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Paynesville Press - April 19, 2006

City Council has marathon meeting

By Michael Jacobson

The Paynesville City Council took the following actions at their meeting on Wednesday, April 12.

•The council appointed Cory Hoppe to the city's cable committee, replacing Kevin Koglin, who resigned.

•The council discussed the future of South Street Park with a group of interested neighbors, who wanted to express their support for the small city park. The park committee and the council reiterated that neither have made a decision about the future of the park yet. The city is looking at its park options on the east side of town, especially in light of the proposed 14-acre Ampe Park. Full story

Several residents in that area spoke about how much they use and value the park in the neighborhood.

•The council approved altering the design of South Street, which is being rebuilt as part of the 2006 Street Improvement Project, by moving the street and sidewalk three feet to the north. A number of citizens of South Street petitioned the city council to remove the sidewalk from South Street. The council opted to keep the sidewalk but moved it three feet to the north in an attempt to affect landowners on the south side less.

•The council approved a record of decision for the Environmental Assessment Worksheet for the North Paynesville Development, concluding that an Environmental Impact Statement would not be needed for the proposed development.

•The council approved the annexation of 20.39 acres of property owned by Keith and Mary Dombrovski and James and Mary Meyer, which follows the same schedule for returning the current township taxes to the township: 90 percent the first year, 70 percent the second, 50 percent the third; 30 percent the fourth; and 10 percent the fifth, with the rate frozen if city sewer and water are not extended to the property by the end of the second year.

The city sought this annexation because the lots lie within the city's wellhead protection area.

The council also asked the public works committee to take another look at the need for sidewalk on Pomeroy Avenue.

•The council approved a $2,000 payment to the Minnesota Design Team, which has agreed to make a return visit to Paynesville in the spring of 2007. The total cost of their visit is $4,000, with the other half to be paid right before the visit.

The council was also holding a special meeting on Monday, April 17, with its design team committee and the Central Minnesota Initiative Fund about participating in their healthy communities program, which would help the city prepare for the visit and provide opportunities for grants.

•The council was updated on the city's efforts to provide information to the Bureau of Mediation Services concerning interest by city employees to unionize. City attorney Bill Spooner told the council that both sides seem to want to agree on groupings of city workers, most likely administration, essential workers, and non-essential workers.

After groupings are agreed upon, or decided by the bureau if the city and employees do not agree, then each group would vote on whether to unionize or not.

•The council was informed by Mayor Jeff Thompson that four applicants for the vacant city administrator position are being screened. Another candidate has withdrawn. The council is looking at interviewing these four candidates on Wednesday, May 3, and directed Thompson to contact the candidates to see if they could come that night (or Tuesday, May 2, as a back-up).

•The council approved a final plat for Ampe Morningside Addition Plate Five, which includes 18 lots.

•The council was informed that the city wants to add a gravity line to correct inaccurate readings of wastewater from the AMPI plant. The city has agreed to pay for 75 percent of this project out of fines that AMPI has paid excess waste, with AMPI covering the other 25 percent.

•The council approved a new record retention schedule for the city, adopting the policy prepared by the Minnesota Historical Society.

•The council tabled a proposal by EDAP to print 5,000 maps of the Paynesville community for the cost of $3,425. Councilor Dennis Zimmerman wondered if 5,000 would really be utilized before going out of date and at what rate the maps are used.

Councilors Jeff Bertram and Jean Soine said that there was a price break for 5,000 copies - the Press is the vendor for the maps - and said they would check at the next EDAP meeting about the options for the number of maps to be printed. This could be brought back to the council at their next meeting on Wednesday, April 26.

•The council approved a deferred loan of $2,500 to Darin Voeks, who is purchasing a Tri-CAP home on Coakley Street. The loan is forgivable ($500 per year) over five years.

•The council approved spending $1,700 for the Paynesville Area Water Festival on Friday, May 12. The event - for fifth graders at Paynesville Area Elementary School - promotes water awareness, including the water cycle, fish, groundwater, pollution, etc. It is part of the city's wellhead protection efforts by educating students about water.

•The council approved invoices to SEH for $14,508.70 for attorney fees during the condemnation process for the airport property. The council had tabled this bill at their last meeting but approved them, having received detailed invoices.

•The council approved declaring a 1996 Dodge Neon, acquired by the Paynesville Police Department as the result of DWI forfeiture, as surplus property and authorized advertising for bids.

•The council approved allowing police chief Kent Kortlever attend ing the two-day crime-free multi-housing training in Mankato on May 10 and 11. The cost is $40 plus two nights of lodging.

•The council discussed advertising for the liquor store, in particular what should be advertised at city hall. Councilor Jeff Bertram had raised the idea of promoting specials at city hall. If the council is going to operate a business, it should try to make money doing so or reconsider having a liquor store.

Other council members expressed reluctance to advertise specials at city hall, due to the mixed message they felt it would send to drivers coming to the motor vehicle department. Advertising store hours and location would be acceptable, they felt, but not promoting specific drinks and brands.

•The council approved a variance for Austin and Tammy Nichols, whose house on Liberty Street currently does not meet the current 20-foot setback. They are planning a 48' by 34' addition, which will only be 13 feet from the street.

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