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Paynesville Press - October 4, 2006

City accepts grant
for area trail project

The Paynesville City Council took the following actions at their meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 27.

•The council approved an investigation fee for Inspectron, Inc., (the city's building inspector) to use in cases where a resident does not apply for a building permit before starting construction.

The council set the investigation fee as the same as the permit fee, but not more than $50, in addition to the cost for the building permit.

The council approved the new fee on a 3-2 vote with Mayor Jeff Thompson and councilors Jeff Bertram and Dennis Zimmerman voting in favor and councilors Tom Lindquist and Jean Soine voting against it.

Lindquist opposed the measure because he feels the building code is confusing and people honestly don't know when they need permits. He also said that the city is overcoded and fears that another fee might prompt people to overturn the entire code, which he said would be a mistake.

Following the vote, Bertram moved to reconsider the vote, an unusual procedure, because he said Soine had not expressed any opposition to the matter. He said she owed it to the council and public to make her reasons known.

Soine responded by saying that she thought the fee might anger people, but Bertram said that she had voted for adopting the state building code, which Paynesville is not required to do, and that he did not want her to criticize the council decision.

Thompson explained that the city did opt to adopt the entire state building code, which requires building permits, because the city someday will reach a population of 3,500 when the state building code is mandatory.

Bertram's motion to reconsider the vote died without a second, and the original 3-2 vote carried.

•The council was informed that Inspectron, Inc., the city's building inspector, will be conducting a survey of local contractors and all city residents who have gotten a building permit within the last year.

The city council will hold a joint meeting with the Planning Commission on Wednesday, Nov. 8, to discuss the survey results.

•The council accepted a $95,000 grant from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for the trail from the city to the lake. Along with the $261,000 federal grant, this DNR grant will pay for most of this project, said Bertram, who is a consultant for the trail project. Construction was expected to begin on this trail section on Monday, Oct. 3, with work being done by mid-November at the latest.

Another four miles of trail - from the city to the Glacial Lakes State Trail and around Baywater Road to the south side of Lake Koronis - are scheduled to be built in 2007, Bertram added.

•The council was informed that MnDOT has agreed to restore Cemetery Road and Co. Rd. 130 to its original proposal, city administrator Renee Eckerly told the council, who then agreed that there was no reason for a joint meeting between the city, township, and MnDOT to express concerns about the change. (This proposal included not finishing Cemetery Road and using the airport driveway to connect the new Cemetery Road to the existing road.)

Eckerly also told the council that MnDOT District 8 is still meeting with MnDOT aeronautics about their Highway 23 proposal, though MnDOT District 8 would not discuss this with her.

•The council rescinded a motion from its previous meeting in September to purchase a new tanker truck for the fire department. The council was informed by fireman Roger Torborg and fire chief Jack Winter that the bidder can no longer get 2006 engines and chassis for a truck.

The council rejected all the other bids and authorized the fire department to update its specs and to readvertise its bid proposal.

•The council approved a revised final plat for Heatherwood Plat 3. Originally, the council had approved a final plat for this development on the east end of town in August, but the county raised an issue since one of the outlots was landlocked. This forced a change where one residential lot was added to the outlot to give it street access.

The final plat for the 20-acre development now contains 31 residential lots and two outlots.

The council approved the final plat for this with the inclusion of an easement across one lot to give the city access to the other outlot, where a stormwater pond will be located.

•The council was informed by city engineer Chuck DeWolf that only a few minor checklist items remained for the city's street project this summer (including fixing a bad spot on the trail by Lake Avenue). The city council will hold a final hearing about assessments for the project on Wednesday, Oct. 11, at 6:30 p.m.

•The council was informed that underground utility work in Ampe Morningside Plat 5 was finished and that street construction would start in the private development.

•The council was informed that the city and one of the new employee unions are entering mediation. The city continues to meet with the other unions to negotiate a new contract. The council met in a closed session following their regular meeting to continue discussions about their negotiating strategy.

•The council approved a request from the Paynesville Area Garden Club to utilize land at the BMX Park for garden plots. The park includes four acres and the garden club wants to use an acre or less, said public works director Ron Mergen. Water is available at the site, and for the first year, the city would supply it at no charge, though the garden club, which would charge rent for the plots, hopes to afford fencing and water in the future.

•The council approved a variance for Phil and Bonnie Bailey at their residence on Koronis Avenue. They want to build a 10' by 10' deck that would be 11.5 feet from Koronis Avenue - the same setback as their garage - but less than the 20-foot setback required, thus the need for the variance.

•The council set a public hearing to certify past-due garbage, water, sewer, snow removal, and mowing bills to the county for the purposes of placing the debts on next year's property taxes for Wednesday, Oct. 25, at 6:30 p.m. Bertram, who works for West Central Sanitation, abstained from the vote.

•The council approved increasing salaries for council members by one percent in 2007 and one percent in 2008 plus increasing per diems from $40 for a half day and $80 for a full day to $45 for a half day and $90 for a full day. The yearly salary for the mayor will increase to $4,040 for 2007 (up from $4,000), and the yearly salary for council members will increase to $3,030 in 2007, up from $3,000. The council can only increase its salary before a new council is elected (every two years). The council had only increased its compensation once in the past ten years, several members said.

•The council voted to remove Thompson from the Personnel Committee. He had been added to the committee during its search for a new administrator.

•The council approved hiring the following election judges for the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 7: Janice Zumwalde (head judge), Lorraine Adams, Renee Eckerly, Sheryl Fuchs, Pete Hoppe, Christine Lundgren, Weston Nehring, Ken Ramthun, and Carolyn Swyter.

•The council approved a new check signing policy that requires the signature of the city administrator and the mayor for all checks. Their back-ups are the bookkeeper and the acting mayor respectively. In emergencies, a single signer can issue a check using a stamped signature of the other signer.

•The council approved allowing Bud and Leola Wendroth to hold a garage sale at a residence on Highway 23 without notifying their neighbors. They had planned to hold their last garage sale of the fall over Labor Day but were rained out.

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