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Paynesville Press - March 22, 2006

Paynesville Township holds two board meetings, annual meeting with residents

By Michael Jacobson

The Paynesville Township Board of Supervisors held three meetings last week: a regular meeting on Monday, March 13; their annual meeting with township residents on Tuesday, March 14; and their annual organizational meeting and regular meeting on Thursday, March 16.

The following actions were taken at each of these meetings.

Monday, March 13
*The board approved recommending the following levy approval for the township in 2006 to the residents at the annual meeting on Tuesday, March 14: road and bridge fund, $188,500 (up from $182,000); revenue fund, $177,000 (up from $170,000); snow fund, $32,000 (up from $30,000); and fire fund, $26,000 (up from $25,000), totalling $423,500 (up from $407,000). The board agreed that this four-percent increase was a minimum needed by the township.

The board was also advised that the township's valuation growth (new building, etc.) should offset a nearly $10,000 levy increase before causing tax rates to be increased.

*The board directed realtor Scott Wellen, representing Ray and Lonnie Lien, to contact the city to begin annexation proceedings for a 143-acre parcel the Liens own in Sections 7 and 18 of the township. Wellen indicated that city sewer and water would be needed as part of the development.

The board informed him about the township's orderly annexation agreement with the city, which returns the property taxes on annexed parcels until city services are extended to the property. Once city services are extended, a portion of the tax revenue is returned to the township for a period of years.

With a large parcel, the township board informed the Liens and Wellen that they would support an annexation agreement such as was done for the North Paynesville Development, a 240-acre annexation done last summer. Both developments are planned in stages, and the township wants the current tax revenue from any undeveloped portions to be returned to the township until city services (water, sewer, and streets) are extended.

*The board heard from chairman Don Pietsch that he had met with representatives with D&D Snow-plowing following the board's previous meeting in February and they signed the renegotiated contract, which included a fuel clause. They continue to be concerned about rising costs for snowplowing, he added.

*The board was informed about the status of the Lake Koronis Recreational Trail by Pietsch. The last easement was set to be signed, Pietsch told the board, and construction of this segment from the city to Old Lake Road (which already has a trail to the city beach) is set for this summer.

The supervisors also reviewed the proposed route from the city to the Glacial Lakes State Trail, which the trail committee is also preparing for construction, either this summer or next year.

*The board set a variance hearing for Dennis Doncaster for Monday, April 10, at 8:30 p.m. Doncaster wants to build a new house at his residence in Section 28 of the township that would be 48 feet from the centerline of road right of way, instead of the required 63 feet, thus necessitating the variance.

Tuesday, March 14
Approximately 25 residents attended the township's annual meeting on Tuesday, March 14, which lasted just under two hours. Township resident Paul Bugbee was elected moderator for the meeting. *The residents approved the proposed levy increase by the township board, up to $423,500 in 2006 from $407,000 in 2005. This $16,500 levy addition represents a four-percent increase. Residents will be levied this amount in 2006, with the township receiving these dollars in 2007.

The increases include: $7,000 for the revenue fund, which includes payment for police protection, whose costs will increase with the addition of a fifth officer for the Paynesville Police Department; $6,500 for road and bridges with the township seeing more development and more road service and maintenance in the township; $2,000 for the snow fund, whose expenses over the past five years have averaged $28,000 with fuel costs still increasing; and $1,000 for the fire fund, whose eight-year average of expenses is $30,000 while the township levies $26,000.

*Election results were announced to the meeting. Supervisor Harry Thielen was re-elected to a three-year term with 98 votes, while write-in candidate Ed Lang got 22 votes. Incumbent clerk Don Wiese was re-elected with 111 votes; there were assorted write-in votes. Election turnout in the township was 126.

*The residents heard reports from Paynesville Police Chief Kent Kortlever (including the benefits of nearly around-the-clock local police protection with the addition of a fifth officer in July 2006); from PAHCS chief financial officer Kirk Johnson (about the Paynesville Area Hospital District, which includes Paynesville Township and operates as the Paynesville Area Health Care System); from arena manager Otto Naujokas (about the Koronis Civic Arena and the PNLS Hockey Association); and from Bunny Fasen about the Paynesville Area Center.

