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Paynesville Press - August 30, 2006

Council approves plat, discusses Highway 23 concern

By Michael Jacobson

The Paynesville City Council took the following actions at their meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 23.

*The council approved sending a letter to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) expressing safety concerns about a possible change to the proposed Highway 23 improvements in Paynesville. Under a revised plan, a reconfigured Cemetery Road would not be built all the way to Roseville Road. Instead, it would end at the airport, and the airport driveway would be used to route traffic to the existing Cemetery Road.

Council concerns include using a nonplatted five-ton driveway for heavy traffic and creating an intersection for all this traffic on Cemetery Road.

Without knowing where the new Cemetery Road will go, the second section of the Lake Koronis Recreational Trail - connecting the city to the Glacial Lakes State Trail and following Cemetery Road - cannot be built this fall, said councilor Jeff Bertram, also a consultant for the trail.

*The council also heard from Bertram that the bids for the section of the Lake Koronis Recreational Trail from the city to the city beach were opened - but not yet approved by the county - last week and were less ($301,000) than estimated ($385,000). A DNR grant for $95,000 is also likely for this section of trail, to be built this fall.

*The council approved a wastewater facility plan prepared by city engineer firm Bolton & Menk. The plan addresses the additional capacity needed for local industries and future growth of the city and also takes into account the loss of 260 acres of irrigation land by the proposed Highway 23 improvements.

The best options - also the cheapest - are to install additional aeration equipment in the current aeration pond to handle the current and future waste loadings and to built three 3.3-acre rabid infiltratin basins to replace the irrigation capacity to be lost by the highway project. The cost of the project is estimated at $1.4 million.

In addition to the $117,900 per year to retire these capital costs (assuming five percent interest), the additions to the system would add $90,000 per year in operation and maintenance costs.

The next step for the city is to negotiate with the largest sewer users in the city - AMPI and MasterMark Plastics - about the plan and how it meets their needs.

*The council heard report about the proposed 14-acre Ampe Park, which would be built on the east end of the city. The current total cost for improvements - including roads, parking lot, water and sewer, playgrounds, tot lots, shelters, restrooms, trails, basketball court, sand volleyball, horseshoe pits, frisbee golf, sandlot ballfield, picnic equipment, and soccer field - totals $443,650. Mergen told the council that the park committee wants to get public input about the park.

Bertram asked Mergen and the park committee to prepare an overall park plan, in conjunction with the school and the township.

*The council approved a payment of $147,943.69 to R.L. Larson Excavating for work completed on the current street project through the end of July. The council was told by city engineer Chuck DeWolf that substantial completion of the project is due by Thursday, Aug. 31.

*The council heard a report from public works director Ron Mergen concerning the city's irrigation from its sewer ponds. The city recently received a five-year permit renewal for the sewer system from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. As part of that permit, the city must monitor all sources of nitrogen and sodium applied, and application rates will be determined byt the nutrient uptake of the crop.

The city also will raise its per-acre charge for irrigation by $1 per year for the next five years. The current rate was set in 1986 when the irrigation was installed.

*The council set a special closed city council meeting for Monday, Aug. 28, at 5:30 p.m. to discuss labor negotiation strategies. The city is currently negotiating with three new unions of city employees. Their next meeting with the unions is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 6.

*The council set their annual truth-in-taxation hearing for Wednesday, Dec. 6, at 6 p.m., with continuance, if needed, on Wednesday, Dec. 13, also at 6 p.m.

*The council approved a final plat for Heather Plat 3, a 34-lot plat (including two outlots) on 20.39 acres on the east side of town. Two lots are owned by Chris and Krista Dombrovski, while the remaining lots are owned by developers Keith and Mary Dombrovski and James and Mary Meyer. The development includes two cul-de-sac streets off an extension of South Street.

The council also approved ordering plans for improvements for the develop to be prepared and a developer's agreement with the parties, which limits the assessments to $9,000 per lot with interest-free deferment for five years. The cost estimates for the planned improvements - streets, sewer and water lines, stormwater sewer and pond, and curb and gutter - is estimated at $630,900, which figures to a $19,715 assessment per lot.

The city agreed to cap and defer the assessments because the developers agreed to annex the development to the city due to its proximity to the city wells and location in the city's wellhead protection area.

The developers also will play $23,223 in deferred assessments - one third after the sale of each of the first three lots - for parkland dedication, for a lift station previously installed by the city, and for street lighting.

The city has also decided to fund this project out of its reserves and not to bond for it.

*The council approved setting a variance hearing for Philip and Bonnie Bailey, who want to construct a 10' by 10' deck on the front of their house, for Wednesday, Sept. 27, at 6:30 p.m. The setback requirement is 20 feet, but the deck would only be 11.5 feet from Koronis Avenue, thus requiring a variance.

*The council approved a refuse license for Rapid Container Services, Inc., of Sauk Rapids from August 2006 to March 2007. The fee is $50.

*The council approved a step increase for deputy registrar Alice McColley, following the successful completion of her annual review.

*The council approved having police chief Kent Kortlever attend the 2006 Minnesota State TRIAD Conference in Alexandria in September. Registration is $65.

*The council approved sending McColley to the Minnesota Deputy Registrar's Association annual meeting in St. Cloud in September. Registration is $20.

*The council approved allowing city employee Bob Wander attend a tree inspector recertification workshop in Morris in September. Registration is $85.

*The council approved having McColley and city employee Belinda Ludwig attend the fall deputy registrar/driver license agent seminar in October in Redwood Falls. There is no registration cost.

*The council approved paying Zimmerman Computer Consulting $579 for work and equipment purchases for city hall and the police department. Councilor Dennis Zimmerman abstained.

*The council was informed that council members need to complete training in incident command by the end of September in order for the city to receive federal grants. Council members will need to take the training and testing online.

*The council reviewed goals and priorities of the city council, as tabulated by new city administrator Renee Eckerly. The council will set a meeting after Labor Day to further refine its goals and priorities.

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