Notes from the Sept. 13 Morton City Council meeting

SEPTEMBER 13, 2017:

Regular meeting called to order in open session at 7:00 p.m.  Lacey Henning absent.  Others present:  Roger Vaske (Farmward/Harvestland), Rebecca Kurtz ( Ehlers & Associates), Cody Dale (Renville County Soil & Water), Rick O’Neil, Ben & Deb Mammen.


8F) Engine Noise Signs/Policy (Jake Braking)

8G) Water Extension East Morton



(A) PUBLIC HEARING –PROPOSED MODIFICATIONS TO THE TIF DISTRICT:  As scheduled, posted and published public hearing opened at 7:00 p.m. to consider adding three parcels (#1151, #1150, #1145) to the TIF District.

Rebecca gave a short review of what Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is and what its purpose is.  TIF is the tool cities can use to capture and use most of the increased local property tax revenues from new development within a defined area for a specific period of time without approval of the other taxing jurisdictions.

The proposal at this time is to add three parcels.  It does not extend the 26 year term.  The budget has not been adjusted and there is no plan to do so at this time.

Upon request, Rebecca explained what the 4 year Activity Rule is and how it works.

Review of the development that has occurred as a result of using TIF.

There being no further questions or comments, a motion was made by Jacobson to approve Resolution #04-2017 modifying the TIF district to include parcel #1145,1150,1151.  Second by Walker.  Motion carried.

There being no further input, a motion was made by Prescott and second by Walker to close the public hearing.  Motion carried.

Rebecca explained and reviewed the Estimated Flow of Funds with our TIF District.  Upon request, she explained that 2027 is the earliest the TIF district can be decertified and 2027 is the latest.  At the time the district is decertified, the taxes will go into the general fund.

(B)  BUSINESS SUBSIDY POLICY:  Rebecca reviewed briefly the purpose and intent of having a subsidy policy in place.  She asked that the council review it and make it a tool that works for our community.  Further review at the October meeting.

(C)  CODY DALE – RENVILLE COUNTY SOIL & WATER:  Plans are to rebuild the retention pond north of town on private property.  Construction should begin yet this fall.  This structure should help control the water coming through the center of town.

SECRETARY’S REPORT:  Motion by Walker to approve the secretary’s report as presented.  Second by Jacobson.  Motion carried.

TREASURER’S REPORT:  Motion by Prescott and second by Walker to approve the Treasurer’s reports as presented.  Motion carried.


WATER DRAINAGE UPDATE:  The work has been completed by TNT and water continues to be pumped into the ditch.  Concern by Affordable Dirt Works about not being given an opportunity to provide a price.  Additional work to be done on the project – the pipe needs to be buried.  Maintenance will complete this yet this fall.

Proposal for Additional Work:  Ben & Deb Mammen presented a proposal from Sanders to tile the community garden and surrounding area.  Ben indicated he has lost 15 trees, his backyard is useless and not marketable if he were to sell it as is.  Cost of the proposal, tiling down 3’ is $2025 however if it were to be installed 7’ down, it would provide some benefit to the surrounding neighbors.  Motion by Prescott and second by Walker to table until the October meeting with a price on the line being down 7’.  Motion carried.

BUILDING PERMITS:  Motion by Jacobson and second by Walker to approve the building permit for Harvestland (Farmward) as presented.  Motion carried.

Discussion on the sidewalk on Third and Centennial.  Council agreed it would be acceptable for SFS to remove the sidewalk and landscape to the curb.

SMALL CITIES HOUSING:  Applications for assistance are available at city hall.

SCHOOL DEMOLITION:  A proposal has been prepared and reviewed with state elected officials with the hopes of obtaining financing for demolition.

ENGINEERING PROPOSAL:  Motion by Prescott and second by Jacobson to approve the engineering proposal from Bolten & Menk as presented.  Motion carried.

ENGINE NOISE POLICY:  Motion by Jacobson and second by Prescott to authorize MNDOT to install the proper signs, with permits and suitable location in accordance with our policy and MNDOT guidelines.  Motion carried.

UTILITY EXTENSION-EAST MORTON:  Grant funds were applied for to extend water and sewer to the former city shop.  The grant would cover 50% of the costs and the city would be responsible for the remainder.  However, prevailing wage rates apply so the cost of the project would increase making it more feasible for the city to proceed without the grant.  Motion by Prescott to proceed with water and sewer extension to the former city shop at an estimated cost of $10,000.  Second by Farmer.  Walker abstains, Jacobson opposed.  Motion carried.

SUPPORT TO KIDS:  The MN River Valley Art Center is doing a fall festival.  Information is in the newsletter.


Water/Sewer:  None

Sanitation:  Mobile Recycling bins have moved to the north part of the lot next to River Valley Arms & Ammo.

Streets:  None

Park & Rec:  Removal of the Ice Rink Birm:  Motion by Jacobson and second by Prescott to approve removal of the birm at a cost estimated at $800.  Motion carried.


POLICE:  Activity Report:  Council review and discussion.  No concerns.

FIRE:  Fire Hall:  The preliminary cost estimate was received from the Illinois office and now will be revised at the local branch.  Further discussion at the next meeting.

Thank you to the Fire Department for their response and service during the recent past rain storms.


BUDGET 2018:

Salaries:  Motion by Prescott to increase the part time rate of pay from $10.00/hour to $10.25 per hour and keep the full time rate as is.  Second by Jacobson.  Motion carried.

Rate Adjustments:  Motion by Walker and second by Prescott to approve rate increases for utilities as follows:  Water:  No increase, Sewer:  Base rate remains the same, cost per gallon increase from $.27/gallon to $.32/gallon and Sanitation from $6.50 per month to $11/month.  Second by Prescott.  Motion carried.

Fire Township Contracts:  Motion by Jacobson to keep the fire contract rates as is for 2018 with the plan of an increase for 2019 to be proposed to the townships at their 2017annual meetings.  Second by Walker.  Motion carried.

Review of levies:  Discussion on levies proposed and adopted during the past several years.

Draft Budget:  Motion by Prescott to approve the draft budget with a proposed levy of $203,382 (increase of $17,638) with the intent to reduce that increase by at least 50% by December.  Second by Jacobson.  Walker opposed.  Motion carried.  Walker opposed because she felt the lower number should have been approved at this time.

Motion by Prescott and second by Walker to schedule the Truth in Taxation Hearing for December 13 at 7 p.m.  Motion carried.

Motion by Prescott to pay bills.  Second by Walker.  Motion carried.

There being no further business, meeting adjourned at 9:20 p.m.


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