*The residents designated Tuesday, March 13, 2007, at 8:15 p.m. for next year's annual meeting, with a make-up date of Tuesday, March 20, in case of inclement weather.

Thursday, March 16
During their annual organizational meeting on Thursday, March 16, the board of supervisors took the following actions.

*The board re-elected Pietsch as board chairman.

*The board readopted using Roberts Rules of Order for their meetings in 2006.

*The board approved committee appointments for 2006, with only one change. Township residents Pat Flanders and Bruce Stang both wrote letters inquiring about representing the township on the Economic Development Authority of Paynesville (EDAP). The board thanked Flanders for his many years of service to the board but opted to appoint Stang. Supervisor Pat Meagher expressed the sentiment of the board by saying that he felt appointed posts should be spread around if there is interest.

The board also had asked for any interest in serving on the joint trail committee with the city but did not get any responses.

The committee list for 2006 is:
EDAP Don Pietsch, Bruce Stang, and Don Wiese
Environmental Harry Thielen, and Wiese
Weed Inspector Pat Meagher
Cable TV Thielen
Road Maintenance Meagher, Pietsch, and Thielen
Site Permits Mike Jensen
Park and Arena Pietsch (Thielen alternate)
Trail Jensen, Pietsch, and Wiese

*The board approved keeping the township charges - for site permits, etc. - the same for 2006.

*The board approved the following rates: hired labor, $14 per hour; election judges, $10 per hour; board members supervising projects, $15 per hour, up from $14 per hour; board meetings, $55 per meeting; and mileage, to use the IRS rate, currently at 48.5 per mile. The board also approved reimbursement for the clerk and treasurer at $250 per month, the same as last year.

*The board approved the following charitable contributions: $3,000 for the Paynesville Area Center; $3,000 for the R.O.S.E. Center; $2,500 for the Paynesville Area Historical Society; $1,500 for fireworks; $500 for the ethnic festival; and $250 for the after-prom party.

The only change on the list is increasing the R.O.S.E. Center from $1,350 to $3,000. Volunteer coordinator Joyce Spaulding reported that usage of their services - volunteers provide rides, household help, and perform other duties to try and keep senior citizens in their homes - has increased 50 percent in Paynesville Township over the past year (going from 21 clients receiving services to 31 residents getting services).

R.O.S.E. Center volunteers drove township residents 6,700 miles last year, which at 40.5 per mile amounts to $2,711 in expenses. (Volunteers are paid mileage by the R.O.S.E. Center but volunteer their time.)

With these mileage expenses unlikely to decrease - the rate has gone up to 48.5 per mile - the board felt it was appropriate to increase this contribution.

*The board approved the following financial commitments: $5,500 to Community Education for summer recreation and $5,000 to the hockey association for open skating.

*The board set its annual road inspection for Saturday, April 15, at 7 a.m.

*The board set its annual equilization hearing for Thursday, April 20, at 2:30 p.m. Residents may call the township hall (243-7500) that morning from 9 a.m. to 12 noon for appointments - in 15-minute intervals - to discuss their property valuations in the afternoon at the equalization hearing.

*The board accepted Brittany Oaks Circle in the Lordon Pond Addition as a township road, following a public hearing with no comments. Homeowners along that road paved the road, provided easements for a turnaround, and petitioned the board to accept the road. The road is only 17-feet wide, but the supervisors agreed this was all that was feasible.

*The board approved preparing engineering specifications to be prepared for the section of the Lake Koronis Recreational Trail from Highway 55 in the city to Old Lake Road in Paynesville Township. Bids are expected to be advertised in June and opened in August with construction in the fall of 2006.

*The board reiterated that burning in the township should be done within the following hours: 5 p.m. to 6 a.m. during the fall, winter, and spring and from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. during Daylight Savings Time. Burning permits are not required when three inches of snow are on the ground, but residents should still abide by these burning hours.

Residents also need to call the dispatcher before burning, or the fire department may be inadvertantly dispatched to their resident. Because the township is charged with a fire call for these cases, they charge $1,000 for fire calls where the resident does not have a burning permit and $500 for fire calles with a permit where the resident did not call the dispatcher before burning.

*The board's next meeting will be held on Monday, April 10, at 8 p.m. The board resumes having two meetings each month in April - on the second and fourth Mondays of the month - with all meetings at 8 p.m.

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