City Engineer Brett Grabau listed streets that may be included in the 2021 Street and Utility Improvement Project at the city council’s March 16 meeting.
Grabau noted that he met with city staff in early February to discuss needed surface and subsurface improvements. Multiple areas were identified totaling about 2.35 miles of streets. The proposed streets include portions of Chatfield Ave. Washington St., Cottage Grove St., Park Lane, Center St., Pleasant St., St. Anthony St., St. Paul St., Preston St., North St., Spring St., Brownsville St., Valley St., and Maple St.
The proposed project areas, which include north central, northeast, and southeast portions of Preston, are most likely larger than can be feasibly constructed and financed in 2021, but these areas will all be considered in the feasibility report.
Stantec Consulting Services, Inc. will be compensated for the production of the feasibility report on an hourly basis, not to exceed a total cost of $13,951. A public hearing is tentatively scheduled for June. The council unanimously approved the feasibility study through Stantec for the 2021 Street and Utility Improvement Project.
City Administrator Joe Hoffman led a discussion on preparations to deal with COVID-19. The disease is caused by the coronavirus. About 80% of people who contract the disease will have no symptoms or relatively mild symptoms. However, 16-20% will experience a serious illness. Those over 60 or with underlying chronic medical conditions are at higher risk of a serious illness, which could require hospitalization and/or intensive care.
The disease is spread through respiratory droplets. People are strenuously advised to wash hands frequently with soap and water. Try not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends maintaining a 6-foot distance from another person in public. The White House has now recommended to avoid groups of more than 10 people, unnecessary travel, and the frequenting of bars and restaurants. Governor Tim Walz ordered that bars and restaurants be closed temporarily to dine-in customers. Service to carryout customers can continue. The CDC website is a good source of information about the coronavirus.
Hoffman said staff is confident that they will be able to maintain public utilities (water, sewer, and electrical). Multiple employees are cross trained. They are taking a lot of small, precautionary measures. He encourage people to contact city hall by phone and to use the drop box. Outside crews will limit their contact with the public (meter changes). Conferences and outside meetings have been canceled.
Most of the staff has sufficient leave time banked and the city will work with anyone who does not have leave time. People need to stay home if they are ill.
Hoffman spoke about “panic” buying. The nation’s food supply is robust. He suggested panic buying has been in part driven by conflicting messages. Hand sanitizers work well, but soap and water is best for hand washing. Preston Foods will deliver groceries. Hoffman maintained that it is important to support our businesses here in town.
If you are concerned about your health, contact your doctor. If you are concerned about getting food and/or household goods, you can contact city hall and they will help you find assistance. Look after your friends and neighbors. We can get through this by pulling together as a community.
Other business in brief
•Ambulance Director Ryan Throckmorton detailed the final quote for the 2020 ambulance purchase. The 2020 Ram D-4500 4 x 4 chassis, body built by American Emergency Vehicles, additional optional items, and delivery bring the total cost to $219,791.00. Less trade-in of the 2008 ambulance ($30,000), the net price quote from Premier Specialty Vehicles for the new ambulance is $189,791.00. The purchase of the ambulance with trade-in as presented was approved. Delivery expected in about six months.
•The Trout Days Fireworks agreement with J & M Displays and permit were approved with the recognition that fireworks scheduled for May 16 may be canceled due to the coronavirus. The contract will not be sent in yet, as there is a low percentage chance that this show will take place. The council granted the mayor and staff authority to postpone Trout Days, as necessary.
•Sarah Monroe, Fillmore County Victim Services, has requested permission to place teal ribbons on the light poles for the month of April to create awareness of sexual assault and the resources available to those that have been victimized. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The request was approved.
•Approval was given for the purchase of road salt for the winter of 2020-2021. The recommendation from Jim Bakken, Public Works, is to purchase a minimum of 25 ton.
•A second amendment was approved for the option agreement to extend the option through May 31 with the State of Minnesota for the veterans home site, as requested by the state.
•The next city council meeting will be held on April 6. The second meeting in April will be held on April 20 along with the Local Board of Appeal and Equalization.