No parking on Highway 23 approved by council

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 1/14/97.

During the first meeting of the new year, the Paynesville City Council approved designating a portion of Highway 23 as a no parking zone. The council approved a resolution declaring the area from Highway 124 to Augusta Avenue as a no parking zone as soon as the signs can be posted. The council also approved declaring the entire town as a no parking zone from 1 to 6 a.m. from November through March.

Police Chief Bill Drager informed the council of several near misses and of an accident which occurred at the alley between city hall and Vern Johnson Motors and Highway 23. The accident could have been avoided if there was no parking allowed from Highway 124 to Augusta Avenue. ďWe need to do something before somebody gets hurt,Ē Drager told the council. ďThe last accident could have been worse.Ē

The subject about declaring the area a no parking zone was discussed earlier in the year. MnDOT recommended declaring 150 feet east and west of the stop light a no parking zone.

Drager informed the council the police department has issued 60 parking tickets thus far this winter. The people getting the tickets suggested no parking all winter. They did not like going to bed at night, then having it snow and upon waking up in the morning, finding their car had been towed.

Ron Mergen, public works director, said one night they had to plow due to drifting snow. They donít just plow when it snows.

Council members asked if the police department was ready to enforce the new ruling. Drager replied, yes.

City attorney Bill Spooner said no matter what you do about snow ordinances, the city will still have problems. ďWe are living in a climate where nothing is perfect,Ē he added. ďNo matter how you simplify the ordinance, there still will be confusion.Ē Drager said some of the cars they towed were parked on the street beside their driveways. They could easily have been off the street.

A few of the councilmen asked if the no parking period should be longer. Mergen said 95 percent of the time, the crew gets the plowing done at night.
The council directed Spooner to draft a simple snow ordinance, changing the no parking period. The council would act on the new ordinance at their Jan. 22 meeting.

In other business, the council approved purchasing a bidirectional tractor with a 108-inch blower and loader. Mergen informed the council the city had the tractor on a trial basis and found it shortened the snow removal time by about a third.

ēCity administrator Dennis Wilde swore in the newly elected mayor Jeff Thompson; and councilmen Dennis Zimmerman and David Pschong.

ēThe council discussed appointing a new council member to fill the unexpired term of Jeff Thompson. Anyone interested in serving on the council should contact Thompson or Dennis Wilde, city administrator.

ēThe council elected Dennis Zimmerman to serve as acting mayor when Mayor Jeff Thompson canít attend meetings.
ēThe council approved the following appointments:
Official newspaper: Paynesville Press
City attorney: Frauenshuh, Spooner, and Landmark Law Firm
Representative to the Highway 23 steering committee: Dennis Wilde
Official city depository: Farmers and Merchants State Bank, Paynesville Office of the Melrose Credit Union, Community First National Bank, Smith, Barney and Shearson, and Juran and Moody
Building inspector: Don Hanson
City treasurer: Dennis Wilde
City engineer: SEH
Civil defense director: unknown. Carl Wagner resigned from the position. Anyone interested in serving in the position should contact city hall.

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