MORRISON – Morrison City Council members heard from two concerned residents regarding the proposed water rate increase, during the November 26th regular meeting.
Aaron Young addressed the council giving thanks to all that had been involved in the presentation for the new waste water treatment plant. Young questioned “What are the approximate cost projections”? Young had calculated an approximate $36-$44 monthly increase plus the scheduled increase being possible with the numbers he had been given.
“I think when you consider what that means for growing families, which makes Morrison at a disadvantage to getting new people to our town,” Young stated. “The council needs to look at the scheduled rate increase. As a resident, I feel that there has been a lack of reporting on the well project. It would be nice to get a report on that.”
David Jindrich also commented on the informational water meeting held on November 15th. “I enjoyed the diagrams presented by the engineers, but there was not enough printed information,” Jindrich noted.
Jindrich reported that he had requested that City Administrator Wise give him copies of some of the exhibits shown, and Mr. Wise refused. “According to the Open Meetings Act, which allows recording of tape, film, and other means, I should have been allowed the information. I saw pictures on line from City1.com, but not in any other papers. I am publicly requesting copies of the exhibits D & E from Baxter and Woodman.”
Stephanie Vavra of the City1.com responded by stating “You are wrong,” that it was not posted on the web site.
During the report of City Officers, Mayor Roger Drey informed the council as well as the public that the Girl Scouts will begin selling cookies in January.
Administrator Wise noted that the water rate increase will go into effect on December 1, 2012, with the ordinance showing another increase in 2013.
Regarding the comments made by resident Jindrich, Wise stated, “We had lengthy discussions with our legal council, and Baxter and Woodman, and decided that the requested items will be made available. It is a touchy situation; we had to make sure we were in accordance with the ordinances.”
Police Chief Melton reminded the council and members of the audience that on December 1st, the new speed limit of 25 miles per hour will go into effect, with enforcement starting immediately.
Public Works Director Gary Tresenriter reported on Well #5 stating, “It needs bacteriological samples. A lot of factors come into play with samples. At the last meeting, I was absent, but heard that there were questions in regard to how water meter readings are taken.” Tresenriter brought a device to let the council and public see how it is operated. Several Council members posed questions on what could possibly pose interference that could lead to an incorrect reading.
“They don’t read higher than the correct reading number. If the reader goes to the wrong house, the machine will give an error. There is no way the machine can malfunction and give a faulty reading like that of Mr. Hilty’s. The only way the meter can turn is if something gets in there,” Tresenriter responded.
Alderman Zuidema asked, “I know people have been having a hard time with their cell phones lately, could something make the magnets in the equipment spin other than water? Are we getting a hold of the manufacturer of the meter company?”
Tresenriter answered “I will be glad to if you want me to.”
City Engineer Mick Gronewold reported on the property next to the water treatment plant, advising that a title search was performed by a title company, the property listing dating since 1882 by the City. Gronewold stated, “It appears definite that the property south of the plant does belong to the fairboard.”
Mayor Drey asked the council if they wished to pursue the property. Council members stated “yes.” Gronewold informed the council that many tests would have to be done on the property before purchasing, which could total approximately $34,000.00, and that the testing would need to be done no matter where the treatment plant would be placed.
The consent was approved including:
November 12, 2012 regular session minutes; October 2012 Treasurers report; Morrison Athletic Booster signs (being placed at the Sports Complex and French Creek Park, stating “Welcome to Mustang and Fillies Country”. The Athletic Boosters shall be responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the signs; Request for payment-Layne Christensen Company-$26,689.50; Resolution #12-14-Abate Real Estate Taxes-Dyke Property; Resolution #12-15-Abate Real Estate Taxes-Berge/Leal property.
Items for consideration and possible action:
- Request for relief of utility bill of Ron Hilty in the amount of $753.51. Alderman Dave Rose stated “We do this because we care about our people. It’s not the first time we have done this”. (approved)
- Create line item for memorial landscaping donation from Margie Haines estate totaling $25,000.00 to be used to purchase trees, and shrubs to be placed in parks. (approved)
- 2013 annual tax levy-preliminary draft. Administrator Wise reported that the levy had been lowered, with the credit belonging to Mrs. Davis. The council will need to reconvene for a special meeting at a later date to adopt the levy. (approved)
- Authorize Mayor to enter into an agreement for Risk Management Policy. Jim Wise informed the council that the agreement is for insurance, with the premium being reduced by 6%, due to a great work safety record by the city workforce, with all coverage staying the same. (approved)
- Authorized Mayor Drey to enter into an agreement for public works storage. Wise commented, stating “We need storage for materials currently located in the pumping station. That building is scheduled to be demolished; we need to make arrangements for temporary storage.” The proposed agreement would allow for rental located in the old Farmers Elevator. The city is required to have insurance on the stored items. Wise stated that he had contacted the General Electric plant, but the approval process has not been completed, and that the city could move the items there at a later date if the agreement would work out. The rent is going to be on a month by month basis until a better location is found. (approved).
Other items for consideration, discussion, and information:
December 10, 2012 with Wise informing the council that his intent is to provide them with a final personnel policy at the meeting, having taken into account comments that had been made at the last meeting. Aldermen also added that it should be added into the policy about texting and personal phone calls not being permitted.
2013 tax levy-an ordinance will be available with formal adoption at a later date.
FY 2013 budget amendments. Wise said “I still want to get this to you. We are waiting on a large building permit payment. I think you will be happy.” Wise also reminded the council that there is only one meeting scheduled for the month of December.
Administrator Wise also commented that he is considering changing the hours of City Hall.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:33 p.m. The next meeting is to be held on December 10th 2012 in the Whiteside County Board Room.