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Paynesville Press - March 16, 2005

City approves meth clean-up ordinance

By Bonnie Jo Hanson

The Paynesville City Council took the following actions at their meeting on Wednesday, March 9.

*The council heard a verbal report from police chief Kent Kortlever regarding adopting the Stearns County ordinance addressing clandestine meth lab sites. The ordinance addresses cleanup procedures for meth labs as well as medical protocols for children, pregnant women, and vulnerable adults found at meth lab sites.

By adopting the Stearns County ordinance, the county will be responsible for enforcing cleanup of meth lab sites, said Kortlever, who also discussed recognizing the signs of meth labs, since small towns are a favorite place for meth producers to set up their operations. Residents should watch out for people disposing of large quantities of pseudoephedrine packages, duct tape, and other chemicals used in the production of methamphetamine. In addition, farmers and businesses that sell fertilizer need to watch for theft of anhydrous ammonia, also needed for meth production.

Kortlever also cautioned residents to be wary of buildings with strange smells and of houses or apartments with a lot of in-and-out visitors, especially if visitors only stay for a few minutes. Anyone witnessing anything suspicious should call the police department dispatcher at 320-243-3434.

*The council approved giving the Ampe Morningside Addition Plat Three a credit for a portion of a previously platted outlot that was given to the city to satisfy the city's requirement for a parkland dedication for new developments. The previously platted lot, Outlot J, was given to the city for use as a stormwater retention pond before the city requirement for parkland dedication was in place.

*After holding a public hearing, the council approved applying for a DNR grant to make improvements to the main shelter at Veteran's Memorial Park. The estimated cost of the project is $20,000, and the matching grant could pay half. The city has applied for the grant for the past two years and was turned down both times. This time, if a grant is not awarded, the city will consider paying for the project on its own.

*The council heard a verbal report from public works director Ron Mergen regarding lifeguards and a proposed fishing pier at Veteran's Memorial Park.

According to Mergen, the park committee recommended not hiring lifeguards for the beach this summer because, for the past few years, very few swimmers have been visiting the beach. Mergen also explained that the committee would like to work with DNR to place a fishing pier at the park. The pier, which would have a value of about $20,000, would come from the DNR and would be placed north of the swim area. When the pier is in place, the size of the swimming area would need to be reduced to keep anglers from casting into the swimming area, said Mergen. The city's only responsibility would be to build a handicap accessible trail from the parking area to the pier.

*The council also discussed possible park capital improvements with Mergen. The city is considering several recreational projects including: a leg of the Lake Koronis Recreational Trail, which is expected to cost the city an estimated $59,108; the Kruger Lake Nature Preserve, with an estimated city cost of $68,000; improvements to the shelter at Veteran's Memorial Park, with an estimated city cost of $10,100; and improving planters in the downtown area, with an estimated city cost of $12,000. The total cost of improvements is estimated at $149,210.

Currently, the park capital improvement fund has a balance of $145,000, with another $136,000 available in undesignated funds in the general fund. While grants, donations from the public, and bonding from the state could lower the total costs significantly, the city still needs to begin considering from where the money will come, said city administrator Steve Helget.

*The council heard a report from Mergen regarding upgrading Co. Rd. 123 to a nine-ton road. Stearns County has placed the road, which runs from Highway 23 to the Industrial Park, on its five-year improvement plan, and will likely turn it over to the city or to Paynesville Township once it is completed. The county has no use for the road, said Mergen, and has a contract with the city for maintenance.

*The council approved paying up to $10,000 for utility extensions for the proposed new SuperValu store. The layout of the proposed store on the lot, purchased from the city, has changed, which is estimated to cost about $30,000 for utility extensions.

*The council approved bids for leasing airport property for farming. Two bids were accepted from David Ampe, who will pay $39/acre on a 25-acre parcel north of the runway for three years and $37/acre for a 44 -acre parcel east of the runway for one year.

*The council approved proclaiming Friday, April 29, as Paynesville's Arbor Day.

*The council approved closing city hall on Columbus Day, Monday, Oct. 10, for the city's annual safety training day.

*The council approved paying Voss Plumbing and Heating $2,180 for water main repairs on Lake Avenue.

*The council approved a violence in the workplace policy to help protect city employees from threats and acts of violence.

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