- _MORRIS CITY COUNCIL - REGULAR MEETING - SEPTEMBER
The regular meeting
of the Morris City Council was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 8th
day of September, 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 via
Zoom was City Manager Hill, Finance Director Raasch, Police Chief Welle and
City Attorney Jordan.
Giese moved, seconded by Council member Wohlers, to add to the agenda an
Application for Exempt Permit for Someplace Safe. Motion carried.
Wefel - Coalition of Greater MN Cities: Wefel was present at the
meeting via Zoom. Wefel reviewed with the council what the Coalition has
been working on. Wefel indicated Covid 19 shattered the legislative
session expectations. When the session first started there was a $1.5
billion surplus and as of now there is a deficit and no bonding bill.
Wefel pointed out after Covid started their focus was on the CARES act money, childcare
challenges, small business grants and working to protect LGA.
Wefel stated another
topic the CGMC is working hard on is PFAS (per and polyfluoroalkyl
substances). This is a class of chemicals linked to serious health
concerns. The Coalition is working to identify the main sources and look
at reduction strategies for wastewater and water facilities. This will
continue to be a top priority for 2021, along with childcare.
Wefel ended by
saying it is too soon to tell if there will be cuts in LGA for next year but
their #1 priority is to make sure this year's LGA is paid in full and on
time. Wefel noted more would be known about next year when the official
forecast is released in November.
Sue Granger –
Tree Board Member:
Sue Granger was present at the meeting on behalf of the Morris Tree
Board. Granger stated 1/3 of Morris' tree canopy is ash trees.
Granger stated the effect of the emerald ash borer on the community will be
profound when it arrives. Granger indicated the EAB has been found in 23
counties in MN and the way it is traveling is by citizens moving recreational
firewood. Granger stressed it is important to keep people from bringing
outside firewood into Morris.
The second concern
from the Tree Board is for the city to keep up a robust tree planting
program. Granger stated there are currently 1,000 empty sites where trees
could be planted. The Tree Board did receive a grant for 340 trees.
Granger indicated in order to even out the impact on the city budget they are
starting to selectively remove some ash trees now. The trees in poor
condition and crowded will be the first ones removed. Granger encouraged
citizens to plant their own trees as fall is an excellent time to plant so they
don't get heat stressed.
Chris Melberg –
Melberg stated he lives in the building in question and feels the building is
solid. Melberg indicated he has talked with people and arranged to have the building
taken down but it can't be done in 10 days. Melberg pointed out he is not
the villain he feels he was portrayed to be in the newspaper. Melberg
stated he has tried for 43 years to serve this community faithfully with his business
and would like the respect he deserves for being a businessman all these
years. Melberg asked the council if they had any ideas for a feasible
option for his business that would have a fair amount of space and water.
Mayor Giese apologized
on behalf of the city and stated the intent was not to make him look like a villain.
Giese stated the city appreciates his business and hoped they could come to
some fruition where he is able to continue to work. Giese asked Melberg
what kind of timeframe he was looking at. Melberg stated he would need
until the first of the year.
PUBLIC HEARING: None
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
8/25/20 Regular Meeting Minutes: Council member Miller
moved, seconded by Solvie, to approve the 8/25/20 regular meeting
minutes. Motion carried.
Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Solvie, to approve the 8/25/20
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:
Audit of City
for Exempt Permit - Someplace Safe
REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONS: None
Resolution Accepting an FAA Grant for the Airport Runway 14-32 Extension
Phase 1 Project: Hill stated the city received the grant agreement
and it would be mailed out tomorrow.
