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Preston to receive DEED grants

Fri, Jun 6th, 2014
Posted in Preston Government

City administrator Joe Hoffman announced at the city council’s June 2 meeting that the city had just received notification of grant awards from DEED (Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development). Mayor Kurt Reicks and Councilman David Harrison were absent.

Hoffman noted the value of EDA Director Cathy Enerson’s efforts in making the nearly half million dollars to be used for infrastructure a reality. She was instrumental in preparing the applications for Greater Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure Program grants.

One grant in the amount of $137,000 will be used to provide about 50 percent of the cost of the infrastructure for Preston Dairy and Farm Association which has plans to move north and west of the intersections of Highways 16 and 52. The money will be used to defray part of the costs for sanitary sewer, water main, electric, and engineering.

The second grant is in the amount of $350,000 to go toward infrastructure to create a new industrial park just west and south of the intersections of Highways 52 and 16. Two businesses, Bluff Country Manufacturing and JMS Agronomics, would like to move their businesses to the new industrial park. The grant will help pay for sanitary sewer, water main, storm pond, roadway, electric, and engineering costs.

The DEED grants allow the city to move forward with its plans for the new industrial park. One point of contention has been the location of the retention pond. There has been a consensus among council members that they didn’t want the pond to be located within the industrial park.

Hoffman explained that they had met with Jerald Wingert and he appears to be a willing seller of the needed land, so the pond can be located on the east side of Highway 52. Hoffman recommended that the council authorize the city engineer to do a feasibility study for the pond in that location. He also recommended that Kurt Reicks, Robert Maust, City Attorney Dwight Luhmann, and himself form a committee to negotiate the sale of the land on behalf of the council.

A motion to go ahead with the feasibility study was approved.

Maust said they are making progress on this and Hoffman agreed that everything seems to be falling into place, as they are in a much better position than they were just a week ago.

Bonding for Twenty-14

Street Project

Mike Bubany, David Drown and Associates, detailed financing plans for the 2014 Improvement Project. The debt is to be structured as a General Obligation Improvement bond issue in the amount of $4,150,000 to be paid over 15 years at an estimated interest rate of about 2.55 percent. The interest rate may be up or down from that in a month or so when the bids are taken, but it will be a fixed rate. The city expects to certify special assessments in excess of 20 percent of the borrowed amount. Annual payments are estimated to be about $333,000.

At the July 7 meeting bids will be presented for the council’s approval. A resolution authorizing David Drown to solicit bids for the competitive negotiated sale of the bonds was adopted.

Other Business In Brief

•The draft of a new Comprehensive Plan for the city of Preston is now complete. Public comments on the draft plan are requested to be back by Friday, June 13. A public hearing on the draft plan is expected to be held on June 25 at 5 p.m. at the Community Room at F & M Bank.

•The city hired Sarah Wangen as the new tourism director. She will start this week and will work 30 hours per week from May through October and 15 hours per week from November through April. There had been six applications of which three had been interviewed for the position.

•Jim Bakken gave an update on the 2014 Improvement Project. A set of steps at the corner of Preston Street and St. Paul Street going north and south will be replaced at an estimated cost of $1,000.

“Carriage walks” were discussed. Engineers wanted to know if they should be eliminated or replaced. The bid included the replacement of the existing walks. Some are steep and will require some steps. It was decided to contact property owners to see if they wanted them replaced on their individual properties.

Hoffman said updates concerning the project can be found by going to the city’s website and clicking on a link for updates on the Twenty-14 Project to get pictures and updates.

•The next council meeting on June 16 will be held an hour later at 7 p.m. as requested by David Harrison.

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