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Paynesville Press - May 4, 2005

City considers another cable franchise

By Bonnie Jo Hanson

The Paynesville City Council took the following actions at their meeting on Wednesday, April 27.

*The council heard a presentation from Gene South, CEO of Lakedale Communications, regarding a possible cable franchise with Lakedale. The city has been considering a proposal from Lakedale to begin offering digital cable through a video operating system and appointed a subcommittee to oversee negotiations. (See related story.)

A public hearing is scheduled on Tuesday, May 10, at 6 p.m. at city hall where residents will be able to hear about the Lakedale proposal and ask questions regarding the proposed service. In addition, the hearing will give Mediacom officials an opportunity to learn about the Lakedale proposal and to comment.

*The council approved allowing the ad hoc public charitable trust fund committee to pursue getting 501(c)(3) status and establishing a board of directors that would operate independently of the city.

*The council approved inviting the Minnesota Design Team to Paynesville to give tips on city development.

*The council approved a temporary street closing on Washburne Avenue by the Gazebo Park on Friday, May 13, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for field day at Paynesville Area Elementary School. *The council approved not compensating city employees for on-call hours beyond what they had already been paid before the city changed its on-call pay policy. In 2004, the city was notified by the state that its method for paying employees for on-call time was improper.

After changing how employees will be compensated for on-call time, the city estimated that employees were due $81,200. Employee representatives assured the city that the employees weren't expecting the back-pay, as they felt they were fairly compensated per the terms of their employment agreements.

*The council approved the continuing service of J&M consulting - consisting of council member Jeff Bertram and his wife Marlene - for the Lake Koronis Recreational Trail at a rate of $25 per hour, not to exceed $5,000 for 2005.

*The council approved a $5,940 bid from J.B. Wimmer Landscaping for replacing four downtown planters. *The council approved making an annual $1,500 donation to the Initiative Foundation, an organization that provides grants for community development.

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