Council member Wohlers
moved, seconded by Council member Gullickson, to adopt Resolution #3705-9-20
Resolution Accepting an FAA Grant for the Airport Runway 14-32 Extension Phase
1 Project. Upon a roll call vote taken and all presenting voting in
favor, motion carried.
a Library Heating/Cooling System 3-Year Maintenance Contract with Johnson
explained that the original maintenance agreement was part of the original
project and this resolution would approve the ongoing maintenance moving
Gullickson asked if
this would be a forever-ongoing maintenance item. Hill noted there is a
lot of maintenance that has to happen with this complicated system and the city
doesn't have anybody on staff that can do that kind of stuff. Solvie asked
if the system saves the city any money. Hill stated he believes it does
now that it's up and running and the city isn't spending any money on natural
gas for heating and cooling. Hill noted he hasn't had a chance to analyze
it but that is something the new sustainability coordinator can review.
Mayor Giese moved,
seconded by Council member Miller, to adopt Resolution #3706-9-20,
a Library Heating/Cooling System 3-Year Maintenance Contract with Johnson
Controls. Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor,
REPORTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS: City Manager Newsletter: Hill explained that when
talking about the police department at the last meeting it had nothing to do
with defunding police. Hill stated nobody lost their job other than the
city is not going to be providing a SRO at the school anymore. The
current opening is being looked because it is budget time. The city also
needs to look at the future of the police civil service commission during a
budget worksession. Wohlers stated he feels there is value in having that
commission that allows the community to have a voice in the
Hill stated he is
working with the county on CARES grant applications and the County Board will
make a decision next week to award grants.
Hill pointed out that Chris Melberg was assuming the city had already decided
the building needed to come down and that is not the case. Hill noted the
city asked him to fix the hole in the roof and asked for permission to come in
the building to check the structural integrity.
Miller stated he has
no problem giving Melberg time to do what he needs and it's his choice to live
there, but when the public goes into a bad building that falls on the
city. Miller indicated Melberg seems to think the building is solid and
maybe it is but it's rough looking.
Giese pointed out
there are two buildings there attached by a greenhouse. Hill noted
Melberg is a very good florist and it would be nice if there were another spot
that he could get set up in but he also lives at this spot. Hill
mentioned talking with Cheryl Kuhn of the SCEIC.
she appreciated Melberg coming in but expressed concern about whether or not
there was a list of things that need to be fixed. Gullickson indicated besides
the hole in the roof there are holes in the garage and even though it's not connected
to the greenhouse, it is still unsafe. Gullickson questioned whether or
not the city has some kind of obligation to keep buildings safe that people
walk by or go into. Miller agreed that the building is an eyesore and
looks tough for the city's main street. Gullickson noted that it isn't fair
to other businesses along main street that have put time into their stores.
City Attorney Jordan
stated Melberg has established a line of communication and hopefully the city
can go in the building with his consent and get a list of things that need to
Solvie agreed with
making the building safe for the community but Melberg does live there and it
wasn't the city's intent to make him lose his home. Solvie indicated as
long as the city is working with him he has no problem giving him the time but
feels Melberg needs to give the city something in return, which is to allow
someone to go in and inspect it for a level of safety and things that need to
Jordan pointed out
that if someone does go in it will be important to take notes and get pictures
of things going forward. It was the consensus of the council that city
staff should continue to follow up on this issue and report back to the council
at the next meeting.
OTHER BUSINESS: Solvie stated he was
contacted by a resident about the area behind Thedin Park and asked if it was
technically the city's property. Hill noted he believes it is the city's
property but it's heavily restricted on what can happen with it. Solvie
pointed out there are a few people that live by it that are concerned about the
overgrowth of grass and buckthorn, mosquitos and even coyotes in the
area. Solvie suggested the city crew mow it and get it on their list to
keep it maintained.
With regard to the
Park Board tour, Wohlers stated there was some talk about adding some seasonal
sites to PDT campground. Wohlers was informed there is currently a DNR matching
grant program out there designed primarily for development of recreational
properties. There is a matching grant amount of up to $250,000.
about the gazebos on the walking path because she has received complaints about
their condition. The question arose as to who put the gazebos in years
ago and was responsible for maintaining them. Hill will look into
ADJOURNMENT: There being no further
business, Mayor Giese adjourned the meeting at 6:41 p.m.`