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Paynesville Press - July 5, 2006

Council approves sidewalk for Pomeroy Avenue

By Melissa Andrie

The Paynesville City Council took the following actions at their meeting on Tuesday, June 27.

*The council approved putting a sidewalk on the west side of Pomeroy Avenue, with the understanding that residents of the street will be contacted with explanation of the action. The west side originally had a sidewalk, then it was moved to the east side because of resident concerns that it was not being used enough to warrant loss of their lawn space and that the somewhat diagonal crossing of Highway 23 that it caused was dangerous.

Now, however, concerns have been brought up by Voss Plumbing and Heating and the police department that having the sidewalk on the east is a danger to pedestrians, due to the traffic from H.D. Voss Truck Sales and Voss Plumbing and Heating.

During the report on the street project, the council also learned that the curbs and gutters would be finished last week and that driveways and sidewalks would be done this week and next week, after which paving will occur. The street project is currently ahead of schedule.

*The council approved waiving the trunk fees for Heatherwood Plat Three, submitted by Keith Dombrovski, on a 3-1 vote. The plat was being planned when those fees were enacted and the city requested the annexation, in order to protect the city well fields, so the council had previously approved splitting the water fees with the developer. Dombrovski told the council that in order for him to move forward with the project, the entire fee would need to be waived.

Councilors Jean Soine, Dennis Zimmerman, and Mayor Jeff Thompson voted to waive the trunk fees, councilor Jeff Bertram was opposed, and councilor Tom Lindquist was absent.

*The council approved an employee agreement between the city and Renee Eckerly for the city administrator position. She is expected to start sometime in July.

*The council approved up to $40,000 for water, sewer, street, and storm sewer installation and the construction of a roadway, parking lot, and walkway for the Ampe Park to be located near Maywood Avenue. The council also plans to have a full evaluation conducted of all city parks.

*The council approved paying 95 percent of a $50,530 bill for a manhole project at AMPI and the paving of Railroad Street. Five percent of the bill was withheld because the council wished to check with the contractor on apparent unevenness of the street.

*The council approved purchasing a riding lawn tractor from Paynesville Equipment to water the hanging flower baskets during the summer months. The city currently owns the water tank that will be used, but it is a complex watering process that is difficult to explain to short-term volunteers. With the new tractor, the deck can be removed and the process will be much simpler.

Robert McDaniel has been volunteering a couple of hours daily to water the flowers, which were bought with funds raised at the enhancement committee's wine-tasting event. The city will be interested in getting volunteers to help share that task, perhaps with community members each volunteering to water them one week.

*The council approved the fire department's 2005 audit after hearing a report from department representatives. When assets equal $200,000 or more, the state requires annual audits. Projections for the end of the year suggest that the fire department will have assets of $456,108, with a surplus of $83,085.

*The council set a public hearing for a variance request by P.C. and Beverly Johnson for Wednesday, July 26, at 6:30 p.m. A detached shed the Johnsons wish to build at their residence on Belmont Street exceeds the height limit of 16 feet, as it may reach 19 feet tall.

*The council approved a revised refund policy for building permits. According to the new policy, if a building permit fee was paid incorrectly or paid for a project later cancelled, the fee will be refunded, minus state surcharges paid and 35 percent of the fee or $100, whichever is less. That amount is to be kept by the city for processing fees.

Previously, the amount kept by the city was a straight percentage, and it was found that processing fees were less than the percentage-calculated portion retained from larger fees.

*The council approved amended trunk fees for sanitary sewer, water main, and storm water management. The fees now exclude areas dedicated to wetlands, storm water ponds, and parkland.

*The council appointed Dennis Zimmerman as an alternate to the negotiation committee in case a member of the committee cannot attend negotiation sessions with the city employee's union. Those meetings could begin at the end of July.

*The council received a letter from the Stearns County Highway Department regarding a new $90 fee for all plat review comments generated by the department and decided to verify that any plat incurring such a fee will have the fee passed on to the owner.

*The council approved a bid from Paynesville Excavating in the amount of $1.31 per yard for purchase of the surplus fill material located at the city ponds. A bid of $1.25 per yard from Voss Plumbing and Heating, Inc. was also received for the 3,000 yards of material.

*The council approved a five-year rental agreement with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, which leases the council chambers on Thursdays for driver's license testing. This agreement is for $6,840 total over five years, an increase from the $5,200 agreement previously in effect.

*The council approved an agreement between the city, the Paynesville Historical Society, and the Minnesota Historical Society transferring old Paynesville Library minute books and ledgers to the Paynesville Historical Society. The ledgers, which date from May 15, 1908 to Dec. 31, 1991, will be preserved and made available by the historical society.

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