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Paynesville Press - March 30, 2005

City considers another cable franchise

By Bonnie Jo Hanson

*The council approved pursuing a cable television franchise agreement with Lakedale Communi-cations and formed a subcommittee, made of council members Jeff Bertram and Dennis Zimmerman and city administrator Steve Helget to oversee negotiations with Lakedale and report back to the council at its meeting on Wednesday, April 27.

The city has paid attorney Robert Vose of Kennedy and Graven $1,500 to negotiate a possible contract with Lakedale.

According to city attorney Bill Spooner, Lakedale wants to offer cable service in the city, but the franchise contract the city already has with Mediacom states that any other city cable franchise must abide by the same terms as the agreement with Mediacom. Spooner is concerned that approving any other agreement with Lakedale could end up in litigation with Mediacom. To date, Lakedale has balked at any proposed agreement, said Spooner, but he believes Vose, who has expertise in franchise agreements, will continue to successfully negotiate with Lakedale.

Zimmerman and Bertram both support allowing Lakedale to offer cable service in Paynesville. They agreed that Mediacom needs competition. Both men questioned how much the city should spend on negotiating the agreement, however, and they agreed to be on the subcommittee to oversee the process.

*The council was informed by Helget that the city was not approved for a Small Cities Development Grant. The city applied for the grant, which could have totaled nearly $1.3 million, to make improvements to businesses and residences in some areas of Paynesville.

In the category in which the city applied, the state had 50 applicants and funded the top 16. Paynesville was ranked 22nd. The city's consultant and grant writer believes the city has a better chance of receiving the grant next year and has offered to re-submit the grant application at no charge.

*The council also approved a final plat for Morningside Addition Plat Four, which consists of 14 lots on 6.41 acres located on the east end of Paynesville. (See srelated story.)

*The council approved plans and specifications for street and utility improvements in Ampe Morning-side Addition Plat Four. Improvements would include extending Maywood Avenue 600 feet south with a sidewalk on the west side and extending sewer, water, and stormwater lines to the new lots.

The developers will pay for the street and utility improvements.

*The council approved a development agreement for Ampe Morningside Addition Plat Four with Peter and Paul Ampe.

*The council approved a final plat for Wilglo Acres Plat Four for Willie Scheel. The new plat, which is located on the west end of the city, consists of four lots and two oulots totaling 6.24 acres. (See related story.)

*The council heard a verbal report from Helget regarding the "Welcome to Paynesville" signs that had to be removed because of weather damage. The company that made the signs will repair one and replace two at no cost. The repair will be made within the month and one sign will be replaced by July. The third sign will be replaced by summer of 2006.

*The council reviewed a comprehensive plan for the proposed Krueger Lake Nature Preserve. The plan outlines how the property could be used, the types of structures that may be erected - from shelters to nesting boxes for ducks - and how the preserve should be managed.

*The council heard a verbal report regarding the Paynesville Area Health Care System from Kirk Johnson, chief financial officer.

*The council approved refuse licenses for West Central Sanitation, Inc., and for Onyx Waste Services Midwest, Inc.

*The council approved a 3.2 on-sale beer license for Koronis Lanes.

*The council approved a forgivable $2,500 Tri-Cap loan for Matt Brauchler to apply toward the down payment and closing costs on a home at 310 Maywood Avenue.

*The council approved sending Helget and any interested members of the airport commission to the 2005 Minnesota Airport Symposium on Wednesday, April 13, at a cost of $135 per person plus hotel accommodations of $68 per night plus tax and mileage.

*The council approved sending Helget and any interested city council members to the League of Minnesota Cities State of the Cities Legislative Conference on Thurs-day, March 31, for $75 per person.

*The council approved sending four city employees to attend the League of Minnesota Cities Safety and Loss Control Workshop on Wednesday, April 6, at the cost of $20 per person.

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