City Council briefs: Public safety building project

City Administrator Mark Karnowski gave an update on the city’s plans to construct a public safety building that would house the city’s police and fire departments just south of First Street along 21st Avenue, north of the airport.

Karnowski noted that a committee planning the project has met several times to draft a floor plan. The next step, Karnowski said, is to have Greystone Construction Co. estimate the cost of the anticipated project, with a budget ceiling of $2 million.

Committee members have scaled back the proposed building size from when it was looking at spending as much as $6 million on it. The city tried unsuccessfully three times to get half the cost paid through state bonding, and now the city council has decided that the funding will come out of the city’s off-sale liquor revenue.

Committee members Todd Frederick, with the police department, and Fire Chief Jim Roxbury have cited their departments’ need to get better buildings. The police station is deteriorating and has design problems, Frederick said. Roxbury has noted the nearly 50-year-old fire station is too small.

No target date has been set for constructing the public safety building, but Frederick said it is realistic it could be close to completion in three years.


Geocaching guidelines

The council adopted guidelines recommended by the city parks and recreation board for geocaching in the city.

Among the guidelines are that forest-preservation areas of the city are off limits for placing caches, that each cache be at least 1/10th mile or 528 feet apart, and any cache items may not be “offensive, dangerous, perceived dangerous, illegal or perishable,” as determined by the park and rec board.

The city and the park and rec board retain the right to remove a cache the city determines to be in an inappropriate location or is causing undo impact to the habitat.


Approval of hockey group’s request

The council authorized having the mayor, the city clerk and Princeton Public Utilities Commission chair Mindi Siercks sign an agreement between the city and the Princeton Youth Hockey Association (PYHA) regarding PYHA paying sewer and water access charges. The agreement extends the time period for paying the city sewer and water access charges that PYHA incurred for hooking up its newest arena building three years ago. The original payback period was five years and the new one is 10 years. The agreement also reduces the interest rate on the remaining unpaid balance from the original eight percent to the new five percent rate.


Pay estimate approved

The council approved a partial pay estimate of $85,551 to Minnesota Native Landscapes contingent upon approval of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The USDA has given the city a grant and a loan to expand its wastewater plant in a project nearing completion.

Part of the expansion project includes having Minnesota Native Landscapes modify the Rum River embankment in three locations in the city to reduce erosion and therefore reduce the amount of phosphorous going into the river. The erosion-control measure is a condition of the state permit to expand the wastewater plant.


In other city council news…

n The council approved a resolution giving an interim use permit to Todd Schendzielos of ML Schendzielos & Sons for storing fill material at 1202 State Highway 95. The property is owned by Mark Griffiths.

n The council approved a resolution to adopt Mille Lacs County’s hazardous mitigation plan. That way if there is an incident in mitigating hazardous material the city can qualify for additional federal funding.

n The council authorized requesting proposals from at least three consultants in order to hire one to conduct a facade improvement study of downtown Princeton buildings. The council also authorized seeking a grant of up to $7,000 to hire the consultant chosen. The grant would come from the Minnesota Historical and Cultural Grant program.

n The city council made official what has been a policy for years – that in order for a property to be hooked into Princeton city sewer and water mains, the property must be within the city’s boundaries. The council passed a new ordinance to amend the sewer ordinance that put the sewer and water hookup policy into law.