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Preston adopts sidewalk maintenance policy

Mon, Feb 27th, 2012
Posted in Preston Features

City Administrator Joe Hoffman explained at the city council’s February 21 meeting that the city has abided by an established unwritten sidewalk policy for some time. However, the League of Minnesota Cities has recommended the council adopt a formal sidewalk maintenance policy.

It will be up to the public works director, Jim Bakken, to make a schedule for routine inspections. He will also establish criteria which will determine if a sidewalk requires repair or replacement. Inspections are usually conducted in May or June. If there is a difference in elevation of more than one inch, a sidewalk will likely be placed on a priority list for replacement or repair.

Hoffman explained the schedule for repair or replacement will be balanced by what is reasonable, taking into account both public safety and available resources. The priority list for repair or replacement will be influenced by many additional factors including, but not limited to, location to other poor condition sidewalks, pedestrian use, history of complaints, and to what extent “the cost of repair can be recovered from adjacent property owners.”

Mayor Kurt Reicks remarked that the policy reflects what we have kind of been doing. The policy was adopted.

Other Business In Brief

•The council approved sending a letter of support to the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation and Valspar for the Preston Historical Society’s application for a grant of paint for the caboose restoration.

•The CEDA Economic Development Services Contract for 2012 was approved as recommended by the EDA. The contract covers the services of Cathy Enerson for five days per month. There is an increase cost of 1.5 percent, or a total of $25,476. The Preston Public Utilities shares in the cost, paying one third. Hoffman said Enerson does a lot of work behind the scenes and meets with businesses. Reicks added her efforts are “a real asset to the community.”

•The 2012 Preston Housing Incentive was approved. In 2011, two of the three housing improvement projects were approved and all three existing home purchases were approved.

The program represents a partnership between the Preston EDA, the Preston Public Utilities, city government, and the Preston Golf and Country Club.

•Hoffman noted contributions by the city council are made through the waiving of building permit fees. City Attorney Dwight Luhmann representing the EDA said it has been budgeted and believes it is worthwhile. The incentives are for new construction, existing housing for new residents, and rehabilitation or housing improvement incentives. The program allows for a total of nine applications. Each program offers up to two trees from the city. The EDA budget for the program includes $4,800 plus administration cost for the incentives.

•Hoffman updated the council on the committee’s progress concerning the city hall remodel. The committee has decided on a U-shaped council table and has discussed TVs and projector screens. The city will advertise for quotes to do the interior work in the council room and the city office.

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