At the October 19 Preston City Council meeting, the future location of the Trout Days Kids Fishing contest was discussed.
The DNR in past years has stocked rainbow trout in Camp Creek before the annual fishing event. The DNR has determined that the native brown trout population is well established and naturally reproducing. They no longer want to stock rainbow trout in Camp Creek for the annual event. DNR regulations only allow catch and release at Camp Creek except for the one day event of the Kids Fishing contest.
The DNR recommends moving the Kids Fishing contest to Trailhead Park where they are willing to stock rainbow trout for the event. They then would also put into place an all-year catch and release regulation for Camp Creek (eliminating the one day catch allowance).
City Administrator Joe Hoffman explained, that along with himself, Jon Haugan, Mayor Kurt Reicks, and Gabby Kinneberg met to discuss the DNR recommendation. This committee recommended that Preston hold the Kids Fishing event at Camp Creek in 2021 to determine if the elimination of the stocking of rainbow trout affects the success of the event.
Councilman Robert Maust noted that this involves his family’s property. He said there are 1,000 trout per mile in Camp Creek and 4,000 trout per mile in the Root River. There is better fishing at Trailhead Park along with easy access and more parking space. While he believes Trailhead Park is a better site, he said he didn’t have a problem with the event being held at Camp Creek.
Jon Haugan said he didn’t think there was enough room along the Trailhead and the water isn’t as deep, so fish could be scared away. There could be 150 kids and 300 people total at this event. There is some concern about the steepness of the bank and tall weeds. Can adults be kept away while the kids fish? Councilwoman Holly Zuck felt these and other concerns raised by Haugan are valid.
A motion was approved to continue the DNR’s allowance for a one day catch at Camp Creek, holding the Kids Fishing event there in 2021. The relative success of the event will then be evaluated. Maust abstained.
Other business in brief
•Dustin Arndt, Fire Relief Association, requested an increase of $200 in the annual retirement contribution ($1,700 to $1,900). After 10 years of service a firefighter is vested at 50%. Five more percent is added for each additional year until a firefighter is fully vested (100%) after 20 years of service. Today, with 20 years of service a firefighter gets a lump sum of $34,000.
The last increase was approved in 2018. At $1,900 the average annual increase since 2007 is 3%, which is consistent with the yearly wage increase for city employees. Arndt said with the annual retirement contribution at $1,900 per year, the relief association is 107% funded. Hoffman said if it becomes underfunded the city is responsible for making up the difference to keep the retirement fund solvent. The requested increase was unanimously approved.
•Preston Public Utilities contracts with the Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association (MMUA) to provide safety coordination services for the city and the utility. The cost is shared, 45% city and 55% utility. Mark Hottel is in Preston two days per month to provide safety training and ensure OSHA compliance. The city’s share of the cost for 2021 is estimated to be $7,497, which is an increase of 1%. PPU has already approved the contract. The council approved the 2020-2021 Safety Management Program contract.
•Hoffman reported that they had received complaints last holiday season about the condition of the large red bows that are on the garland and wreaths. The bows are 10-20 years old. Display Sales submitted a quote for 50 large red bows in the amount of $935.50. The purchase was approved as presented.
•The fountain in the pond near Preston Service Plus quit working this fall. Hoffman said it was initially installed in 2006/2007 at a cost of $4,000. In 2017 LED lights were purchased for the fountain at a cost of $750. Kasco estimated the repair of the current fountain will cost $2,417 with a one-year warranty. The fountain can be replaced at a cost of $3,248 with a three-year warranty. Hoffman asked the council to decide if they wanted to continue with the fountain and, if they did, if they wanted to repair or replace it. Councilman David Collett suggested they just forget having a fountain there. Mayor Reicks maintained the lack of a fountain would allow algae to cover the pond at the entrance to the city. A motion was made and approved to replace the fountain near Preston Service Plus. Collett and Maust voted no.
•The November city council meetings will be held on November 2 and 16.