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Paynesville Press - November 2, 2005

Council backs further trail development

By Michael Jacobson

The Paynesville City Council took the following actions at their meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 26.

*The council verbally approved pursuing the next segment of the Lake Koronis Recreational Trail from Baywater Road to Birch Beach Store. This segment would utilize Baywater Road as a multi-use road, said council member Jeff Bertram, who also serves as a consultant for the trail project. Then the trail committee would like to use road right-of-way on CSAH 20.

Bertram reminded the council that two sections of trail - from the city to the city beach and from the city to the Glacial Lakes State Trail - will be built in 2006. The trail committee has target this next segment - Baywater Road to Birch Beach Store - for 2007, he said.

Members of the trail committee planned to attend the Meeker County Board of Commissioners this week to ask for an $80,000 committment to this section of trail and to use CSAH 20 right-of-way.

The total cost for this trail segment is estimated at $320,000, which could be shared by the city, Paynesville Township, Meeker County, and Stearns County, at $80,000 each, said Bertram.

After this segment, only two more would remain to complete the trail around Lake Koronis, added Bertram. The trail committee plans to apply for federal grants again for the final remaining sections - one in Meeker County and the other in Stearns County. By 2006, eight miles of trail will be complete. If this segment is completed in 2007, ten miles would be finished. This could help the bids for further federal grants, said Bertram.

The council gave verbal support to proceed with the project.

City administrator Steve Helget noted that the city has committed $96,750 for the city share of the trail from the city to the city beach and is talking about spending $62,000 for the Kruger Lake Nature Preserve (a DNR grant would pay for half of the $200,000 purchase price, and the township has offered to pay 38 percent of the remaining cost, though the city and township do not have a formal agreement on this project yet). The park and tree committee is also considering developing a park near the city wells by the Ampe subdivisions, and the school is expected to ask the city for a contribution towards the elementary playground, said Helget.

Right now, the Park Capital Improvement Fund has a balance of $124,000, which would not pay for all these projects plus the $80,000 for another segment of trail, noted Helget, though the city could replenish the fund from its reserves.

*The council authorized executing a joint powers agreement with the city of Fergus Falls, in order to issue $3 million in bonding for Catholic Charities, which is building an intensive treatment facility in Fergus Falls for adolescents and a foster care home for adults with physical disabilities in Paynesville. Catholic Charities wants to fund both projects jointly, which requires a joint powers agreement between the two cities. The total cost is $3 million, with $300,000 going for the foster care home in Paynesville.

Since the bulk of the project is being spent in Fergus Falls, that city will be the lead in the agreement.

Catholic Charities assumes all the risk, executive director Steve Bresnahan told the council during a public hearing.

*The council rescinded its motion amending its administrative fines from Wednesday, Oct. 12, and approved a new amended resolution. Ten items were inadvertently missed, said police chief Kent Kortlever. New administrative fines are: abandoned motor vehicles ($50); animals without attached license ($25); avoiding traffic signals ($50); bicycle and unicycle violations ($20); dangerous weapons violations ($50); disorderly conduct ($50); hazardous conditions ($50); obstructions in street ($50); obstruction on public property ($50); and parking on private property without consent ($50).

*The council approved hiring Belinda Ludwig as the motor vehicle clerk, effective Monday, Nov. 14. The city had accepted applications in June, when it hired Alice McColley as the motor vehicle clerk, since promoted to deputy registrar. Ludwig was recommended by the personnel committee.

*The council accepted the resignation of Alice Nyhlen as cable coordinator, effective at the end of October, and authorized the cable committee to begin the process to fill the position immediately.

*The council approved the following appointments to the design team committee: Harlan Beek, Maurice Dosdall, Nancy Ellis, Steve Helget, Keith Hemmesch, Mary Janotta, Lance Louis, Bob McDaniel, Pat Meagher, Dave Nelson, Don Roberts, Jean Soine, Bill Spooner, Bert Stanley, Beverly Stowell, and Karen Whitcomb. The city is planning to invite the Minnesota Design Team to visit the community again, and this committee will prepare for that visit by raising issues of planning and design.

*The council approved a certificate of appreciation for the Paynesville Area Garden Club for their dedication on the downtown planter beautification project.

*The council approved a spill prevention, control, and countermeasure plan for the Paynesville Municipal Airport. The 30-page plan was prepared by SEH, the city's engineering firm, and is required by the Federal Aviation Administration. It cost about $3,000 to prepare and was recommended by the airport commission.

*The council approved a payment of $2,847 to McDowall Comfort Management for repairs to the control panel for the furnace/air conditioner at city hall. The control panel was damaged by either a lightning strike or power surge, public works director Ron Mergen told the council. The original control panel company was out of business, and a replacement had to be found, said Mergen. A claim has been submitted to insurance, he added. The city will also need to replace its thermostats to work with the new control panel.

*The council approved a $2,500 loan to David and Annika Kerzman, who are purchasing a Tri-Cap home on Coakley Street. The loan is forgivable over five years so long as they maintain residence. City administrator Steve Helget told the council that the city now has about two dozen of these agreements.

*The council approved a bid of $2,370 from Alpha Video, Inc., to provide news, telephone support, and anti-virus license for Channel 8 for one year, from August 2005 to July 2006.

*The council approved publishing just a summary of their subdivision ordinance, not the ordinance in its entirety, following changes made by the council at their meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 12. Following a public hearing, the council made a number of wording changes to this ordinance. The most significant changes included: reducing the acreage requirement for a planned unit development from 20 acres to one acre; reducing the requirement for prints to be submitted of a preliminary plat from five to three; reducing the number of business days that a preliminary plat must be submitted before planning commission reviewal from 15 days to 10 days; removing the requirement to identify an Indian reservation when platting (since none are located in the area); adding the requirement of identifying the high-water mark and other elevations if a subdivision abuts public water (since setbacks are judged from the high-water mark); and decreasing the minimum right-of-way widths for a local road to 32 feet (was 36 feet), for a service road to 30 feet (was 36 feet), and for an alley to 16 feet (was 20 feet). Since these widths are minimums, the city still could require wider right-of-way for major streets.

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