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The regular meeting of the Morris City Council was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 26th day of May, 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 was City Manager Hill in the Council Chambers. City Attorney Jordan, Police Chief Welle and Finance Director Raasch also appeared via Zoom.



READING AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES : 5/12/20 Regular Meeting Minutes: Council member Miller moved, seconded by Wohlers, to approve the 5/12/20 regular meeting minutes. Motion carried.

5/12/20 Condensed Version : Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Mayor Giese, to approve the 5/12/20 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. Pay Estimate #1 – 2020 Improvement Project

C. Gambling Reports

D. Revenue & Expenditure Report

E. Library Board Minutes, 3/11/20

Motion carried.

PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONS : Arbor Day Proclamation 2020: Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Wohlers, to proclaim May as Arbor Month in the City of Morris. Motion carried.

ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS : Resolution Approving an Amendment to a MN DOT Airport Maintenance and Operation Grant: City Manager Hill explained the Federal CARES Act stimulus package has allocated $30,000 of additional airport maintenance and operations grant money. Hill indicated there have been issues with the fueling system at the airport and this money could be used to replace it. This resolution would approve the additional funds of $30,000 on the airport grants for a total of $88,902.

Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Miller, to adopt Resolution #3692-5-20, Resolution Approving an Amendment to a MN DOT Airport Maintenance and Operation Grant. Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

CITY MANAGER'S REPORTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS : Fairgrounds Road Light Poles: Hill explained this was brought up by the Fair Board because as you go out past Pacific Avenue there are no street lights along County Road 22. The Fair Board has been renting lights to put up during the fair to insure that people were safe as they were crossing the road. Hill noted it makes sense and the Fair Board obtained some prices from Otter Tail Power. Hill asked the council to approve putting up the lights and Otter Tail would calculate how many they think should be put up. Hill noted the lights would be helpful during the fair but also for all the businesses along the road.

Council member Miller, seconded by Wohlers, to negotiate an agreement with Otter Tail Power for lighting along County Road 22. Motion carried.

City Manager Newsletter : Hill stated the Governor has indicated that restaurants can be open for outdoor seating. The Governor also recommended that cities get involved and try to help businesses be creative on what to do. City Attorney Jordan noted he has checked with a lot of other cities and gotten a wide variety of responses. Jordan indicated the biggest concern is making sure that the restaurant knows that they need to have the insurance for an expanded space. Jordan recommended a permit process for those that want to participate in the outdoor seating. The one thing that has been consistent is that the space has to be contiguous with the building where they are operating.

Wohlers stated limiting it to the areas that the business owns would be best so it's not spilling out into the city streets. Jordan added that the outdoor seating wouldn't help all of the businesses as some don't have the space. Giese agreed with keeping it on the business property but that does limit some of the businesses. Giese indicated he is a bit concerned with the order and wondered if it was for restaurants that serve a little bit of alcohol or bars that serve a little bit of food.

Considerable discussion was held on how to proceed with businesses that want to participate in the outdoor seating. Jordan noted whatever mechanism the city uses there should be a date set for a deadline. It could always be extended if need be.

Hill added that he was contacted by a local restaurant owner that had an issue with food trucks in town, specifically Wurstmachers and an occasional taco stand. Hill pointed out they only need the permission of the property owner where they set up and the city does not regulate food trucks.

Wohlers stated his personal feeling is that the city needs to be respectful of the brick and mortar businesses that pay taxes all year long. Wohlers suggested there be some kind of control from a safety standpoint and a mechanism in place to allow who is coming in and out of town.

Miller indicated if somebody wants to bring in a truck in on private property there isn't anything the city can do about it. Wohlers recommended a permit and some type of fee for an allotted time. Solvie agreed with Wohlers on having a permit and paying a fee. Solvie stated Morris businesses are paying taxes and the others should not be allowed to come in freely. Miller asked City Attorney Jordan to check with some other communities to see what they do with regard to food trucks.

Discussion was held on creating an ordinance to permit food trucks. Hill reviewed the ordinance process, which would involve a public hearing and probably a lot of public input. Giese suggested Hill and Jordan do their due diligence and come up with a resolution to permit these food trucks. Giese stated he would have a hard time with totally saying no to the food trucks, but limitations could be in place.

Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Solvie, to direct City Manager Hill and City Attorney Jordan to draft a letter of instruction to restaurant owners with regard to outdoor seating as the Covid crisis continues. Motion carried.

Hill noted he is trying to wade through all the information about the campground and there are very specific rules about the things you have to do to provide amenities.

Hill encouraged everybody in the city to go online and apply for an absentee ballot for the upcoming elections because the city will not be able to do mail in ballots. Hill stated that way the election judges can limit the amount of people they interact with and avoid having long lines at the polls.


INFORMATIONAL ITEMS : New Release – Mitigation Plan: This was informational for the council.

ADJOURNMENT : There being no further business, Mayor Giese adjourned the meeting at 6:27 p.m.

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