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Paynesville Press - October 16, 2002

Paynesville City Council meeting, Oct. 9, 2002

By Michael Jacobson

The Paynesville City Council took the following actions at their meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 9.

• The council voted 4-1 to erect a fence around a new stormwater retention pond behind Morningside Avenue. A number of residents along the street had requested the fence as a safety measure. After a lengthy discussion, council members Harlan Beek, Jean Soine, Jeff Thompson, and Dennis Zimmerman voted in favor of erecting a four-foot high chain-link fence. Council member Dave Peschong voted against.

• The council received a favorable debt management study from Monte Eastvold of Northland Securities, formerly from Juran and Moody. All the city bonds are in good shape, Eastvold told the council, and several are candidates for refinancing due to the low interest rates. The city owes $5.7 million in principal and $1.6 million in interest over the next 12 years, totaling $7.3 million.

Eastvold told the council that the city was in great position since most of the debt will be paid in the next ten years and because the tax levy needed each year should remain relatively stable.

• The council approved refinancing $400,000 in bonds from 1993. The new offering costs the city $2,130 up front but will save the city $26,650 over the seven years remaining on the bonds. The refinancing lowers the net interest rate on the bond issue from 5.95 percent to 3.62 percent. The council also authorized Northland Securities to arrange the new bond issue.

• The council approved a one-year contract for the city of Paynesville to act as chief operator of the Lake Henry Sewage Disposal Plant. Under MPCA rules, explained Ron Mergen, public works director, each plant needs a certified operator. The city of Paynesville - which will do inspections and paperwork while the city of Lake Henry will do the day-to-day maintenance - will bill Lake Henry at $45 per hour for the public works director and $25 per hour for secretarial and other staff.

• The council refused a request from Valley Industries to place a sign for their business in the city's street right-of-way. The company, now located in the former Stearns Manufacturing building, requested putting one sign post a foot into the right-of-way and the other post seven feet into the right-of-way.

Council members expressed concern for the utility lines that run in the right-of-way and for setting a precedent. They voted 3-1 to deny the request, with Harlan Beek, Dave Peschong, and Dennis Zimmerman voting against the request and Jean Soine voting for the request.

Mayor Jeff Thompson, who works for Valley Industries, gave up the gavel to Zimmerman, who served as acting mayor. Thompson did not vote on the issue, but suggested that the council direct EDAP to look at signage options for the Industrial Park, since locating businesses is a problem for truckers.

• The council expressed interest in doing a land swap with Ray Vrolson of Acclaimed Furniture. Vrolson told the council that he needed to expand his business but didn't have room. He proposed an exchange from his lots to the city's well site south of Highway 55. Vrolson would give the city 1,785 sq. ft. in exchange for 1,755 sq. ft. The triangular piece, though, would square off the back of his lot and allow him to add on to the back.

The council gave preliminary approval to the request. The city still needs to check with the state, since the MPCA paid for part of the well project, to OK the deal. The land also needs to be surveyed, and Vrolson expressed a willingness to cover the costs of the exchange.

• The council approved a bylaw change for the fire department, allowing an additional training session per month for the purpose of equipment inventory, maintenance, and familiarization with the equipment and vehicles.

Firefighters already meet on the first Monday of every month for their business meeting and on the third Monday of every month for training. This additional training, approved by the firefighters, will be done in groups of five anytime before the fourth Monday of the month, when the executive officers meet. Any problems should be reported to the officers by then.

• The council set a public hearing for Wednesday, Nov. 13, at 6:30 p.m. in order to certify past-due bills for garbage, water and sewer, snow removal, and mowing. These past-due bills will then be forwarded to the county to be put on the tax rolls.

• The council approved purchasing a new snow blower for the skid steer. The low quote was $4,400 from A & C Farm Service.

• The council approved a conditional use permit for Cal and Arlene Anderson, whose residence is located on property zoned as commercial. The Andersons plan to install a deck, extend their roof over the deck, and put in a sliding glass door.

• The council approved step increases for Marilyn Fuchs, liquor store manager, and Lee Schleper, maintenance worker.

• The council appointed Donna Toney to the Human Rights Commission, replacing Sherri Liebl, who resigned.

• The council reappointed Joe Voss to another one-year term on the airport board of adjustment.

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