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Paynesville Press - October 5, 2005

Council approves EDAP project, orderly annexation agreement

By Michael Jacobson

The Paynesville City Council took the following actions at their meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 28.
*The council approved an operation and maintenance deficit agreement with the Economic Development Authority of Paynesville (EDAP), in order for EDAP to pursue a four-plex of townhomes. (See separate story.)

*The council approved a new orderly annexation agreement with Paynesville Township. The council did direct staff to correct the map to show the Paynesville Municipal Airport - which already has been annexed to the city but is included as land to be annexed - and forward this to the township attorney to correct the legal description.

*The board discussed a possible annexation request by Keith Dombrovski, who has just completed an eight-lot, 12-acre development in Paynesville Township. These new lots are located near the city wells on the east end of the city and lie within the wellhead protection area. Therefore, the city has expressed concern about the development of private wells and septic systems in that area and possible contamination to the city wells.

Dombrovski had approached the city earlier and asked about annexation of this property. Last week, he said he would be willing to annex the property to the city if the city would defer all assessments until the lots are sold. He also told the council that he would want at least five years for those deferments, with an option for two more years.

The council members expressed interest in the annexation, which Dombrovski must initiate, as well as other developments in that area.

*The council heard a report on Service Road from city engineer Scott Hedlund. The city wants to pursue a project to correct a problem with the stormsewer drain.

The city presented two possible solutions to MnDOT as a local initiative project: adding stormsewer in the ditch for an approximate cost of $94,500 or regrading the ditch for an approximate cost of $37,400. MnDOT sent a letter in response, indicating they prefer the stormsewer option and asking for more information about drainage in the area. The cost of the project would be shared by MnDOT and the city.

Since a project this year is not possible, the council asked Mergen to plan for temporary measures this winter to try and keep the drain clear. The idea would be to minimize compaction at the drain - thus keeping it clear and functioning - by putting signs or a temporary fence around it. Mergen said he would need to contact MnDOT to get permission to put anything in the ditch, since it is state right of way.

*The board discussed Quality Checked Plastics and directed staff to contact the owner about continuing problems at their plant in the Industrial Park. The city's concern is that Quality Checked is not always cleaning its screens and then plastic particles go into the sewer system. Plastic will not deteriorate in the city sewer ponds, public works director Ron Mergen, told the council and will eventually need to be hauled out.

The city council agreed that this needed to stop and directed city staff to contact the business owner. Increased testing could also be done, and the city council indicated a willingness to stop water service if no other solution is forthcoming.

*The council continued their discussion about the open meeting law and how it applies to committee meetings. The council agreed to continue with its present policy of trying to post committee meetings as official meetings, three days in advance, if council members notify city hall in time of their intention to attend. If the meeting cannot be posted, then the third council member can still attend but cannot participate (must listen only).

This policy is in accordance with advice from the League of Minnesota Cities, but city attorney Bill Spooner had advised the council that to avoid even the appearance of breaking the Open Meeting Law that quorums should not be present except at official meetings.

The council also engaged in further discussion of the Open Meeting Law as it pertains to e-mail. The council agreed that e-mail could be used to distribute information to council members, but council members should not be exchanging reactions/opinions afterward. In other words, council members can receive e-mails but should not be responding with each other.

*The council set a public hearing for Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 6:30 p.m. to consider a joint powers agreement with the city of Fergus Falls. Catholic Charities is building a foster care home for people with physical disabilities in Paynesville (estimated for $300,000) and an intensive treatment facility in Fergus Falls, and Catholic Charities would like to finance these projects jointly (estimated for $3 million). This would require a joint powers agreement between the city and Fergus Falls for the life of the bonds.

*The council approved posting the deputy registrar position for motor vehicle, which is vacant due to the death of Rhonda Hunt. Alice McColley, motor vehicle clerk, has expressed interest in the position. If so, the need would be to hire a new clerk instead of a deputy registrar.

*The council approved hiring a temporary employee, for up to 30 hours per week, through a temp service to help at city hall, due to staff shortage. The proposed rate is $9 per hour, which would come to $12.80 per hour in cost to the city with the temp service's fee.

*The council approved a change in salary progression for part-time employees. Instead of being eligible for a step increase after 1,040 hours (roughly equivalent to a half year of employment) and after 2,080 hours (roughly equivalent to a full year of employment), part-time employees now will only be eligible for a step increase after 2,080 hours.

*The council approved appointing Maurice Dosdall, Celia Frieler, and Bill Ryan to the Paynesville Human Rights Commission. Dosdall and Ryan replace Joe Voss and Sig Pfeifer respectively, while Frieler will serve as the student member.

*The board accepted a bid of $5,889.25 from J.B. Wimmer Landscaping for 61 trees. The city received a 2007 Minnesota Tree ReLeaf Grant for this project. The city did not receive any bids for a community forest assessment and management plan and authorized readvertising bids for that later.

*The council approved the purchase of a new shelving system for records at city hall from Direct Office Solutions for $5,552.31. The system is needed because city hall has outgrown its current storage, and this system, which would fit in a 12' by 13' storage room, would more than double the current storage. The city received two bids - the other was for $10,500 - and city staff preferred the system for $5,552.31.

*The council approved a bid of $5,010 from Voss Concrete-Masonry to repair four areas of sidewalk (totaling 1,002 sq. ft.).

*The council approved the purchase of a 1998 Mazda pickup truck for the public works department from Yarmon Ford for $4,750. Public works director Ron Mergen said his truck is showing its age, but the department planned to keep it as an extra vehicle, not using it as trade, in order to have an extra vehicle for the department in the summer.

*The council approved purchasing a new 2005 Farm King snow blower from Paynesville Equipment for $3,700. The price is $5,800, but the city gets $2,100 as a trade-in for its 1997 snow blower, making the final price $3,700.

*The council approved a payment to Zimmerman Computer Consulting for $557.50. Council member Dennis Zimmerman abstained from the vote.

*The board approved having mayor Jeff Thompson and council member Tom Lindquist attend county training for appeal and equilization, to be held in November. At least one council member must have this training in order to conduct the annual equalization hearing, where taxpayers can appeal their assessment.

*The council approved having the public works department sell the surplus soil at the Paynesville Municipal Airport on a first-come, first-served basis at $1 per yard.

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