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Paynesville Press - July 6, 2005

City Council discusses annexation

By Michael Jacobson

The Paynesville City Council took the following actions at their meeting on Wednesday, June 29.

*The board discussed a proposed annexation of 230 acres to the north side of Paynesville and authorized city attorney Bill Spooner to draft an annexation agreement.

The two parcels (144 acres and 86 acres) have been purchased by Ferche Development, LLC, which plans to develop the property in phases over 10 to 15 years. Jason Ferche of Rice presented a rough concept plan - including residential, commercial, and industrial - to the city at the meeting. He expressed a willingness to work with the city on the development plan.

The annexation agreement will be modeled on the agreement for the Ampe Morningside Addition, which allowed all the property to be annexed from the township but the township would get to keep the present tax revenue from the property until city services (water and sewer) are provided. After city services are provided, the township would keep 90 percent of the original tax revenue for the property the next year, 70 percent the second year, 50 percent the third, 30 percent the fourth, and 10 percent the fifth year.

Board chairman Don Pietsch represented the township at the city council meeting.

*The council voted 4-1 to inform Dan Binsfeld that the city would follow its comprehensive plan and not allow the rezoning of a 64-acre parcel next to the Industrial Park to residential. Mayor Jeff Thompson, councilor Jeff Bertram, councilor Tom Lindquist, and councilor Dennis Zimmerman voted in favor, while councilor Jean Soine voted against it.

Binsfeld had approached the city with a plan to purchase this property and use it for a residential development with 30 to 45 lots south of the river. He would need to have the property rezoned to do this.

His plan to put residential homes next to the Industrial Park was opposed by a number of business owners in the Industrial Park, who argued that the around-the-clock nature of industrial businesses was incompatible with residential development. It would not only be a deterrent to future industrial development, but business owners feared residential development would interfere with their business operations.

*The council was presented with an updated assessment roll for the 2006 Improvement Project. Due to less frontage footage in the project area (rebuilding portions of Koronis Avenue, Pomeroy Avenue, South Street, and Washburne Avenue and overlaying Central Avenue), the preliminary assessment rates have risen to $54.15 per foot for rebuilding and to $28.93 per foot for overlaying.

The council will hold a public hearing on the proposed street assessments on Wednesday, July 13, at 6:30 p.m.

*The council approved changing the enabling resolution for EDAP to include HRA authority. EDAP is considering a project to build rental townhomes in the Wilglo Acres Addition. (A public hearing on the proposed project will be held on Wednesday, July 6, at 5:30 p.m.)

*The council reviewed a debt management study by Northland Securities with vice president Monte Eastvold. The city has 12 outstanding bond issues, totalling $4.7 million in principal and $0.925 million in interest for a total debt of $5.625 million, to be paid over the next 15 years. Over 90 percent of that debt is scheduled to be paid off in the next ten years, which is good, said Eastvold, who praised the city for its sound financial planning.

The bond issues - most for street projects, including sewer and water lines - are repaid through existing balances ($2.1 million) sewer and water rates ($1.88 million), special assessments ($1.43 million), and tax levies ($0.8 million). Of the 12 bond issues, only three indicate a deficit in the last year or two of the issue.

*The board discussed a plan by the public works department to reduce parking on Burr Street during ball games. Safety concerns have been raised when cars park on both sides of the street and then pedestrians cross the street. The city looked at several options to make it safer, including asking players and coaches to park in high school lots to have fewer vehicles on Burr Street.

The police and the city attorney advised against not allowing parking on Burr Street during games, which would be hard to enforce. Instead, the city plans to create no-parking zones by the intersections (for better visibility) and to mark crosswalks in the intersections.

*The council approved hiring Alice McColley as the motor vehicle clerk, effective Thursday, July 14. McColley was selected from 60 applicants to replace DuDonne Andrie, who took a job at the hospital.

*The board was informed of a provisional appointment by city administrator Steve Helget of cable coordinator Alice Nyhlen to assist at city hall this summer for a maximum of 25 hours per week.

*The council approved a seal coat bid of $11,460 from Caldwell Asphalt to seal coat Diekman Drive and Burr Street. It was the only bid.

*The council approved a $2,500 deferred loan, forgivable over five years if residence is maintained, to Amy Block and Jon Kulzer, who are buying a Tri-CAP home on Maywood Avenue.

*The council approved paying Zimmerman Computer Consulting $647.50 for 20.75 hours of work. Zimmerman abstained.

*The council approved advertising 8,000 feet of ring lock pipe as surplus property with a minimum bid of $1.50 per foot. The pipe is not needed now that the city's irrigation project is complete, public works director Ron Mergen told the board. The city, he said, may have to sell the pipe in chunks.

*The council approved re-advertising 3,500 yards of top soil at the new airport as surplus property. The city previously advertised for bids on the top soil in May but did not receive a bid.

*The council discussed the clean up at Quality Checked Plastics in the Industrial Park with Stewart Hamilton of Quality Checked, who acknowledged some problems, said the company was working on solutions, and thanked the city for being welcoming to recycling manufacturers, saying that everybody believes in recycling but few are willing to have it in their backyard.

*The council approved a gambling renewal application for the Paynesville-New London-Spicer Hockey Association to have pull tabs at Queen Bee's Bar and Grill.

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