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Tuesday, October 21st, 2014
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Preston supports current Renewable Fuel Standard


Fri, Jan 24th, 2014
Posted in Preston Government

The Preston City Council at their January 21 meeting authorized City Administrator Joe Hoffman to draft a letter on behalf of the city council to the Environmental Protection Agency to be signed by Mayor Kurt Reicks asking for continued support for homegrown biofuels. Councilman Robert Maust was absent.

In November of last year, the EPA proposed reducing volume obligations set by Congress. The proposal would reduced the total renewable fuel volume from 18.15 billion gallons to 15.21 billion gallons for 2014. The EPA also has proposed reducing the volume of advanced biofuels, those required to be “at least 50 percent improvement to gasoline for greenhouse gas emissions,” from 3.75 billion gallons to 2.2 billion gallons. This advanced pool of biofuels would include a proposed 17 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol and 1.28 billion gallons of bio-based diesel. These additional proposals would reduce the actual amount of grain-based ethanol to 13.01 gallons (last year’s number for grain-based ethanol was 13.8 billion gallons).

The EPA proposals have been presented for public comment (60 days) until January 28.

POET asked the city council for their support. They suggest the reduction in the volume would cause the plant to scale back on its production.

Mayor Reicks had attended a meeting with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and noted the concern that the reduction in volumes would have a negative economic impact and result in a loss of jobs. The MDA forecasts that there could be a loss of 1,500 jobs related to biofuels across the state and a $610 million economic loss. Reicks said any individual interested in sending comments can do so.

ADA Crosswalks

Fillmore County has proposed “bump-outs” to meet American with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards on pedestrian ramps when repairing St. Paul Street at the intersection with Main Street. Hoffman noted the county has determined it is too narrow to get the proper slope for the ADA ramps. To get enough slope the county proposed 6 foot pedestrian ramp bump-outs at the intersection. Site lines should be improved, but it will make the street narrower at the intersection (30 foot). It should be more visually appealing.

The county would share the cost 50-50. Hoffman didn’t see any other options to comply with the ADA standards. The proposal for the bump-outs was approved.

Other business in brief

•Approval was given for the purchase of 28 flower baskets at a cost of $32 each (total $900). Donations are accepted to sponsor a basket at $25 per basket. Hoffman said that in the past they have received about $400 in donations. There is $3,000 in the flower basket reserve. These reserve funds may need to be used to replace the golf cart used for watering the flowers in the next year or two.

Volunteers are needed to water the flowers on Saturday and Sunday. City summer help tend to the flowers during the work week.

•Ambulance Director Ryan Throckmorton reported that a grant had been applied for and received from the southeast Minnesota EMS. The grant will be used for IV supplies and training equipment. The total cost of the equipment will be $2,600 and the ambulance service will pay the first 25 percent or about $650. The rest will be covered by the grant up to $2,000.

•Volunteers are needed to replace Rob Mason who has moved out of town to head up Fillmore Street family activities during Trout Days, May 16-18. The Trout Day committee is seeking volunteers. A meeting will be held on January 27 at 6 p.m. at the B & B Bowl.

•Approval was given for Sheila Marzolf to attend the Municipal Clerks Conference on March 18-21 in St. Cloud. Hoffman may attend either one or both of the League Legislative Conference (St. Paul) and the League Annual Conference (St. Cloud). Council members may attend either of the League conferences if their schedules permit. Reicks said that the conferences are informative and worth the time.

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