MINUTES - MORRIS
CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING - MARCH 14, 2017
regular meeting of the Morris City Council was called to order at 5:15 p.m.
this 14th day of March, 2017, by Mayor Giese in the Council Chambers
of the Morris Senior Citizens/Community Center.
OF ALLEGIANCE: The
Pledge of Allegiance was recited.
TO AGENDA: Mayor
Giese added to the consent agenda An Application for Exempt Permit from Stevens
County Ducks Unlimited.
CALL: Roll call
was taken with the following members present: Council member Wohlers, Solvie,
Gullickson, Miller, and Mayor Giese. Also present was City Manager Hill,
Finance Director Raasch, Police Chief Tiegs, Fire Chief Dybdal and City
Cain was present at the meeting and stated she, along with many other people, is
concerned about the recent loss of trees that have been cut down around town. Cain
stated she lost one elm tree awhile back that faces the southwest and has seen
her utility bills triple in the warm months of the summer because of the lack
of shade. Cain noted she bought a new tree as soon as she could, but she won't
live to see the benefit as trees take a long time to grow. Cain stated she
hoped that there was a plan for replacing trees and that strong consideration
be given before any more trees are removed.
Flicker expressed concerned about the trees that have been taken down in the
last couple weeks. Flicker suggested a comprehensive research based plan that
the Tree Board would be competent to develop. Flicker hoped that the city would
adhere to that plan as further trees need to be removed and to trim trees when
possible. Flicker added her concern for the Green River project and asked
that the Tree Board review that in terms of environment and aesthetics.
Flicker stated he was also at the meeting to discuss the recent removal of a significant
number of mature and apparently healthy trees from the streets of Morris. Flicker
noted it seemed arbitrary and not very well thought out. Flicker indicated he would
like to see more transparency and community discussion in the decision making
process with regard to taking down trees.
Bremer declared he was concerned that some of the trees may have been unnecessarily
cut down. Bremer stated trees are part of the eco-system; they can help raise
property values and take co2 from the air, along with many other benefits. Bremer
stated if there were some trees unnecessarily cut down, then hopefully everyone
can work together to make sure there is a better plan in place to keep the trees.
Graham pointed out she walks everywhere and was dismayed to see so many trees
come down in such concentrated areas. Graham is also concerned about the trees
in the Green River area and asked that the Tree Board have a chance to review
Anderson reiterated the concerns that have been articulated. Anderson stated the
chain of command is unclear to her and also what the role of the Tree Board is and
if the council had the opportunity to weigh in on some of these decisions. Anderson
indicated she would like to
this came about because it seemed very sudden and dramatic. Anderson also asked
what was happening with the wood from the trees that were taken down, as she
had heard various things about people using the wood for their personal use and it not being made
available to the public.
Manager Hill explained that there is no fight between the Tree Board and city
administration. Hill stated the Tree Board is appointed by the city council and
tasked with doing certain things. Hill indicated one of those things is to make
recommendations to the city on tree issues. Hill indicated that typically with
boards, sometimes there are city council members that sit on there or city
employees that serve. Hill noted all things that are brought up through the
city council get funneled up through the City Manager. Hill stated he was hired
to manage and operate the city. Hill stated this problem is fixed. The city stopped
cutting trees until a system is put in place to be able to make those
recommendations. Hill noted the Public Works Director is a member of the Tree Board
and is also the City Forester. The Forester is the key staff person that works
with the Tree Board on tree issues and that hasn't been happening so now that
is fixed. The Public Works Director will be part of the Tree Board and will
provide information to the Tree Board and the whole communication process will
go back and forth.
explained as far as the cut wood it is typically brought to the landfill. Hill
noted he would do some checking as to whether or not people are taking it.
indicated he, along with Public Works Director Dittbenner, was at the last Tree
Board meeting. Hill noted the Tree Board is working on a tree policy. Hill stated
he asked the Tree Board for recommendations on the tree budget, tree treatment,
pruning, trimming, planting and removal. Hill indicated summer is the time for
inspecting Dutch elm trees and it needs to be done in a timely manner. Hill
also asked the Tree Board to look at the Green River issue. Hill stated that is
the main drainage area for all the water that comes out of Morris. The city's
engineer will be coming to the next Tree Board meeting to explain what the
process is going to be because there are trees that need to come out of there. Hill
confirmed that the Tree Board has given their approval to the trees that need
to come out for the improvement project on North and South Court, Brook Street
and Eleanor Avenue. Hill added that the Tree Board will also be making recommendations
on Wells and Eagles Park for planting trees.
he knows everyone on the Tree Board and respects all of their capabilities. Hill
stated there had been a disconnect in the communications between the Tree Board
and city staff but that has been taken care of. Moving forward city staff will
have the information it needs at its fingertips.
Turner asked if it was possible that some organizations give money towards
trees or help out in some aspect. Hill stated that was absolutely possible. Hill
noted, however, that there shouldn't be an assumption that the Tree Board has
to go out asking people for money to plant trees. The city can put money in the
budget first, but if there's an opportunity to do something that maybe couldn't
get done in a given year, other opportunities are appreciated.
