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Paynesville Press - October 20, 2004

City council sets assessments for street project

By Bonnie Jo Hanson

The Paynesville City Council took the following actions at their meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 13.

*The council approved assessments for the 2004 street improvement project after holding a public hearing. The total cost of the 2004 street improvement was $1,230,488.

Assessments for streets that were rebuilt with sewer, curbs, and gutters is $43.82 per foot of frontage property. On streets that were overlayed, the assessment is $6.04 per frontage foot. On Service Road, the assessment is $52.09 per frontage foot. Side lots on affected streets will be assessed at one half frontage. The assessment for new sanitary service is $800 each, and the assessment for new water mains is $900.

The public hearing was attended by a half dozen residents who were affected by assessments. While none of the residents spoke out about the assessments, some were unhappy with the landscaping that was done after the streets were done.

Willie Kulzer, who lives on Belmont Street, pointed out that in some places that were to be filled with black dirt were actually filled with sand that was removed from the street. Another resident complained that contractors seeded his property in the dark and some of the soil was not seeded.

Council member Dave Peschong, who lives on Minnesota Street, agreed that landscaping throughout the project area was shoddy. "They just did a poor job," he said. When Peschong tried to mow the new grass on his property, his lawnmower got stuck in a hole left behind by contractors, he said.

According to city engineer Pete Carlson, the contractor was responsible for hiring sub-contractors to landscape any ground that was disturbed during the project. Landscaping has been a problem in several similar projects the city has completed, he added. Any resident with a complaint about landscaping or the quality of street work should call public works director Ron Mergen at 243-3714. Mergen and Carlson will work with contractors to ensure that the work is completed satisfactorily.

Mayor Jeff Thompson added that the last payment for the project will be withheld until the city is satisfied with the work. For future projects, the city may consider contracting landscaping after the project is finished instead of depending on sub-contractors, said Mergen.

Other comments during the public hearing were about the large gaps in time between phases of the project. Unfortunately, said Carlson, when a project is bid early, which the city did to save money, organizing sub-contractors can be difficult.

*The council approved a payment of $417,613 to Duininick Brothers, Inc., for work completed on the street improvement project.

*The council approved a payment of $1,385 to Acclaimed Furniture for furniture to replace damaged furniture in the basement of PJ's TV and Appliance. The furniture and carpets were ruined when a sewer line backed up into their basement during the street improvement project.

According to Carlson, the back-up occurred when the sewer line on Lake Avenue was replaced. Because nobody was aware that PJ's was attached to that line, the accident was "just one of those things." SEH, the city's engineering firm, agreed to pay for half of the damages.

*The council approved a seven-year contract with West Central Sanitation to provide refuse collection to city residents. Under the new contract, residents will be provided with "Good Neighbor Carts," which will accommodate the company's new automated pick-ups.

The new wheeled garbage carts, which will be available in three sizes, should be easier for residents to use, according to Jeff Bertram of West Central Sanitation. And, because the carts can be emptied by automated trucks, West Central Sanitation employees also benefit from using the carts.

Some residents, those with the lowest level of service, will have a rate increase of just 15 per month, but, in most cases, rates will remain unchanged or will drop slightly, said Bertram. <(See related story)

*The city approved a breakdown of how money from a Small Cities Development Grant would be distributed if the city receives it. The grant, if awarded, could provide up to $1,300,000, which the city would distribute to homeowners in a selected area to refurbish homes and businesses. In addition, the city has pledged $100,000 from the EDAP revolving loan fund to provide low interest loans for projects.

The city used federal income guidelines to determine how much of a resident's award would be grant money and how much would be low-interest loan money. For example, a home chosen for rehab with four residents and a total income of less than $38,275 would receive 100 percent grant money. The same home with more income would receive 75 percent grant money and 25 percent loan. A home with five residents and a total income of $41,350 or less would receive 100 percent grant money while a home with five people and a higher income would receive 75 percent in grant money and 25 percent in low-interest loan money.

Commercial properties and mixed-use properties (apartments over the business) chosen to participate in the rehabilitation program would receive 50 percent grant money and 50 percent in low-interest loans. The grant money could also be used for low-interest loans.

*The council set a public hearing on Wednesday, Nov. 10, at 6:30 p.m. for certifying past-due garbage, water and sewer, snow removal, and mowing bills at WHAT TIME?. State law allows the city to place these past-due bills on the property owner's taxes.

*The council approved an ordinance amendment allowing the council to re-approve a plat that is not recorded within 60 days of its initial approval.

*The council set a fee of $75 to re-approve a plat after 60 days if no changes are made.

*The council approved a bid of $2,475 from Voss Plumbing and Heating for the replacement of the furnace and new ductwork at the Paynesville Fire Hall.

*The council approved a purchase agreement with the Teal Family Limited and the Roger D. Teal Revocable Trust, owners of Paynesville SuperValu, for four acres of property in the Diekmann Business Park. The purchase price for the property is $209,088 plus special assessments totaling $64,893.

The owners plan to build a new 28,000-sq.-ft. grocery store on the property, which is located west of Highway 23 on the west end of town. The owners would like to open the new store in 2005.

The appraised price for the property was 86 per square foot, but bidding between two parties drove the price higher.

*The council approved a preliminary plat for this property in the Diekmann Business Park. A deal with the Teal family will not be finalized until the final plat is done. *The council approved the resignation of liquor store clerk Judy Cummings. *The council approved hiring Andrew Soine, Dustin Veldkamp, and Noah Bruntlett to the Paynesville Fire Department, contingent on their ability to pass physicals and complete training.



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