and get it used.
what happens if someone comes along and there is no money in Morris to help
them. Hill pointed out that would be the best problem to ever have and
then the city would ask for more funds. The government won't even
consider allocations now because the city doesn't use the money they have.
Wohlers would like assurance that if someone in Morris needs the money it will
be there. Miller stated that COVID 19 is here now and if the city can
help someone it needs to do that without waiting to see if someone down the
road will need it.
Miller moved, seconded by Solvie, to adopt Resolution #3689-4-20, Upon a roll
call vote taken and Solvie, Miller and Mayor Giese voting in favor and Wohlers
and Gullickson voting against, motion carried.
Authorizing Advertising for Bids for Phase 1 of the Airport Runway Extension
Hill explained in
order to apply for a federal airport grant the city needs to have a bid
first. The bid opening is set for June 3rd at 2:00 p.m. with
the deadline for the grant application being June 15th. Hill
indicated the city has an agreement with Superior to pay the local share of the
project and they are still committed to going forward with this.
Gullickson moved, seconded by Miller, to adopt Resolution #3690-4-20,
Resolution Authorizing Advertising for Bids for Phase 1 of the Airport Runway
Extension Project. Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in
favor, motion carried.
REPORTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS : City Manager Newsletter: Hill noted the city is waiting
for what the governor is going to say at the end of week with regard to the stay
at home order. Hill indicated that as of right now the city is not
allowed to open the campground. Giese suggested starting discussions on
how the city is going to proceed if the parks are opened. Discussion was
held on sanitizing the parks if they were to open and what the city is required
to do to protect themselves.
OTHER BUSINESS: None
ADJOURNMENT: There being no further
business, Mayor Giese adjourned the meeting at 6:15 p.m.