Rempel asked if there was some distinctive way to mark the trees that are going
to be taken down. Rempel indicated it may help how the public feels about the
process if they had a little warning.
member Wohlers presented the council with a letter from Jo Solvie with tree
thanked everyone for coming. Giese noted the communication lines are open, but
unfortunately what's already been done can't be fixed.
member Solvie stated he also appreciated everyone coming. Solvie stated it
makes him feel good that people want to be involved and that it wasn't done in
an accusatory manner. Solvie pointed out he lives close to Green River and
likes all the trees but also recognizes that the whole city depends on that
stream to take away water. Solvie pointed out that if the water doesn't flow,
basements can flood and one person has water that comes up to their back door
every time there's a 5 inch rain. Solvie stated the council will definitely try
to preserve everything it can along Green River.
member Wohlers added that he appreciated the calm demeanor and the good ideas
that were presented tonight.
Country Service Cooperative: Jane Eastes and Holly Witt of Lakes Country Service Cooperative were
present at the meeting to review the services LCSC provides. Eastes stated it
is the 40 year anniversary of LCSC, which is a public non-profit that was
started by the legislature. Eastes noted there are 9 of them around the state
serving 151 members. Eastes stated when looking at the services they provide, they
tailor their services to add too or supplement services, not to take anything
stated she works with the CCOGA, which are Cities, Counties and Other
Government Agencies. Witt indicated they are connecting with their members to
make sure they know about the services they provide. Witt indicated some new
training needs they are working on include social media, team building and a series
they are planning for the fall. Witt indicated they are also looking at
internship and interim programs. Witt welcomes any feedback from the council
after they have a chance to look at the packet of information provided.
AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES: 2/28/17 Regular City Council Meeting Minutes: Council member
Solvie moved, seconded by Council member Miller, to approve the 2/28/17 regular
meeting minutes. Motion carried.
Condensed Version Minutes: Council member Gullickson moved, seconded by Wohlers, to approve the
2/28/17 condensed version minutes. Motion carried.
Giese moved, seconded by Council member Wohlers, to approve the consent agenda
which included the following items:
of City Bills
Tree Board Minutes
License Report - Morris Area Post Prom
for Exempt Permit - Ducks Unlimited Ladies Event
REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONS: Acceptance of Donation to Fire Department from Crop Production
Services: Council member Miller moved, seconded by Council member Wohlers ,
to accept a donation of $1,000 from Crop Production Services to the Morris Fire
Department to assist with the purchase of a utility truck vehicle. Motion
AND RESOLUTIONS: Resolution
Requesting Authorization to Replace, Rehabilitate or Remove Bridges: Hill
pointed out this resolution needs to be done if the city wants to seek state
funding for the culverts along Green River. Hill stated Jeff Kuhn has done a good
job of trying to round up money.
Wohlers moved, seconded by Solvie, to adopt Resolution #3458-3-17, Resolution
Requesting Authorization to Replace, Rehabilitate or Remove Bridges. Upon a
roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.
Authorizing a Novation Agreement with the Morris HRA and the HRA of Stevens
County: Melanie Fohl
of the HRA was present at the meeting and stated it has been about two years
since she first came before the council to talk about this official transfer. Fohl
indicated Grandview has finished a $1.2 million plumbing project so the
transfer can now move forward.
the agreement is a HUD prescribed document and the Stevens County HRA will
replace the Morris Housing Authority wherever it is mentioned.
Miller moved, seconded by Council member Gullickson, to adopt Resolution #3459-3-17,
Resolution Authorizing a Novation Agreement with the Morris HRA and the HRA of
Stevens County. Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor,
Updating the City of Morris Fee Schedule: Fohl explained the rental licensing ordinance has been in
place since 1999 and fees haven't been increased since 2003. Fohl proposed that
fees be increased from $55/unit + $10 for each additional unit to $65/unit +
$15 for each additional unit. Fohl indicated they have been running $5,000-$7,000
in the hole and need to make the budget balance. Fohl pointed out she doesn't
see a lot of opposition from landlords and they're very cooperative for the
most part. Fohl stated they try to be a resource for both landlords and
member Wohlers moved, seconded by Solvie, to adopt Resolution #3460-3-17,
Resolution Updating the City of Morris Fee Schedule. Upon a roll call vote
taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.
Approving a Federal AIP Entitlement Transfer Agreement from Benson, MN for
$138,655: Hill stated
this agreement with Benson is for the transfer of $138,655 of entitlement funds
to be used for a master plan project at the airport. Hill noted there is no
requirement to pay the funds back at a later date.
member Miller moved, seconded by Mayor Giese, to adopt Resolution #3461-3-17,
Resolution Approving a Federal AIP Entitlement Transfer Agreement from Benson,
MN for $138,655. Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor,
MANAGER'S REPORTS & RECOMMENDATIONS: City Manager Newsletter: This was
informational for the council.
if it would it be beneficial to have a council member on the Tree Board. Hill noted
that would be up to the council. Council member Gullickson volunteered to be on the board
but she may have a conflict with the meeting time. Hill stated he would check
on the scheduling of the Tree Board meetings. Gullickson added that the tree
removal was not a very well-thought out plan and could see why people were
upset. Gullickson stated its water under the bridge but it shouldn't happen
April 11th Meeting at High School: Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member
Solvie, to schedule the April 11th meeting at the high school at
ITEMS: Board of
Review Information: The Board of Review is scheduled for April 3rd
at 5:15 p.m.
ADJOURNMENT: There being no further business,
Mayor Giese adjourned the meeting at 6:27 p.m.