Morris residents encouraged to sign up for Storm Alerts

After the winter we had in this area last year, when someone brings up Storm Alerts, you tend to think about snow emergencies, towing and fines. Last year there were two Snow Emergency declarations issued in Morris and each time several vehicles were ticketed and towed. That led to numerous phone calls to the city office and public comments at city council meetings. Many people stated that they did not know about the Snow Emergency declarations.

The Morris City Council is attempting to inform residents before the next Storm Alert. Since you never know the time or date for a storm, they encourage people to sign up for Storm Alerts. This would send out a message to everyone in the database about the alert. This was part of discussion at the council meeting on November 8.

It is very easy to sign up. You simply go to the official Stevens County Courthouse website and there is an icon at
the top that says Alert signup. By filling in your information you will be warned whenever a severe storm is coming, both summer and winter, and also be told when a Snow Emergency has been declared. That is when you need to get your vehicles or anything else off the streets before plowing begins.

Councilman Brian Solvie asked if there was anything the council could do to make landlords provide parking space for
tenants. It is the responsibility of the landlords to ensure that in the case of a snow emergency, tenants have a place to park
other than on the street.

“I would like us to look into leaning on landowners to provide adequate parking for tenants,” Solvie stated. “We also need to tell the tenants how to sign up for Red Alerts (or Storm Alerts).”

City Manager Blaine Hill stated that the city really does not want to tow cars, but the law states that they can not remain
on the street during a snow emergency. “The goal is to get everybody to know and understand what to do in case a Snow
Emergency is declared.

Councilman Kevin Wohlers asked for more information on what is happening on E. 7th Street. There are currently flags going out to mark locations. Hill said that currently there are no funds to proceed with the work on E. 7 St. which would include new sewer and water lines. He is trying to get an estimate of costs for the project and also is looking at finding grants to help pay for part of it. He said the city does
not want to jump into a project until it has the funds to pay for it. Hill also stated that MnDot will be rebuilding Hwy 28 from Morris to Starbuck in 2024.

In order to address some of the findings during a recent audit of the Stormwater Management plan, the city approved some slight changes to the ordinance. Most of the changes were minor, but one of note was that any outside storage of salt, such as softener salt, needs to be monitored so the bags do not leak. The salt could wash into the stormwater system. Hill said that he will be encouraging any locations with outdoor salt storage to cover them to prevent damage.

Hill also updated the council about findings after a public comment at the last meeting. He had inspected the electric doors at the library and found them to all be in working condition. He did notice some uneven sidewalks so those areas have been painted so they are visible and will be fixed next year. When it comes to the request for data, it will need to be data the city has and cannot be private information or data that the requester wants generated in their format. In a case such as an insurance claim, the city only reported the incident
and the insurance company took it from there. The city does not have a detailed claim document from the incident.