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Paynesville Press - June 15, 2005

City Council approves revised 2006 Street Improvement Project

By Michael Jacobson

The Paynesville City Council took the following actions at their meeting on Wednesday, June 8.

*The council approved a revised 2006 Street Improvement Project and set a public hearing for Wednesday, July 13, at 6:30 p.m.

City engineer Scott Hedlund revised the project since May. It is now proposed to include: rebuilding South Street (from Lake Avenue about 150 feet east of Morningside Avenue); rebuilding Pomeroy Avenue (from Highway 23 to South Street); rebuilding Koronis Avenue (from Highway 23 to Mill Street); rebuilding Washburne Avenue (from Highway 23 to Mill Street); and overlaying Central Avenue.

Rebuilding Augusta Avenue (from Main Street to First Street), Koronis Court, and Koronis Avenue (from Main Street to Koronis Court) are now planned for 2008, not 2006.

The revised 2006 Street Improvement Project is expected to cost $1.212 million, of which $468,594 is planned to be assessed against property owners along these streets. Proposed assessment rates for the 2006 project are: $50.24 per linear foot for rebuilding; $13.82 per linear foot for overlaying; $850 for sanitary sewer; and $950 for water main.

*The council held an hour-long public hearing about a proposal by Dan Binsfeld to annex 64 acres (next to the Industrial Park) and develop 24 acres south of the Crow River for residential housing. The property is identified as industrial in the city's comprehensive plan. Binsfeld has an option to purchase the property and requested the hearing to learn if it would be rezoned.

During the public hearing, the council heard opinions from several neighboring business owners in the Industrial Park, who felt that the property should be zoned for industrial use and were concerned that residential development would interfere with their businesses. Industrial shops operate around the clock, they noted, and they feared interference into their business operations by residents and a deterrent to future industrial development in the area.

Binsfeld countered that residential homes already exist in the area, that the Industrial Park is already surrounded by residential developments, and that his plan for 30 to 45 houses on the southern 24 acres of the property would better the town. The current owners of the property, Peter and Paul Ampe, representing a trust fund, said that Binsfeld's offer was the first serious one they had received for the property.

Most of the city council members seemed to agree that industrial development would be the best choice for the property, but if this was not going to happen, then residential development should be considered. Council member Jeff Bertram suggested a desire to have a general meeting of PayDelCo to see if that organization would want to purchase the property for an industrial development. Binsfeld offered to allow PayDelCo to purchase it if they wanted to develop it as an industrial area.

The council tabled a decision about the issue until its meeting on Wednesday, July 29. They also directed city administrator to get information from other prospective developers in that area to inquire about their plans and if they included plans for residential areas.

*The council approved setting a public hearing for Wednesday, June 29, at 6:30 p.m. to consider granting Housing and Redeveloping Authority (HRA) to the Economic Development Authority of Paynes-ville (EDAP). The existing powers granted to EDAP, city attorney Bill Spooner told the council, does not specifically include HRA, though EDAP has the power to own property, sell and lease property, and issue revenue bonds.

EDAP is considering a 16-unit rental housing project in the WilGlo Acres Addition. EDAP has scheduled a public hearing for that proposed project on Wednesday, July 6, at 5:30 p.m.

*The council approved a payment of $210,353.67 to Randy Kramer Excavating for work completed on the city's sewer pond project.

*The council received an update on Stearns County's effort to switch to an 800 MHZ radio system. Contrary to earlier information, the city would now have to cover 25 percent of the costs of the transition, estimated at $39,123 for the police department (with the city share being $9,778) and over $50,000 for the fire department (with the local share being round $13,000).

This more-powerful radio system would be compatible with the Minnesota State Patrol and participating in the county-wide project would make local law enforcement compatible with the county. But Meeker and Kandiyohi are not on the 800 MHZ radio system yet, and the grant would not cover the public works department, meaning the police department would need to keep their current radios to communicate with city staff.

Eventually, the entire state is expected to switch to the 800 MHZ radio system.

*The council approved not waiving the monetary limits for tort liability established by Minnesota state statutes. The city is preparing to renew its insurance policies with the League of Minnesota Cities Trust. According to state statute, the city's liability is limited to $300,000 per individual claimant and $1,000,000 per incident.

*The council approved a gambling permit for St. Louis Catholic Church to hold bingo on Sunday, Aug. 7.

*The council approved a step increase for police officer Chuck Buggs following his satisfactory yearly performance review.

*The council approved a new ordinance dealing with soliciters in the city. The main change was reducing the licensing fee for soliciters from $250 to $100, which should still cover the costs for background investigations by the Paynesville Police Department.

*The council approved having public works director Ron Mergen attend the annual meeting of the Minnesota Water Operators Association from July 26-29 in Marshall, Minn.

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