At the April 17 Preston City Council meeting, City Administrator Joe Hoffman reported on the rehab progress on city hall. Two plus inches of foam insulation has been installed, the sign company will come in next to install brackets for the mural, then a mesh will be installed before the stucco. The roofing company is also working on the installation of a new roof.
Still to come will be the installation of the mural, a new sign, the installation of a stand alone canopy and lighting, landscaping, and sidewalks. There will be some minor work inside, a drop ceiling in part of the hallway. Hoffman roughly estimated that the exterior work will cost the city over $150,000.
Jim Bakken, Public Works, requested that a permanent ladder be installed for safer access to the roof of the building. Access is needed several times each year. Currently, either a bucket truck is used or an extension ladder. A quote from T. D. Fetterly in the amount of $4,880 was approved. It will be installed on the southwest corner of the building and will have a lockable cover about 8 feet from the ground.
Councilman Robert Maust had requested that a discussion of North St. and Center St. be added to the agenda. He noted there was an opportunity to have several new housing units costructed in that area. Center St. would have to be reconstructed and moved to the west.
Hoffman maintained before the city improves the streets there will need to be a development agreement to protect the investment of the city. The city would have to know those townhomes will be built. Maust added the additional housing units will add considerable to the tax base.
Hoffman suggested once again that the council should consider a proposal from Mike Bubany to develop a Capital Finance Plan. The up front cost of the plan is $5,000. Maust made the motion to obtain the services of Bubany to look at how the city might fund several proposed capital expenses including the city hall rehab (payment coming out of reserves), the possible purchase of land for a veterans home, and the Riverside Center. His motion was approved.
Board of Appeal and Equalization
Brian Hoff, Fillmore County Assessor’s Office, reviewed the rules and duties of this board. The county had 23 bareland sales. There was no change in tillable land values, but non-tillable land values increased 20%. There were 20 sales of land with building sites, which showed an increase of 20%. Two-hundred and sixty residential sales were completed county wide; all taxing districts showed an increase. There was no change in value with the 13 commercial sales across the county.
The total valuation in the city of Preston is $73,808,400 which was an increase of 3.84 over the prior year. In 2016 there was $1,689,300 in new construction.
Hoff presented two items for board action. Part of the old gas station at the B & B Bowl and Restaurant was removed and had not been removed from the records. The Board of A & E approved a reduction of $17,600 in valuation from $86,600 to $69,000.
Hoff questioned the homestead status of 312 Spring St. NE. Hoffman noted that the building on the property was permitted as a garage, a non-dwelling. Hoff said they did not believe anyone is living there. The board changed the classification on the property from Homestead to non-Homestead Residential.
No one from the public was present for comment; the board was adjourned.
Other business in brief
• During a special meeting held on April 7, the council approved the hire of Gabby Kinneberg for 34 hours per week as Tourism/Chamber Director, as recommended by the Interview Committee.
• Approval was given to hire Justin Ristau as summer helper. He has two years experience as summer helper.
• Street closures for Trout Days on May 20-21 were approved as recommended.