Morris Country Club seeks annexation into city
Club wants ability to tap onto municipal sewer, water service
In a joint meeting, Morris' Parks and Annexation Committee and its Water and Sewer Committee approved an agreement to bring Morris Country Club into the city of Morris.
Committee members unanimously approved the annexation agreement, which will now go on to the full council for approval.
Morris Country Club is now owned by the Sandeno family, which also owns "D" Construction. They are seeking to have the club annexed in order to get water and sewer services from the city.
Only the club's buildings would be annexed, not the entire golf course, said Mayor Richard Kopczick during the joint meeting Thursday. The land to be annexed, therefore, is under two acres.
As part of taking in the golf club, the city will have to add another liquor license classification for golf clubs so MCC can continue with its liquor sales, said City Attorney Scott Belt. He will look at Grundy County's golf club license so the transition is seamless for Morris Country Club, said Belt. It's current license is from the county.
"That way, if Nettle Creek (Country Club) comes in, we'd already have it," Kopczick said.
Belt said Nettle Creek is contiguous to the city if it wants to be annexed in in the future.
The Morris Country Club's bar is currently being remodeled. They are adding on to the west end of the existing building, said Guy Christensen, city engineer. It's about six to seven weeks from being completed.
The work is being done under a county building permit, so Belt suggested putting something in the annexation agreement allowing them to finish the work under the county's supervision even though it will be in the city limits soon in order to avoid any complications with any differences between the county and city's building regulations.
"Once the project is complete, any other projects would be under the city," Belt said.
The club is located in Business-4 zoning, where golf courses are allowed as a permitted use, so the annexation will not require a zoning change.
Alderman Ken Sereno, chairman of the parks committee, did not feel the agreement's sales tax rebate was appropriate, although in the end he did approve the agreement with no changes.
The agreement states the city is aware of substantial upgrades and improvements the owners are doing to the club, so in consideration of this, it agrees to rebate to the owner 60 percent of the city's local share of the sales tax it receives from taxable sales at the club. This is good for 10 years.
Of the 6.25 percent sales tax, the city will get 1 percent, the state 5 percent and Grundy County .25 percent, Kopczick said. Of the city's 1 percent, it will rebate back 60 percent of its 1 percent.
"I don't see any reason for the 60-40," said Sereno. "We're not getting a Walmart in there."
Sereno said there is no advantage to the golf club being annexed into the city and, therefore, the city should not give its sales tax back to the club. The club is getting the benefits of water and sewer, while the property taxes the city will get from the club will not amount to much, he said.
Sereno said he feared other properties will ask for this same deal when they want to be annexed into the city. Belt replied that every annexation agreement is different and up to the city's discretion.
"I understand what you are saying, but, on the other hand, this isn't the first time we've done it. To me, this is a nice piece of property that will be nice to have in the city . . . but whatever the committee decides, I am going to go with," said Alderman Julian Houston, member of both committees.
"I think it'll pay off in the long run," Houston added later.
Kopczick said the club will have to put a lot of money in to connecting to the city's water and sewer. He also pointed out that this kind of agreement has been done before, such as with Ritchie Brothers.
Alderman Duane Wolfe said he agreed with Houston and all three alderman voted in favor of the agreement.