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Paynesville Press - October 18, 2006

New map of proposed
Highway 23 revealed

The Paynesville City Council took the following actions at their meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 11.

•The council was informed by city administrator Renee Eckerly that a new map of the proposed Highway 23 improvements by MnDOT has arrived at city hall, with the changes the city and township requested on Cemetery Road (continuing per the original plans) and the cul-de-sac of current Co. Rd. 130 (over the railroad tracks with a new Co. Rd. 130 to be built further to the west) made.

The city expects a letter from MnDOT agreeing to these changes. The map was loaned to the township for their meeting on Monday night and then will be brought back to city hall, where it is available for viewing.

•The council approved a payment of $110,187.46 to R.L. Larson Excavating, Inc., for work completed on the 2006 Street Project through mid-September. Work on the project is substantially completed, said city engineer Chuck DeWolf of Bolton & Menk.

A final street assessment public hearing - planned for this meeting - was delayed, due to publication requirements, until the next council meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 25, at 6:45 p.m.

•The council approved applying for a bioscience subzone as part of the Western Stearns County Cooperative. A group of cities in the western part of the county are preparing to apply for 200 acres to be designated as part of the Biotechnology and Health Science Industry Zone.

The Minnesota Legislature established this subzone in its 2003 session and the application process was reopened by the 2006 legislature. Applications are due in mid-October, and zone designations will be made by December 2006.

The Western Stearns County Cooperative will seek 200 acres, to be split by the cities on a first-come, first-serve basis if the application is successful. The program would offer tax incentives to designated properties; currently, the state program is unfunded, but it could be funded in the future.

If the cooperative's application is successful, the cost to the city would be $500.

•The council approved rezoning 31 lots of Heatherwood Plat 3 to residential (keeping two outlots as agricultural). One of the outlots will be deeded to the city because it will have a stormwater retention pond, and the other will be included in a future development and then rezoned residential.

•The council also approved vacating a portion of Northwood Drive, temporary easements, and utility easements in Heatherwood Plat 2.

•The council approved accepting the low bid for constructing the utilities and streets in Heatherwood Plat 3, which was $427,561.99 from Kuechle Underground, Inc., of Kimball. Kuechle's bid was the lowest of 14 received for the project.

•The council approved having city inspector Ron Wasmund of Inspectron, Inc., administer the building code for public buildings and state-licensed facilites within the city. Without designating the city's inspector to do this, the state would conduct building inspections of public buildings (school) or state-licensed facilities (hospital) and keep the building fee.

•The council was informed that the trail - connecting the city to Lake Koronis - is under construction. Trail officials also met with the Lake Koronis Assembly Grounds to discuss utilizing their property for the last section of trail, connecting Crestridge Road to the trail currently being built, said councilor Jeff Bertram.

•The council received a request from the local Habitat for Humanity task force, requesting city contribution towards its efforts to build the first Habitat for Humanity house in western Stearns County in Paynesville. Steve Whitcomb, representing the local task force, explained Habitat for Humanity's mission and said that the property cost of a city lot is generally about $10,000 (plus assessments).

Council members responded favorably to supporting Habitat for Humanity and referred the request to EDAP, at the suggestion of city attorney Bill Spooner, who said the city would need to treat it as a housing project.

•The council tabled a resolution to increase council per diems from $40 for a half day to $45 and from $80 for a full day to $90. The council had reached an agreement to do this at their previous meeting, but the League of Minnesota Cities told the city that it needs to be done by ordinance. The city, said city attorney Bill Spooner, has always referred in its ordinance to resolutions setting the per diems. He requested the council to table the motion in order to follow up with the League of Minnesota Cities.

An increase in the per diems for the council, which would take effect in 2007, must be published before the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

The council tabled this matter with the intent to decide at its next meeting, which would enable it to publish the new per diems in time. •The council authorized Eckerly to handle investments and transfer funds on behalf of the city with Smith Barney Citigroup.

•The council approved city maintenance workers Joe Kremer and Bob Wander attending water operator training on Wednesday, Oct. 18. The registration fee is $40.

•The council approved cable coordinator Stephanie Hormann attending the Minnesota Association of Community Telecommunications Administrators annual conference. The registration fee is $325.

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