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Bids approved for Ridge Road and Spring Avenue at Preston Council meeting

Fri, Jun 20th, 2003
Posted in Features

The Preston City Council at their June 16 meeting found itself with no attractive choices when the bids came in for two road projects. The low bid for Ridge Road was about $87,000 higher for the City's share of costs, approximately 27% more than previous estimates. Acceptance of the bid will require a raise in water and sewer rates and the costs will be shared by everyone in town. Only $4,000 of the bid will raise assessment levels, which will amount to less than one dollar increases per lineal foot.

The Spring Avenue bid came in only about 10% higher than estimates. The council voted to approve both project bids unanimously knowing that costs will likely only go up with any delay. State money may also not be available at a later date. Council member Mike Gartner said that they would “save both streets a lot of money to do it now” and all members agreed.

Historic Forestville

There was an active discussion about an article which appeared in another newspaper on June 9. Gartner was upset when he read in the newspaper that Preston had committed to donating $5,000. He declared, "That was not the way it was done." Apparently, people on the street were concerned also.

Dick Nelson requested that the minutes be read. This reporter agrees that the $5,000 figure was brought up in Nelson's resolution and that the council had agreed informally to 'match' any other city's donation up to $5,000. They had not voted on a resolution to that effect because city attorney Joerg wanted it to be in writing. So far, Wykoff has agreed to give $1,000. Nelson said that as of Friday about $35,000 had been raised. On the 20th of June a report will be offered to the Minnesota Historical Society. If they do not decide to proceed all money will be returned.

In a effort to keep the Historic Site open, the council passed a motion which states that Preston would 'match' the highest contribution made by a municipality (not private entities within a city) up to $5,000. Also, there would be a condition that the Historic Site remains open. At this point the amount to match would be $1,000, Wykoff's donation. Mayor Pechulis declared, "We are putting the bar out there."

Garbage Rate Increase

Tony Severson of S & S Sanitation requested the council approve a rate increase and an additional four years on his contract. The increase would amount to eighty-three cents which would put the rates at $14.61 for non-seniors and $14.11 for senior citizens. He explained that the county no longer does composting and asked that the references to that be deleted.

Gartner commented that the town is fortunate to have its own local garbage company. Severson said that he was recently approached with offers to buy him out. He assured the council that he didn't have a desire to sell and agreed that he needed council approval to sell. He explained that other cities average about $19 per month for the service. The council indicated it would approve his requests when a new contract with the changes was made.

A city wide clean-up like Chatfield has was discussed briefly. Severson said that it would be expensive and that it costs Chatfield about $17,000.

The council showed no enthusiasm for such a costly service.

New Truck

Dan Skadsem of Public Works explained the 'dire need' for a new plow truck. The present truck is twelve years old and has transmission and brake problems. These are reasons for liability concerns. City Administrator Fred Nagle suggested he look into a lease. Skadsem said a new truck would cost about $75,000. The council seemed to agree that new was less risky than buying used.

Rules of Order

Fred Nagle expressed the need for the council to adopt rules of order. He offered the three formal rules available: Robert's, the most well-known, most formal and complex; Sturgis, less formal; and Democratic, the simplest and least formal. Council member Jerry Scheevel agreed they should adopt one “to follow when there is a dispute.” City Attorney David Joerg noted that he has found Sturgis to be a good set of rules. Members are going to study the various choices and then decide which to adopt.

Telephone Bill

The mayor's $200 telephone bill that was charged to the city's credit card while he was on a trip for the city is still causing discourse among the council. Gartner said that he needed 'clarification and the public needs clarification.'

The mayor said the city has no policy. Pechulis called Lloyd Johnson, the city's auditor, about the controversy and Johnson told him that they should 'revert to the policy.' Pechulis said that a business gives you clear outlines.

Scheevel noted that this is not a corporation, 'this is a public entity.'

Gartner recommended that they “throw the card away. . . bring in receipts as we use to.” He said that a CUP 'shouldn't cost the city $100, but it cost the city $14,000' (Heartland).

Attorney Joerg explained that it depends whether calls are germane to city business.

All seemed to agree that the council needed to come up with a policy for the future.

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