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Preston approves bond sale for 2014 street projects

Fri, Jul 11th, 2014
Posted in Preston Government

At the July 7 Preston City Council meeting, Mike Bubany, David Drown and Associates, informed the council that the city’s favorable “AA/Stable” Standard and Poor’s rating had been reaffirmed. Councilman David Harrison was absent.

The city received five bids for the $4.15 million bond sale. A resolution to approve the lowest cost bond sale bid from Robert W. Baird & Co. was unanimously adopted. The bond is to be repaid over 15 years with a net interest rate of 2.76 percent. The average tax levy needed to service the bond each year will be approximately $268,000.

Nehemiah Family Services

The Planning and Zoning commission had held a public hearing on the application from Nehemiah Family Services to hold substance abuse counseling sessions. The sessions are to be held on Sunday afternoons at the Preston United Methodist Church. City Administrator Joe Hoffman explained this would be under the umbrella of a health clinic which is a permitted conditional use in R-2 districts. There was no comment from the public at the P & Z meeting.

Pastor Billy Edwards spoke about the licensed outpatient treatment program. He said the church board approved the use of the church for the support group sessions. The council approved the CUP as recommended by P & Z with no conditions.

Revolving Loan Approved

Craig Bond and Justin Jones had requested a loan from the EDA revolving loan fund to aide in their purchase of equipment and inventory at Preston Service Plus. Jones and Bond LLC are purchasing the building, land, and business from the current owners. The bank and the EDA are not participating in the land purchase.

The EDA loan ($21,250) will be in second position to F & M Bank. The revolving loan is to be paid back over five years at 2.5 percent interest. Jones has worked for Service Plus for 17 years. The EDA loan will help with the succession of an existing business in the city. The loan was approved as recommended by the EDA.

Prior to the loan approval the revolving loan limit was raised from $15,000 to $25,000. EDA Director Cathy Enerson said the $15,000 figure was a bit low for participation in equipment purchases. Hoffman said the EDA cannot lend out more than is in the fund, so the higher cap will likely mean fewer loans. The amendment to raise the cap, amending the guidelines, on the commercial incentive plus improvement revolving loan fund was approved as presented.

Other Business In Brief

•Police Chief Matt Schultz requested approval for a one time payment for the Law Enforcement Technology Group (LETG) system in the amount of $3,507.90. The purchase of the records management system was approved last September. At that time the city paid $2,350.99 for installation and connection to the system.

Schultz noted that all the departments in the county are now using this system, adding it works wonderfully and streamlines the process. Approval for purchase of the software was given and the funds will come out of the police department’s forfeiture account. This account is used for paying overtime, training, and equipment purchases.

•Two resolutions were adopted moving the North Industrial Utility Improvement process forward. The improvements include utility extensions for Preston Dairy and Farm and Gehling. Hoffman maintained that the city reserves the right to assess all or a portion of this project at a later time. One resolution ordered the preparation of a report for the improvements and the other resolution called for a public hearing on the proposed improvements. The public hearing was set for July 21 in council chambers at 6 p.m.

•Enerson explained to the council that there are seven single family lots in a subdivision (Anderson lots) near the golf course that are coming up for public sale as tax forfeited land. She noted they could be conveyed to the city if they were to be used for a public purpose, but suggested public space is not the best use for these properties. Councilman David Collett remarked that we don’t need more parks.

If single family homes were built on the individual lots, it could increase the city’s population and tax base. Enerson said the EDA has recommended purchase of the lots at public auction to help assure that they remain individual lots.

Councilman Robert Maust asked why we would want to get into the real estate business. Hoffman said there was a concern that two or three lots may be purchased for one home. Enerson insisted it was preferable to have seven homes rather than three, giving the city a better return on its investment for sewer, water, and streets. Councilman Charles Sparks commented that we should consider it, because we don’t want to look back later and realize we should have looked at it.

Mayor Kurt Reicks suggested they wait until the next meeting until they know what market value the county assessor puts on the lots. The market value information was to be available the next day. The city staff was directed to continue to look into the issue.

•Hoffman said the city staff has been in contact with the Catholic Church about diagonal parking in front of the church. He noted that streets are being narrowed where they are excessively wide to uniform street widths, because of the increased cost of wider streets. If the street is narrowed to a standard width, diagonal parking would no longer be possible on the street. The city staff will work out a solution with the church.

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