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Paynesville Press - December 1, 2004

City Council approves new towing/impounding policy

By Bonnie Jo Hanson

The Paynesville City Council took the following actions at their meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 24.

*The council approved a change to the police department policy on towing and impounding vehicles.

The policy set new fees for impounded vehicles. A storage fee of $3 per day, for up to 15 days, or $45 per month will be charged before a vehicle will be released to its owner.

A vehicle can be towed if it is involved in a crash or if it is a traffic hazard.

In the case of towing, the Paynesville Police Department will use the closest towing company, unless the car's owner makes a request for another. A car can be towed and impounded if it is incident to a lawful arrest, including driving under the influence; when it is used during a crime; when it is the fruit of the crime, such as a recovered stolen vehicle (when the police will make every attempt to notify the owner immediately); when it is evidence or contains evidence of a crime; when it is towed as a hazard or abandoned vehicle; or when there is cause to believe the vehicle is subject to forfeiture.

Police officers will inventory the contents of all impounded vehicles, except those seized because of a violation of snow emergency parking.

*The council established a new ad hoc enhancement committee. The goal of the committee will be to work with the EDAP board and the Hometown Minnesota project to revitalize the downtown area.

The council appointed the following people to the committee: Paul Bugbee, Rachel Gilbertson, city administrator Steve Helget, Bob and Kay McDaniel, Chris Stanley, council member Jean Soine, Tory Tish, and Doris Wendlandt.

*The council reviewed a joint powers agreement with Paynesville Township regarding the Lake Koronis Recreational Trail. The agreement is for two sections of the trail: linking the city to the city beach and linking the city to the Glacial Lakes State Trail. Under the agreement, the city would pay 75 percent of construction costs for both sections, and the township would be responsible for 25 percent of construction costs.

Once the trail sections are completed, the city would be responsible for 62 percent of ongoing maintenance costs, and the township would be responsible for 38 percent of maintenance costs.

As written, the agreement has a termination clause that would allow either party to withdraw after the trail sections have been built, but city council member Jeff Bertram, also the trail committee chairman, questioned whether the clause should be removed so neither the township nor the city could be left with the sole responsibility for maintaining the trail sections. City attorney Bill Spooner said he can remove the clause.

The council will consider approving the agreement after it has been approved by Paynesville Township. *The council also instructed Spooner to draw up a written agreement to be signed by landowners who have already promised to donate easements for the trail. According to Bertram, he has verbal agreements with all but two landowners for easements.

*The council approved transferring money from various capital improvement funds to the improvement debt fund to pay the city's special assessments. The following transfers were approved: $14,679 from the street capital improvement fund (for assessments at the retention pond on Railroad Street); $3,162 from the street capital improvement fund (for assessments at the liquor store); $3,181 from the water capital improvement fund (for assessments at the BMX park); and $519 from the water capital improvement fund (for assessments at the water filtration plant).

*The council approved paying SEH $19,019 for a construction inspection at the airport at the Paynesville Municipal Airport. Under the terms of a grant agreement with the state, the city should be reimbursed 80 percent of this fee. *The council set a special closed city council meeting for Wednesday, Dec. 1, to discuss ongoing litigation regarding land condemnation at the Paynesville Municipal Airport.

*The council approved paying $7,228 to Paynesville Township for 2004 taxes. This is compensation for properties annexed to the city.

Under an orderly annexation agreement with the township, the city reimburses the township for 90 percent of the property tax for the first year after property is annexed. The city then pays 70 percent the second year, 50 percent the third year, 30 percent the fourth year, and 10 percent the fifth year.

*The council approved renewing a contract with Safe Assure Consultants to provide safety training for city employees for $4,300.

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