Tempers flare over temporary hiring

This article submitted by Michael Jacobson on 12/06/00.

Tempers flared at the end of an otherwise routine meeting for the Paynesville Township Board of Supervisors on Monday, Nov. 27.

Charges and recriminations flew over a $100 payroll check when it came time to pay the bills.

Supervisor John Atwood complained that the hiring of Mike Tougas to help with a project on Briorhill Road had not been approved. "We did not authorize this as a board," he said.

Supervisor Warren Nehring, who oversaw the project, explained that he got a call from the contractor asking for help.

The board recently found that Briorhill Road belongs to the township and improvements, including a culvert, were put in to improve the road. The township had been pushing the contractor to get the project done before winter, or else the road would end up being a mess in spring.

Board chairman Don Pietsch and Atwood were away at a conference, which Nehring was also supposed to attend. But when Paynesville Excavating called and wanted to do the project on a Friday and needed help, Nehring stayed to work as a supervisor, and he had Tougas come and help, too.

"What do you do?" asked Nehring at the meeting. "This came up. It came up unexpectedly."

Tougas helped with a township project at the ice arena and has been helping township maintenance man Mike Jensen erect 9-1-1 signs.

Nehring said the important thing was to get the job done right and have the road usable.

Township resident Eddie Lang sided with Atwood in denouncing Nehring's expenditure. "That's b.s.," Lang said. "Somebody you hire should have his own help."

Lang, who works in road construction, said that no one has ever helped him. "If they're a guy short, then they come back another day," Lang added.

Both Nehring and Tougas earned $12 per hour from the township. The township also used Nehring's ski loader for $30 per hour.

These prices are less than the quoted rates the township got from area contractors for hiring a skid loader with an operator.

Atwood signed the expenditure only after stating that he doesn't expect this to happen again.

Road surfacing
The township is looking at blacktopping or resurfacing several roads next summer. To get the lowest bids, they approved advertising for bids in January so they can be opened at their first meeting in February.

Roads to be blacktopped are Conita Circle (with a split cost to the residences), Briorhill Road, Cliffwood Road, and Cushing Road. A storage area for the arena and a turnaround on 263rd Avenue will also be done.

The biggest project will be an overlay on 263rd Avenue and Cross Creek Road. Three miles of road between Highway 23 and County Road 34 will be resurfaced.

The township expects to bid for 4,000 tons of asphalt, with 3,200 tons of that for 263rd Avenue and Cross Creek Road.

They hope they will get $26 or $27 per ton as a price, but were told the price may be as much as $30 a ton. At that price, the blacktopping would cost $120,000.

Old Lake Road
The township is also looking at grading and widening Old Lake Road, formerly County Road 124. Pietsch reported that the county engineer recommended grading and widening the road, then letting it settle for a year before resurfacing it.

Eight feet to the right of way will be added to the road width, in order to accommodate a pedestrian trail.

An estimated 1,800 lineal feet of existing road will be dug out and redone, meaning the road will have some gravel spots for a year between grading and resurfacing.

"The people would have to live with a rough road for some period of time," Pietsch said.

Other business
•The board corrected its minutes from its Nov. 13 meeting. At that time, the board did approve doubling the fire call fee whenever the fire department responds to someone who burns without a permit.

The fee for a fire call where the resident merely failed to notify the dispatcher by calling 320-243-3434 was kept at $500, and not doubled to $1,000.

This was erroneously reported in both the minutes and in the Paynesville Press.

•The board approved contracts with the hockey association for the ice arena. The city, township, and hockey association each contribute $7,000 per year for capital debt. The city, township, and hockey association also will contribute $5,000 apiece towards labor. This amount is up from $4,000 in previous years.

If the amount of use is great enough to require additional labor beyond that, the hockey association covers the remainder with its extra operating income.

•The board approved giving Jeff Bertram a letter of support and authorization to obtain grants on behalf of the township for the trail project.

The plan is to build a pedestrian trail around Lake Koronis. The board noted that grant money will be needed to continue the project.

•The board instructed Nehring to contact two residents who have remodeled or added structures to their residences without a permit.

•The board heard about the possibility of using a common outlot as a turnaround for the snowplow on Cushing Road.

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