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Paynesville Press - December 3, 2003

City council approves vote on Sunday liquor

By Bonnie Jo Hanson

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

*The council approved scheduling a special election to decide whether to permit the sale of liquor on Sundays in the city. Doris and Tom Wendlandt, owners of Queen Bee's Bar and Grill, requested the election and gathered signatures for a petition requesting an election.

According to the city, because of staffing concerns and notification requirements, the earliest an election could be scheduled would be mid-February 2004.

*The council approved a quit claim deed and a payment of $33,000 to the Canadian Pacific Railway for property near where Lake Avenue intersects with the railroad. The city intends to use the property to build a stormwater retention pond as part of the street improvement project in 2004.

*The council decided that the Railroad Street portion of the street improvement project in 2004 should be postponed until after Town and Country Days in June. The council heard from city engineer Pete Carlson that a few problems still need to be addressed on Railroad Street to allow normal traffic during the project.

*The council approved a development agreement for Lake Land Villas, a development planned for Co. Rd. 34 by Viking Land 'N' Lakes and Ecklund Swendlund Homes, Inc.

Council member Harlan Beek expressed his concerns over an increase in foot and bike traffic on the highway if housing for young families is built. The public works committee, assured public works director Ron Mergen, will examine the possibility of building a sidewalk or trail from the development to Lake Avenue. A preliminary plat for the development will be submitted to the city after city administrator Steve Helget examines the development's association guidelines.

*The council approved ordering engineering plans for improvements to Service Road. After holding a public hearing, where property owners examined the proposed improvements and were informed of the city's assessment options, the council decided to order the plans with curb and gutter, considered an option.

*The council discussed what to do with $63,000 in demutalization funds from Principal Financial Group. There are several options for the money, which comes from interest on health insurance premiums paid by the city and city employees for about 10 years.

The money could be put into the general fund or be used to fund employee benefits, said city attorney Bill Spooner. Refunding the money to former city employees is not a viable option as some of the employees are no longer alive and because it would be nearly impossible to divide the money fairly, as it is interest income, said Spooner.

The issue will be addressed again at the next city council meeting.

*The council approved a payment to Randy Kramer Excavating in the amount of $16,990 for work on the South Street Extension.

*The council approved a final payment to TMI Coatings, Inc., for $10,000 for refurbishing the city water tower.

*The council approved appointing Jackie Campbell to the Human Rights Commission. She will replace Howard Caldwell as the representative from the Paynesville Area Schools.

*The council approved a payment of $85,180 to South Side Steel, Inc., for work done to date on the tee hangar at the Paynesville Municipal Airport. The frame for the hangar has been erected, and water and sewer for the structure have been installed.

*The council approved the purchase of $6,210 in equipment for the fire department: six self-contained breathing apparatus for $2,040; four new sets of bunker gear for $3,720; and 15 traffic vests for $450. The equipment will be purchased with money from the fire department's capital improvement fund.

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