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Paynesville Press - July 20, 2005

Council approves preparation of street improvement plans

By Michael Jacobson

The Paynesville City Council took the following actions at their meeting on Wednesday, July 13.

*The council approved sending a letter of comment to MnDOT about the proposed Highway 23 bypass. The council unanimously supported the west alignment alternative in its letter and reiterated its unwillingness to waive the requirement for the highway to touch the city limits, something that the far west alignment does not do. Comments on the draft EIS are due by Thursday, July 21. Complete story

*The council approved ordering the preparation of plans for the 2006 Street Improvement Project following a 50-minute public hearing about the proposed assessments. The project would include rebuilding Koronis Avenue (from Highway 23 to Mill Street); rebuilding Washburne Avenue (from Highway 23 to Mill Street); rebuilding Pomeroy Avenue (from Highway 23 to South Street); rebuilding the western two-thirds of South Street; and overlaying the south end of Central Avenue.

The preliminary assessment rates - which will not be finalized until the fall of 2006, after the project has been bid and substantially completed - are $54.15 per foot for rebuilding and to $28.93 per foot for overlaying. Property owners also will be assessed $850 for sanitary sewer lines and $950 for water lines (with larger amounts for larger pipes).

The council referred questions raised by the public about the project - whether rear frontages should be assessed; whether to rebuild Washburne Avenue at its current 54-foot width (with the same parking configuration) or narrow it to 42 feet (reducing parking to parallel on both sides but adding footage to the boulevard); whether to build South Street at 32 feet (with a small boulevard between the sidewalk) or at 36 feet (with the sidewalk adjacent to the road); whether Pomeroy Avenue needs a sidewalk; and whether Central Avenue needs an overlay - back to the public works committee.

*The council approved an annexation agreement for 230 acres owned by Ferche Development, Inc., to the north side of the city. As per their verbal agreement with the township, the existing tax base will continue to go to the township until the city provides services (sewer and water) to the property. The developer plans to develop the property in phases over 10 to 15 years.

In the first year after services are provided, the township gets 90 percent of the original tax base; in the second year 70 percent; in the third year 50 percent; in the fourth 30 percent; and in the fifth 10 percent. This is done to discourage the annexation of land not immediately planned for development and to keep the tax base in the township until the city provides services not available in the township. Complete story

*The council approved the sale of a 50' by 125' lot (6,250 sq. ft.) on Minnie Street to the Feed Company for $5,500. The city had acquired this property by tax forfeiture in 1970, said city administrator Steve Helget, and had no public purpose for it. The planned use by the Feed Company is consistent with the city's comprehensive plan, he added.

*The council also reviewed a map of proposed properties to be included in a new orderly annexation agreement with the township and directed city attorney Bill Spooner to draft an agreement using the legal descriptions of these properties.

*The council approved a mutual aid agreement with Stearns County, Benton County, all the police departments in Stearns County, and a few police departments in Benton County. The Paynesville Police Department only has two mutual aid agreements on file - with the Sauk Centre Police Department and the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Department - signed in 1975.

While police departments do respond to mutual aid requests currently, when able, Paynesville Police Chief Kent Kortlever recommended signing the formal agreement. Partners are not required to respond if police protection is needed at the same time in their city. The Paynesville Police Department will need to establish a policy for when to request mutual aid and for when to respond to mutual aid requests, Kortlever told the council.

*The council approved a payment of $49,203.41 to Duinick Brothers for work completed through mid-June on the 2004 Street Improvement Project. This payment includes the final lift of bituminous that was laid this spring. A few items remain on the project, city engineer Scott Hedlund told the council.

*The council approved a permit for the American Legion to have a liquor garden and band on Friday, Aug. 19, from 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., with the band to quit playing at 12 midnight.

*The council approved reducing the letter of credit for Lake Land Villas to $20,875. The city requires a letter of credit in advance of the street construction; it was reduced to reflect work completed so far.

*The council directed Helget to contact members/organizations represented on the city's comprehensive plan committee to help with an application to have the Minnesota Design Team visit in 2006. The council agreed to wait to apply until January 2006 for a visit by the team in the fall of 2006.

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