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City poised for sale of old elementary school property

MORRIS – The city of Morris is ready to negotiate the sale of the old elementary school property after finalizing financial details with the city’s bond consultants.

City Manager Blaine Hill told the Morris City Council on Tuesday that he met with Mark Ruff, senior financial advisor at Ehlers, the city’s bond consultant, to “flush out” all of the items that need to be included in a purchase agreement for the old elementary school property.

With those items in place, Hill said he plans to meet with Riley Bros. Properties to negotiate the agreement.

One requirement will be that any projects funded with tax increment financing need to be started within five years. The city will also reserve the right to approve a project if Riley Bros. Properties sells the property to another developer for a project. The sale and project will be tied to TIF funding, Hill said.

“We’re ready to meet with them and get the purchase agreement done,” said Hill. In a memo to the council, Hill said he anticipated meeting with Riley Bros. Properties in the next two weeks.

Once the purchase agreement is negotiated, it will be brought to the council for final approval.

Other business

  • The council approved an updated agreement with West Central SWAT. Morris Police Chief Ross Tiegs said the agreement was updated because Big Stone County dropped out of the team and the Montevideo Police joined the team. The organization also increased the membership fee to $1,000 per year to help buy new equipment and pay for the increased cost of training.

  • City Manager Blaine Hill told the council there are some indications that the state of Minnesota may reimburse $15 million that was take from the state airport fund. If this is the case, money might be available to help pay for part of Morris’ planned parallel taxiway project that was put on hold after the federal government changed funding requirements.

  • The city accepted a donations of $600 from the Morris Area School M Club and $608 from the Morris Baseball Association to improve the batting cages at the Eagles Ball Park. The batting cages were damaged during a storm last summer.