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Paynesville Press - April 19, 2006

Paynesville Township approves police contract

By Michael Jacobson

The Paynesville Township Board of Supervisors took the following actions at their meeting on Monday, April 10.

•The board approved a one-year contract with the Paynesville Police Department for 1,200 hours of police protection from April 11, 2006, to April 10, 2007. The 2006 contract calls for a cost to the township of $38,611 for 1,200 hours, a rate of $32.18 per hour. It represents an increase of nearly eight percent in the contract cost.

Board chairman Don Pietsch questioned the cost increases to the township, especially with the addition of a fifth police officer. (This officer was schedule to be hired in July 2006 but has temporarily been delayed by the unionization proposal by city employees, which has prompted a temporary hiring freeze.) When hired, this officer will also increase the police department costs, further raising the township's share of the police contract.

Pietsch had contacted the Stearns County Sheriff's Department and was told that minimal patroling was being done in the township by the county, since the township contracts for police protection. If the police contract goes up eight percent for the next three years, that would represent at least a 24 percent increase in that expense for the township, concluded Pietsch, who wondered if this was too much.

Supervisor Pat Meagher said he wished the price was lower but wholeheartedly backed contracting for local police service. The Paynes-ville Police Department, he noted, is five minutes from anywhere in the township. No one has asked him for less police protection, he added.

One of the reasons for the fifth officer would be to have virtually 24-hour, seven-day-a-week coverage from the local police department, which Meagher said would make the added expense worth it.

One suggestion by Pietsch was to reduce the hours the township contracts from the city and get more coverage from the county. All three supervisors agreed that the county should be providing sheriff coverage in the township anyway.

Since the Paynesville Police Department would still be closer, they will receive the brunt of calls from the dispatcher for events in the township, noted police chief Kent Kortlever, even if the sheriff's department patrols more in the township. It would not be fair for the police department to continue to handle the bulk of calls and have the reimbursement cut, he added.

Having a fifth officer would also increase the coverage time in the township by 300 hours per year (from 1,200 hours per year to 1,500 hours per year), said Kortlever.

Since this is the last year under the current five-year contract with the city for police protection, the township board agreed to sign the contract for this year and look to renegotiate the structure of the contract over the next year, including getting input at next year's annual meeting.

If the city is growing (more new developments) and the township is shrinking (losing land to annexations to the city), the solution might be for the township to bear a smaller portion of the cost for police protection, the board agreed.

•The board discussed paving Roseville Road with developers Dennis Spaulding and Earl Stang, represented by Dan Binsfeld, who are proposing a new development along the Crow River in Section 18. Binsfeld explained again that they would like to have nicer lots and have a paved road connection to the new development. He asked if the board would be willing to approach Roseville Township again about paving this road.

Pietsch said he had contacted MnDOT about the road and with the proposed Highway 23 improvements MnDOT would pave the northern portion of this road, but not all the way to the intersection with Cemetery Road. Paynesville Township, in the past, had proposed to Roseville Township to pave the road from Highway 23 to Highway 55, he added.

Roseville Road is actually a Rose-ville Township Road, though Paynesville Township splits costs for it.

The board agreed to approach Roseville Township again about paving this road. If not, only a portion of the road could be paved to provide a paved linked to the new development.

•The board approved an annexation request from Keith and Mary Dombrovski and James and Mary Meyer of 20.39 acres in Section 15 of Paynesville Township. Keith Dombrovski explained that the annexation was being done in order to connect to city water and sewer. The township asked that the same type of agreement be used between the city and township, which returns tax money to the township for a period of years following annexation, with tax money returning to the township until city services are extended to the property.

•The board approved a final plat for Koronis Hills Estate Second Addition for Kevin and Tamara Wall, who divided their 10-acre property in Section 21 into two five-acre lots.

•The board approved a variance for Dennis Doncaster, following a public hearing with no comments except for Doncaster. Doncaster is building a new home 40 feet from the centerline of Cliffwood Road, while the township zoning ordinance requires a setback of 63 feet. The board approved a variance for him to build 23 feet closer than normally allowed, which is one foot further from the road than his present house.

•The board approved a township EDAP loan of $50,000 to Queen Bee's Bar and Grill, for five years at seven percent interest, for Queen Bee's expansion project.

•The board approved advertising a public hearing to vacate a road in North Town on a lot owned by Nate Bork if needed.

•The board was reminded of their annual equalization meeting - for township residents to question the assessed values of their properties - on Thursday, April 20, starting at 2:30 p.m. Township residents can make an appointment - in 15-minute intervals - by calling the township office at 243-7500 that morning from 9 a.m. to 12 noon.

•The board recessed the meeting in order to hold their annual road inspection on Saturday, April 15.

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