Public hearing set to discuss Triax sale to Mediacom

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 6/30/99.

The Paynesville City Council approved setting a public hearing for Wednesday, July 14, at 6:30 p.m., to consider the sale of Triax Cablevision to Mediacom at their Wednesday night meeting.

In May, the city was informed by Triax they were selling their cable television operation to Mediacom LLC. Mediacom, with corporate headquarters in Middletown, N.Y., currently serves 360,000 customers in 14 states. Like Triax, Mediacom has selected nonmetropolitan markets in which to operate its cable television systems.

Dennis Wilde, city administrator, and Bill Spooner, city attorney, recom-mended the city contact Brian Grogan of Moss and Barnett, Minneapolis, to join in their analysis of the sale.

"Grogan has the expertise to analyze the new company," Spooner told the council.

Wilde said by doing the analysis, it will put the new company on notice that the city has not been happy with Triax.

Spooner urged the city to hold the hearing as it would enable them to learn more about the new company. "Nobody from Triax will attend, but maybe someone from Mediacom will be here to answer questions," he added.

Veteran's Memorial Park
Ron Mergen, public works director, informed the council the drainfield at the Veteran's Memorial Park was not in compliance with the county sewage treatment ordinance.

"The septic system was installed in 1970 and needs upgrading. We had discussed upgrading the bathrooms and changing rooms, but we might as well start over and look to the future," Mergen said.

Instead of upgrading the present facility, a new shelter would be erected with a kitchen and new bathrooms.

Mergen said the entire project would cost about $50,000.

The septic tanks on the site are adequately sized with precast bottoms. They will be pumped out this summer until a new drainfield can be installed.

Future street projects
Mergen reviewed changes with the council on the proposed street projects. Next year, streets recommended for upgrading are Mill Street from Stearns to Lake Street, Koronis Avenue from Mill Street to Main Street, Augusta Avenue from James Street to River Street, Pomeroy and Garfield north of Highway 23, and James Street from Lake Street east.

Added to the project was seal coating Miller Street, the Chladek Addition, Spruce Street, and Hudson Street.

Added to the 2002 project was the Industrial Loop road (an overlay will be done on the street) and Lake Street from Highway 23 to Highway 55. This project will need to be coordinated with the state as it is a state highway.

In other business:
•The paper work for Louis Industries Tax Increment Finance District and revolving loan fund grant has been completed. The council approved releasing the funds totaling more than $415,000 to Louis Industries.

•The council approved not waiving the monetary limits on their tort liability established by state statutes to the extent of the limits of liability coverage obtained from the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust.

If the city does not waive the statutory limits, an individual claimant would be able to recover no more than $300,000. Total claims for a single occurrence would be limited to $750,000.

If the city waives the limit, a single claimant could potentially recover up to $750,000 per incident.

•The Paynesville American Legion requested the city lower the assessments on the lot between Alco Discount Store and Country Inn.

Wilde informed the council there was a lack of communication and a lack of understanding as to what the assess-ments were on the property prior to its sale to the Legion.

"We were first told the assessments would be about $25,000, then it was upped to $47,807. That makes it a pretty expensive piece of property," Joe Kremer, Legion member, told the council. Kremer checked with the county assessor and taxes on the property will average between $12,000 and $15,000 a year, once the building is completed.

After further discussion, the issue was referred back to the city staff to review to see if it would set a precedent. The issue will be placed on the July 14 agenda.

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