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Preston reviews city projects

Fri, May 24th, 2013
Posted in Preston Government

By Karen Reisner

City Administrator Joe Hoffman reviewed the progress on a variety of ongoing projects at the city council’s May 20 meeting. Councilman David Harrison was absent.

Hoffman said the city utility has authorized about $10,000 to televise sewer lines to determine their condition. The resolution of sewer issues is part of the Twenty-14 Street Project. At the March 18 meeting, the council ordered a feasibility study by the city engineer and a cost estimate for the improvements. The results of that study are expected this summer.

A number of additions to the power plant are being made to reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide. The goal is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 70 percent. Hoffman described the equipment, which acts like large catalytic converters. The total project cost is about $200,000 and is totally funded by Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (SMMPA). Hoffman called it a good upgrade. Also, the city utility has provided funds in their budget to have engineering done on the south substation, putting some lines under ground. This will be helpful for liability issues.

SWCD has received a grant to help redesign water flow at the trailhead area. Areas that need work have been identified and water flow has been mapped through the city. They are working on finalizing the design.

The council had authorized getting proposals for a new Comprehensive Plan at their April 1 meeting. Hoffman said they have received 8 proposals ranging in cost from $10,500 to $25,000. After reviews of the proposals, there will be a recommendation presented to the council at the June 3 meeting. The project is expected to begin in early July.

Hoffman discussed the retaining walls along St. Anthony Street which are failing. He said the staff will be meeting with the county to discuss the issue. The walls were built less than 10 years ago.

A quote for work on the crumbling downtown brick wall and the addition of garbage receptacles is expected to be discussed at the next meeting.

The National Trout Center (NTC) revised budget is to be presented at the June 17 meeting. The city’s audit will also be reviewed at that time.

No action was taken on any of the above items.

Other Business In Brief

•Hoffman said the South Branch Root River had crossed over flood stage at about 1:00 p.m. this day and has crested. The flooding resulted in a number of road closures around town. The city is anticipating some damage. The city may be subject to expense for work on West River Road.

•A joint powers agreement presented by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension will allow city officers access to the Minnesota Criminal Justice Data and Communication Networks. This will allow direct access to data by the city department. The amended agreement was approved pending final review by the city attorney.

•The council approved a NTC grant application to the DNR. The city will act as the government sponsoring unit, but will have no financial obligation.

The $13,000 grant is to be for two ped-a-cabs and related expenses. The idea is to run a bicycle taxi service from the NTC to a fishing spot along the bike trail. Councilman Charles Sparks said the service will be good for public relations and bring in additional people.

•Councilman Robert Maust detailed a plan for a tractor ride starting and ending at the Fillmore County Fairgrounds on each of two days, September 14 and 15. The purpose is to raise money for the Historical Society. Each day the 50 mile ride would start and end in Preston. The ride would be limited to 100 to 125 tractors. A fee of $50 would be charged for the two days. Maust said it would provide opportunities for other organizations. There will be support vehicles and it will run on county roads. He said the Fair Board is supportive of the event. People could camp at the fairgrounds for $20 per night.

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