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Preston selects McGhie and Betts to develop comprehensive plan

Fri, Jun 21st, 2013
Posted in Preston Government

By Karen Reisner

City Administrator Joe Hoffman at the council’s June 17 meeting reported that eight proposals were received to complete a comprehensive plan for the city. Councilman David Harrison was absent.

Planning and Zoning had reviewed all the proposals and narrowed the number to three. These three were interviewed by phone. They all were on the lower end of the cost scale which ranged from $10,500 to $25,000. Post interviews, P and Z recommended McGhie and Betts.

McGhie and Betts had the lowest bid and their proposal allowed for considerable public input. The last comprehensive plan was completed in the 1990s. In 2009, due to budget issues, developing a new plan was postponed. P and Z had requested in 2012 to have funds for a new plan included in the 2013 budget.

Hoffman said the document provides a guide for the city’s growth and a vision for future land use development. The plan can look beyond the city boundaries to identify areas appropriate for growth.

Kristi Clarke, McGhie and Betts, noted her firm was 67 years old. Her job would include interacting with the community to learn what the community wants. Clarke had spent some time prior to the meeting taking pictures around town and commented that there are a tremendous amount of outdoor opportunities in the city. Three work shops are planned. She said the comprehensive plan would be able to be updated internally by the city’s staff as changes occur. Several maps would be included along with two key maps, zoning and future land use maps.

The intention is to have the final document completed to be approved in March, 2014. Hoffman said a comprehensive plan is important to the operation of the city. The council unanimously accepted the McGhie and Betts proposal.

2012 Audit

Pam Ristau reviewed the 2012 audit. She said everything is in compliance. The city’s assets increased $77,308 in 2012. The city has a strong stable fund balance overall and at least six months worth of operational flow.

Ristau admitted she was two months late and said for that reason there will be a reduction in the bid. She explained her office has been behind and is at fault. She made it clear that it was not the city staff’s fault. The council accepted the audit as presented. The audit was received, reviewed and accepted this day in order to meet the State’s reporting deadline.

Other Business In Brief

•Hoffman reported that Preston was approved for funding through a Small Cities Development Program (SCDP) grant in the amount of $471,250. SCDP provides a funding source for housing, infrastructure, and commercial rehabilitation projects. The grant funds will be used to renovate the Vesterheim apartments and fifteen owner occupied homes in the city.

•There will be a special Preston City Council meeting at 6 pm on Tuesday, June 25. The National Trout Center will be the only item on the agenda. Councilman Robert Maust insisted that members of the NTC board of directors need to attend that meeting.

•The council voted to authorize the annual contribution in the amount of $2,500 to the Preston Historical Society. A resolution proclaiming July to be Preston History Month and to encourage members of the community to join the PHS was adopted.

•A motion was approved to offer Preston Iron Works a job to fabricate four garbage cans for the downtown square area. With the bonnet they would cost about $575 each which is comparable to other possible sources. The council wants the garbage cans by July 20. Mayor Kurt Reicks said he preferred to buy the cans locally when it would be about the same money. The council will consider offers from groups that would like to sponsor a garbage can.

•Trish Keating suggested Family Fun Night be moved to the 100 block of Main Street for safety concerns and also it would be more shaded. The council approved the barricading or closure of the street on July 11 and August 8 for fun night which is from 5 pm to 8 pm.

•A bid of $1,120 from Tollefson Painting was approved to paint walls in city hall that were not repainted during the recent remodel.

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