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Public hearing set for CSAH 17 project

Fri, Feb 7th, 2014
Posted in Preston Government

Possible assessment levels were discussed concerning the CSAH 17 project at the Preston City Council’s February 3 meeting. Mayor Kurt Reicks was absent.

Fillmore County has proposed the rehabilitation and/or reconstruction of the portion of CSAH 17 between Fillmore Street and the south bridge within the city of Preston. The project is to include curb and gutter and pedestrian ramps, driveway aprons, and portions of adjacent sidewalks. At the Main Street intersection pedestrian ramps will be constructed with bump-outs to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The council adopted a resolution ordering the feasibility study. City Administrator Joe Hoffman explained that the county will pay half of the cost of the sidewalks that have to be cut back and replaced. The council could decide to assess all of the other half to property owners. Curb and gutter is usually assessed 40 percent to the property owner with the city paying the other 60 percent. Because the county will pay 50 percent on this project, the city could be responsible for only 10 percent with the rest being assessed to property owners.

The total project cost is roughly estimated to be $200,000 with the city’s portion being nearly $50,000 ($21,631 for sidewalks and $27,873 for curb and gutter). A resolution to accept the feasibility study and call for a public hearing to be held on February 18 in the city council chambers at 6 p.m. was approved.

Other business in brief

•Ron Schrier, representing the Fire Relief Association, asked the council to ratify the decision to increase the Fire Department Retirement from $1,300 to $1,500 per year of service. It has not been increased since 2007. When firefighters retire, they can receive a lump sum payment for each year of service. They are vested after 10 years at 50 percent.

Hoffman explained that the state has a formula setting limits for relief organizations on the amount of retirement that they can have. Schrier noted that the state could allow them to do up to $2,300. Hoffman said if the organization’s investments do well, the city may not have to provide a lot of aid. Schrier said they had $335,000 at the end of 2013 with total liabilities of $327,000. The proposal for an increase in Fire Department Retirement was approved.

•Cathy Enerson, EDA Director, explained that the EDA board has recommended the continuation of the Housing Incentive for 2014 with no changes from 2013. There were two new houses started in Preston in 2013. Incentives are for new construction (limit of three applications), existing housing for new residents (limit of three), and rehabilitation (limit of three).

The EDA board recommended an amendment to the EDA involving loan fund policies. Additional language was added stating that “gap financing for building purchases is reserved for building owners that intend on using the building for their own business and not for speculation or to sub lease the building.” The guidelines were approved with this additional clarifying language.

•Recommendations from the Fire Department for fire department officers were confirmed (Dave Keene as Fire Chief and Josh Ristau as Assistant Chief).

•Ambulance Director Ryan Throckmorton reported the write-offs for 2012 and 2013. For 2013 $42,642.06 will be written off. This is the difference between what is charged (the standard rates) and what private insurers or Medicare/Medicaid reimburse for a call. Uncollected accounts for 2012 result in write-offs in the amount of $3,605.81. These are debts unlikely to be collected, but it does not forgive the debt and collections can be pursued. Throckmorton noted they expect to write-off about 20 percent each year. The write-offs were accepted as presented.

•A $100 donation to the Post-Prom Committee was approved. The city has made the same donation for the last five years toward a safe and organized post-prom activity.

•There was a continued discussion on the city’s fee schedule, specifically the fee for sanding parking lots. The cost for sanding is mostly due to time and equipment and not the amount of sand. It was decided the current rates are fair and reasonable. No changes were made to the fee schedule.

•The next meeting of the Trout Days Committee will be on February 5, 6 p.m. at B & B Bowl.

•In a letter George Spangler provided updates on the National Trout Center. In 2013 the NTC received direct public support in the amount of $14,201 and it had a total of $1,650 in retail sales. There were 1,710 visitors in 2013 which is double the number of visitors in 2012. The NTC will pay an unexpected expense in the fourth quarter for unemployment insurance for last year’s program director. Spangler was present at the meeting.

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