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Preston approves feasibility study

Fri, Dec 20th, 2013
Posted in Preston Government

At the December 16 Preston city council meeting a feasibility study to determine the cost of infrastructure for a future industrial park on the Robert Doherty property south of the intersection of Highways 16 and 52 was approved contingent on an option agreement with Doherty. The next step now is for the EDA to negotiate the option.

Cathy Enerson, representing the EDA Board, explained there are two businesses interested in locating at the site, which has recently been rezoned Industrial. The study will determine sewer, water, and other infrastructure costs and is expected to cost $2,500 to $3,000. The Utility Commission would fund half of the cost of the study. The study will also be used for grant applications if it is found to be cost effective to develop the site to fund part of the necessary infrastructure.

The EDA plans a second option agreement with Doherty for the parcel above the Industrial site for a potential veterans care center.

Forestville Trail eminent domain case ends

On July 8, 2013 District Court Judge Jeffrey Thompson effectively reversed his ruling that he made over a year before. He decided that the state statute didn’t independently authorize this trail segment. The ruling was in favor of the Snyders and Ristaus.

The meeting was closed to discuss litigation concerning the eminent domain case which had been brought by the city of Preston against the Snyders and Ristaus to obtain land for the last leg of a state trail from Preston to Forestville State Park. The meeting was later reopened.

The council then authorized the City of Preston to pay Ristau-Snyder attorneys (Peterson, Logren, and Kilbury) $85,165.79 for attorney fees, costs, and disbursements as ordered by the court.

This ends the litigation that has been through numerous court proceedings over the last four years.

Other business in brief

•The 2014 levy for the City of Preston in the amount of $708,803 was approved. This represents a 5.3 percent increase or $36,078. Over half of the increase or 3.1 percent is related to new bonding costs for the large street improvement project being planned.

Councilmen David Collett and Robert Maust insisted the National Trout Center should manage its own budget and business by paying their own bills. Maust said that he wasn’t advocating pulling the city’s funding or support, but just that they run their own business. City Attorney Dwight Luhmann suggested it was alright for the NTC board to be responsible for their own day to day business as long as there is still the joint nature of the project with the city.

All the NTC expenses are to be consolidated to a single line item (251 account). The city’s support is to be dispersed on a monthly basis. The total going to the NTC from the EDA and city combined monthly would be about $2,500.

•Authorization was given to repair the 2006 B-ambulance rig at a cost up to $4,000. The city is planning to purchase a new ambulance for $175,000 minus trade available in late February. The trade-in value of the B-rig is $20,000 not running and $28,000 running.

•The purchase of a replacement wood chipper was approved for the state bid price of $27,937. The cost will be shared 50-50 with the Utility Commission. Jim Bakken explained that the old 1990 chipper had a major breakdown.

•The hire of three individuals interested in taking EMT classes was approved. The new hires include Grace Tienter, Kelly Whittington, and Heather Everson.

•Ambulance rates were increased as recommended by Ryan Throckmorton. The new rates will be $650 for the base rate ($50 increase) and $12 per loaded mile ($1.50 increase).

•The proposals for the official newspapers for 2014 were nearly identical. The council approved the Republican Leader and Bluff Country Reader as the official paper. The Fillmore County Journal has been for the past two years.

•Luhmann Law, LLC will be the city attorney for 2014 with an annual retainer of $18,000.

•City Hall will close at 12 noon on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

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