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Paynesville Press - June 2, 2005

City council starts planning 2006 street improvements

By Bonnie Jo Hanson

The Paynesville City Council took the following actions at their meeting on Wednesday, May 25.

*The council received its annual audit from Kern, DeWenter, Viere.

The cityıs net assets ­ including cash and capital assets (buildings, equipment, etc,) ­ at the end of 2004 ­ total $17,162,128, up $1,257,797 from 2003. Financially, the city is doing well except for its sewer fund, with income there not keeping up with depreciation, said Loren Viere, who presented the audit to the council. He recommended taking a closer look at sewer rates and consider increasing them to accommodate the rate of depreciation.

*The council approved authorizing public works director Ron Mergen to apply for a Minnesota ReLeaf Grant to purchase 61 trees for the city. The grant is a 50-50 matching grant, with the total price of the project estimated at $13,700. Trees purchased with grant proceeds would be used on city property as well as on private property to replace trees lost due to construction or disease, said Mergen.

*The council heard a verbal report from city engineer Scott Hedlund regarding the 2006 street improvement project.

Hedlundıs proposal includes: rebuilding Augusta Avenue from Main Street to First Street; Koronis Avenue from Main Street to the south end of Koronis Court; the entire length of Koronis Court; South Street from Lake Avenue to approximately 150 feet east of Morningside Avenue; Pomeroy Avenue from Hoffman Street to south Street; Koronis Avenue from Mill Street to Hoffman Street; and Washburne Avenue from Mill Street to Hoffman street. Central Avenue is scheduled for an overlay, and trails are slated along the south right-of-way of Co. Rd. 34 and along the east right-of-way of Lake Avenue from Co. Rd. 34 to First Street.

The total cost of the 2006 street improvement project is estimated at $2.6 million. Preliminary estimates for assessments are $50.72 per linear foot of frontage property on affected streets with side frontage counted as half. The estimated assessment for sanitary sewer service is $850 and the estimated assessment for water main is $950.

Because the estimate was substantially higher than early estimates, the council may consider postponing a portion of the project until 2008 and asked Hedlund to refigure the project price without Augusta Avenue, Koronis Avenue, Koronis Court, and Second Street.

Doing so would push the entire 10-year plan for street improvements back by two years, and the city may not benefit from low interest rates on bonds, said Mergen. The public works committee will consider the option at its next meeting.

*The council discussed addressing an ongoing litter problem around Quality Checked Plastics in the Industrial Park. According to city administrator Steve Helget, the area around the business is littered with plastic scraps that have blown from open piles of material stored on the property.

Cleaning this up before Town and Country Days is important, according to Mayor Jeff Thompson. Then the city could work out an agreement with Quality Check to ensure the problem is addressed on an ongoing basis.

The city first addressed the litter problem at Quality Checked in May 2004, when company owner Stewart Hamilton agreed to begin regularly policing the grounds for litter, installing barriers to keep the plastic scraps from blowing around, and investing in a building or shed for storage, if necessary. The area around the business was relatively neat through last summer, according to secretary Jennifer Welling, who showed photographs of the area in October. However, since winter, the situation has gotten out of hand again, city officials feel.

According to city attorney Bill Spooner, the city does have some legal recourse. By not cleaning their property, Quality Checked is committing a misdemeanor and could be fined, said Spooner. The city could also ­ after holding a hearing ­ clean the area and then assess Quality Checked for the work, he added.

Spooner also told the council that a city ordinance mandates annual inspections of problem areas, which the city has not done at Quality Checked. The council agreed that someone, either the mayor, police chief Kent Kortlever, or Mergen should begin regular inspections to ensure litter is picked up by Town and Country Days.

The council also agreed to ask Hamilton to clean the area for Town and Country Days and then to attend the city council meeting on Wednesday, June 29, to discuss long-range plans for keeping the area cleaner.

*The council approved a temporary street closing on Washburne Avenues, from Mill Street to Main Street by the Gazebo Park, for the Peeperıs Picnic and Car Show on Sunday, June 19, from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.

*The council approved a temporary street closing on James Street, from Washburne Avenue to Lake Avenue, for the kids pedal tractor pull on Tuesday, June 21, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

*The council approved a parade permit for the Paynesville Area Chamber of Commerce for the Town and Country Days parade on Wednesday, June 22, starting at 7 p.m.

*The council approved a partnership with the Stearns County Sheriffıs Department to obtain a grant to upgrade to the 800 MHZ radio system for local emergency services. According to Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner, by participating in the grant with the county, the city would be require to make little or no investment.

*The council approved a TriCAP deferred loan of $2, 500 for Chad and Kerry Warmbold for a home on Maywood Avenue. The loan, forgivable over five years, can be used to assist with a down payment and closing costs.

*The council approved accepting the resignation of DuDonne Andrie as the cityıs motor vehicle clerk, effective Friday, May 27, and filling her position.

*The council approved appointing Tim and Val Miller to the ad hoc enhancement committee. *The city approved hiring John Levon as a part-time summer maintenance worker.

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