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Paynesville Press - July 19, 2006

City council holds meeting

By Melissa Andrie

The Paynesville City Council took the following actions at their meeting on Wednesday, July 12.

*The council was informed that Renee Eckerly will start as city administrator on Monday, July 24. The council would like to meet with her on Monday, July 31, to set two-, four-, and six-month priorities.

*The council approved an economic development loan agreement providing a five-year $150,000 loan at five percent interest to Quad-L of Paynesville, in conjunction with Paynesville Township. The city is lending $50,000, while the township is providing $100,000.

The council also approved a resolution allowing a business subsidy to Quad-L, the partnership that is purchasing the Quality Checked Plastics building, in connection with the expansion of Louis Industries. This resolution was necessary, because the total amount of the loan is in excess of $100,000. The Quad-L partnership must enter into a lease with Louis Industries, which is required to create at least six new full-time positions paying at least $10.58 per hour and make capital investments of at least $570,000.

*The city heard an update on the 2006 street project. Curb, gutter, and gravel work is finished, and sidewalks are now being done. Paving - which can be done in conjunction with work on the sidewalks - may occur this week.

The council was also informed that acting city administrator Ron Mergen spoke with residents on the west side of Pomeroy Avenue about the council's decision earlier this month to install a sidewalk there and apologized for not giving the residents more time for input. An inspector from the city's engineering firm spoke with one resident Mergen did not contact.

*The council was informed that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency opened a public comment period on the city's wastewater treatment facility on Friday, June 30, which will continue until Monday, July 31. The city's permit for the sewer system expired at the end of August 2005.

Comments must be received by 4:30 p.m. on Monday, July 31. They should be submitted to Stephanie Handeland; Municipal Division; Minnesota Pollution Control Agency; 520 Lafayette Road N.; St. Paul, MN 55155.

*The council appointed Paul Bugbee, Matt Dickhausen, John Janotta, Steve Peterson, and Joe Voss to the Paynesville Area Charitable Trust Fund Board. The board was created by the Ad Hoc Public Charitable Trust Fund Committee, which has looked at different options for charitable giving in the city and picked this board as the best type.

Now that the board has a council - which can be anywhere from five to 15 members, according to its bylaws - it is entirely independent from the city. It will monitor and encourage giving by residents who want to give back to the community. The council also disbanded the Ad Hoc Public Charitable Trust Fund Committee and the Public Charitable Trust Fund Committee.

*The council approved a variance for St. Stephen's Parish, as the church does not meet the required setback from either Wendell Street or Hudson Street. The improvements will make the church handicapped accessible, with the addition of a ramp and modification of a door. Other changes include the replacement of two other doors, a mailbox, residing, and steps on the south entrance.

*The council was informed of a complaint by six residents about a garage sale on Richmond Street that is occurring many weekends and is preventing them from parking in their normal space. City attorney Bill Spooner will inform the owners of the house where the sales are held that having a sale every weekend is considered commercial business and is not allowable on the property, which is zoned for residential use.

The matter was also referred to the planning commission, which will consider ways to limit garage sales in the city and to regulate the signs used to advertise them.

*The council was informed that no date has been set for the first negotiation meeting with the city employees' union. The council determined to encourage the union representatives to quickly find an acceptable date.

*The council approved a bid of $40,981 from Voss Plumbing and Heating, Inc., to make drainage improvements to Service Road. The only other bid was $45,541.

*The council approved hiring Alex Naujokas as a part-time seasonal maintenance worker, effective Thursday, July 13.

*The council approved declaring a 1997 Lincoln Town Car to be surplus property and advertising for bids with a minimum bid of $5,500. The vehicle was seized during an impaired driving arrest in November 2005.

*The council approved the purchase of cable equipment costing up to $2,865 plus tax and shipping. The equipment includes a new camcorder, laptop, and video software to be used for the local cable channel.

*The council approved a resolution setting a $90 fee for all final plats requiring a review by the Stearns County Highway Depart-ment, which includes all plats abutting a county road. The council was recently informed that the county would be charging this fee to the city and wished to pass the fee on to property owners.

*The council heard that the disruption of James Street last week was due to the installation of a sprinkler system required for the expansion of Queen Bee's Bar and Grill. Washburne Avenue was also disrupted for a sprinkler installation for the Plaza Apartments. Both projects were at the expense of the building owners, though they both have asked for assistance from the Economic Development Authority of Paynesville.

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