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The regular meeting of the Morris City Council was called to order at 5:17 p.m. this 28th day of July, 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, Gullickson, Miller and Mayor Giese were present via Zoom.  Also present was Police Chief Welle and Finance Director Raasch via Zoom.  City Manager Hill was present in the Council Chambers.

ADDITION TO AGENDA:  Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Wohlers, to add to the agenda a Supplemental Pay Estimate #2 for Runway Extension Land Acquisition Services.  Motion carried.



READING AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES:  7/14/20 Regular Meeting Minutes:  Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Wohlers, to approve the 7/14/20 regular meeting minutes.  Motion carried.

7/14/20 Condensed Version:  Council member Miller moved, seconded by Gullickson, to approve the 7/14/20 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 #3 - 2020 Improvement Project

C. Final Pay Estimate - Airport Apron Rehabilitation

D.  June Transit Report

E. Gambling Report

F. Pay Estimate #2 - Runway Extension Land Acquisition Services

Motion carried.



CITY MANAGER'S REPORTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS:  2021 Budget Guidance Recommendation:  City Manager Hill stated it is uncertain what is going to happen with the State of MN going into the next legislative session and specifically LGA.  Hill indicated his plan is to keep the budget where it is at and worst-case scenario prepare for a cut.  The cuts could be long term depending on what happens with the economy.  Hill stated for planning purposes he is going to put an additional 3% on the tax levy but the end goal is to try to freeze taxes. 


Hill reviewed the budget guidance as presented to the council.  The following items were discussed:

· Reserves cannot be used to increase ongoing spending.  They can only be used to help cover short term unplanned shortages and delays in receiving funding. 

· LGA is in question due to COVID-19.

· The Public Works loader was paid off in 2020.

· There is a plan to review all fees that the city takes in.

· State aid highway funds may be cut with the reduction in fuel sales.

· The liquor store has remained a steady source of income.

· Labor contracts are up for renewal.  Labor is the biggest part of the budget and there has to be revenue to pay for it.  The City has a small work force and there's not a lot of room for downsizing.

· Health insurance will be budgeted for now with the standard 10% rate increase and a $250 increase in deductible. 

· A slight cut may need to be made in contributions to Community Ed and SCEIC.

· Provide at least $200,000 for Capital Outlay expenditures.

· Work comp premiums are up.

· The water plant will be looked at now that it has been up and running a whole year.  Due to COVID the ethanol plant was shut down which resulted in lower water usage.


Hill informed the council he will be telling department heads to look at absolutely only what they need since no one knows how long COVID will affect things.  Hill indicated the city does need to focus on some things that need to be fixed up with maintenance money.  Hill stated the majority of the city's budget is people and it's a good opportunity to take a look at operations and the what ifs. 

Council member Miller moved, seconded by Gullickson, to accept the 2021 budget guidance and recommendations.  Motion carried.

City Manager Newsletter:  Discussion was held on how it would work to allow citizens to attend the council meetings via zoom.  Hill is the administrator of the calls and would need to know ahead of time who wanted to join.  It was suggested to contact City Manager Hill or a member of the council if there was a concern about any issues, not necessarily waiting until a meeting date. 

With regard to the CARES Act, Hill stated any expenses related to COVID need to be reasonable. Hill noted one of the things the city will use the money for is technology, such as computers, cameras and microphones, to facilitate working from home if someone needs to quarantine.  Hill added any leftover CARES money is going to be put into a local business grant fund but it has to be vetted very carefully.  If it is mishandled the feds will come back and get it from the city. 

OTHER BUSINESS:  Council member Solvie asked if the city was making any sort of statement about the masks.  Also, how the Police Department is handling calls if people are reported for not wearing masks.  Police Chief Welle indicated they have not made any statements and will treat it like any other executive order from the Governor with education first.  Welle noted if they receive any complaints about mask violations, they will be forwarding them to Public Health. 


ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, Mayor Giese adjourned the meeting at 6:17 p.m.

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