At the August 24 meeting of the Preston City Council, the first draft of the 2018 budget and levy was reviewed. The total levy in this draft would be $894,425, or $62,931 more than in 2017. This represents a 7.57% increase.
Year 2018 payments being made for two relatively recent construction/improvement projects contribute significantly to the budget; Twenty-14 street project payment of $110,388 and the North Industrial Park payment of $24,989.
The draft shows an 18% increase in the Police Department budget which has recently been under budgeting. As in the past, the city of Lanesboro will provide one-third of the net police department expense. A decision has not yet been made on the possible additional contracting with the city of Fountain for the provision of police services there. An agreement with Fountain could help spread the cost and provide a savings for both Preston and Lanesboro.
There will be further discussion of the 2018 budget at the September 5 meeting of the city council. At the September 18 meeting, the preliminary levy will need to be approved. The final levy numbers to be considered in December can show a reduction, but not an increase from the preliminary numbers.
Disabled parking spot
Linda Mathison, owner of the building at 131 St. Paul St. S which houses Fit Express and Active Physical Therapy, originally requested a physically disabled parking spot to be located on St. Paul St. S. The approval of Fillmore County is required for the St. Paul St. location. County Engineer Ron Gregg reviewed the city’s recommendation. The county indicated it will not agree to a physically disabled parking spot mid-block without an adjacent ramp.
Mathison has now requested a physically disabled parking spot on Main St. SW. The council this day adopted unanimously ordinance 278 to establish a parking zone in the 200 block of Main St. SW. The ordinance restricts parking on the north side of the 200 block of Main St. SW to vehicles bearing a disability plate or certificate.
Other business in brief
• Annie Lewis provided an update of National Trout Center activities in 2017. She indicated the NTC has made significant progress both with membership and programming. She requested the funding from the city be continued in 2018 at the same level as in 2017.
• At the last meeting, City Administrator Joe Hoffman had presented a quote from Preston Iron Works in the amount of $1,050 for ramp railing in front of city hall. The railing is an American Disability Act requirement. It was suggested that options for a more decorative railing be provided. Several design options were offered this day. The council by consensus decided to get an estimate on railings designed similar to those in front of the library.
• Councilman Robert Maust requested a feasibility study for a street project near the post office. Hoffman was directed to contact City Engineer Brett Grabau to get an estimate and timeline on a feasibility report.
• A gambling permit for VFW Post 6893 for Turkey Bingo on November 18 was approved.
• A gambling permit for the Preston Fire Department ATV raffle to be held on September 16 was approved with no waiting period.
• The next city council meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 5, at 6 p.m.