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Paynesville Press - February 15, 2006

Council approves stray/impound agreement

By Michael Jacobson

The Paynesville City Council took the following actions at their meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 8.

*The council discussed the process for hiring a new administrator and reviewed a proposed timeline by the personnel committee. (See story on page 1.)

*The council approved appointing public works director Ron Mergen as the interim city administrator. (City administrator Steve Helget has resigned, effective March 1.) As per policy, the council also approved compensating Mergen an addtional $2 per hour to his regular wage to serve as the interim administrator.

*The council appointed Mayor Jeff Thompson to temporarily serve on the personnel committee during the process of hiring a new city administrator.

The council did this after discussing the impacts of the open meeting law. By appointing Thompson to the committee, in addition to council members Jeff Bertram and Jean Soine, who regularly serve on the committee, the personnel committee now includes a quorum of the city council.

City attorney Bill Spooner told the council that these meetings would need to be open, despite discussing private data from the candidates, but explained that the information could be redacted in the committee discussion. Instead of calling the candidates by name, for instance, each application could be given a number to refer to.

The names of finalists, which would be brought to the full city council, are public information.

*The council approved a stray/ impound agreement with the St. Joseph/Cold Spring/Paynesville Veterinary Clinic, which serves as the city pound. Under the agreement, strays will be kept for only five business days, and neglected animals or animals that have bitten someone will be kept for ten days, explained Tom Carlson of the veterinary clinic chain. The fee is $14 per day per dog or cat or cage (in the case of, say, kittens).

Stray animals are typically treated for worms and appropriate diseases, said Carlson, and are kept longer than five days. After five days, though, they are typically brought to the St. Joseph site, which also has a boarding business.

Carlson asked for city help in advertising pictures of stray animals - available for adoption - on its website and possibly on cable TV. If they cannot find a home for an animal, they usually give it to the Humane Society, said Carlson, but some animals are euthanized.

The agreement also specifically states that the outdoor kennel at the clinic in Paynesville is the property of the city.

Carlson said he based the written policy on the policy of the Humane Society.

*The council agreed to stay with Northland Securities for financing its 2006 Street Improvement Project, after hearing three presentations (taking an hour) from financial firms. (The other firms were Ehlers & Associates and David Drown Associates.)

The council is looking at bonding for 15 years for this $1.21 million project and also informed Monte Eastvold of Northland Securities that it would be interested in doing a negotiated sale. Eastvold is expected back at the council meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 22, to continue work on this financing.

*The council approved two grant submissions to the Minnesota DNR on behalf of the Lake Koronis Recreational Trail. One was a regional trail program (since the Lake Koronis Recreational Trail will connect to the Glacial Lakes State Trail), hich would be a $250,000 maximum matching grant. The other is a local trail program with a maximum of $100,000, which would also be a matching grant.

Bertram, who also serves as a paid consultant for the trail project, said he was confident the city would receive a DNR grant for the trail this year.

*The council approved purchasing a new wood chipper, in a 50-50 partnership with Paynesville Township. The city would trade in its current chipper, which the township has rented frequently. The total cost of the new chipper is $22,500, of which half is $11,250. The city gets to deduct the $4,000 trade-in from its half, meaning its total amount, with sales tax, is expected to cost about $7,725.

The council tabled a proposed joint purchase agreement with Paynesville Township, just so some minor wording changes could be made and some clarifications about insurance coverage sought before approval.

*The council approved a family medical leave for city employee Jennifer Welling beginning Monday, Feb. 13.

*The council approved a proclamation declaring Friday, April 28, as Arbor Day in the city.

*The council approved closing city hall on Friday, Nov. 24 (the day after Thanksgiving). Employees will use either vacation time or personal time for the day off.

*The council set a public hearing for Wednesday, March 8, at 7 p.m. for AMPI, which wants to build a five-foot by seven-foot sewer sampling building. It would not meet the setback requirement of 25 feet (being proposed to be one foot from the curb) and AMPI exceeds the maximum of 50 percent lot coverage.

*The council set a special city council meeting for Thursday, March 9, at 7 p.m. to meet with the design team. The city has applied to have the Minnesota Design Team visit Paynesville again in 2006, and a local committee prepared the application.

*The council welcomed new fire chief Jack Winter and approved three appointments to the Paynesville Fire Department. Noah Bruntlett, Andrew Soine, and Dustin Veldkamp have completed their training and probationary periods and were recommended by the fire department.

*The council approved raising its yearly contribution to the firefighter's relief association from $4,000 to $5,000, as budgeted for 2006, and approved several wording changes to the bylaws of the association, which had been recommended by the members.

*The council was informed that Tom Koshiol is resigning from the Park and Tree Board, though he will stay involved with the Crow River Nature Park and hopes to have input on decisions on this city park.

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