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Preston Historical Society seeks bonding for further elevator restoration

Fri, Apr 10th, 2009
Posted in Government

Richard Petsch updated the council at their April 6 meeting on the efforts to obtain up to $450,000 from the sale of bonds through the state to further renovate the grain elevator to its 1916 condition. The plans include a bagging shed, scale house, and dock. The author of bill 1652 is Greg Davids and was referred by him to the Committee of Finance on March 12.

The funding to pay back the bonds would be made available by the sales tax increase approved in the November 2008 election. The Constitutional Amendment approved by the voters at that time mandated that the funds from the sales tax increase be used for the arts, historical and cultural projects, and parks and trails. Petsch noted that there is no guarantee that the Preston Historical Society will get the funds, but that the planned changes are what they are working for.

Mayor Kurt Reicks asked if it would help for the city to pass a resolution in support of the funding measure. Petsch agreed it would be helpful. A resolution in support of bill 1652 was approved.

Street and Alley Vacated

A public hearing was held to consider the petitions. Laverne Paulson submitted a petition to vacate the 800 block of Elizabeth Street south. Travis Ristau submitted a petition to vacate the alley between the 800 South Blocks of Jeremiah Street and Elizabeth Street.

City Administrator Joe Hoffman said that the petitions had been properly executed. Travis Ristau commented that he didn't want the alley to be a problem when it comes to building. No other citizen comments were made, none against the petitions.

The city will maintain a permanent easement for the installation and maintenance of utilities on the entire vacated portion of Elizabeth Street. The city will maintain a permanent easement for utilities on the North sixty feet of the vacated ally. Both petitions were approved. Hoffman noted that the only property that would be land locked was the Ristau lot and that the Ristau's were the petitioners.

Ordinance 10.99

Councilman Robert Sauer has been working on a change in language in city Ordinance 10.99. He explained that someone who has, for example, a zoning problem may be unaware of violating the ordinance, depending on the interpretation of the ordinance. Sauer referred to the U. S. Prohibition Amendment as an example of a law that was "bad public policy" because it wasn't enforceable. He remarked, "Sometimes the letter of the law is not real justice."

The changes or additions to Ordinance 10.99 are an effort to make enforcement of the city's ordinances less "rigid and punitive" and allow for "persuasion and mediation." The changes would give the violator notice to get into compliance. Sauer explained that the notice would be up front ahead of penalties. He suggested that the period of negotiation could save the city and the violator the cost of a court fight.

City Attorney Dwight Luhmann suggested that the ordinances as written make too many people guilty of misdemeanor offenses. Sauer added that if the violation can't be resolved with negotiation, then apply the penalty.

No action on the changes was taken this day.

Other Business in Brief

• Joe Hoffman suggested that a work group be formed to study the feasibility of acquiring the CenturyTel Building. He wants to explore the ways the city could use the building, like for offices and storage. He noted that the city rents storage space now. The building has been vacant for a couple of years. Reicks and Sauer volunteered to be part of the group. The Park Board and the Preston Utilities will be asked to have members volunteer for the group.

• A lease with T-Mobile was approved that will allow T-Mobile to put equipment on city owned property near the water tower. T-Mobile will pay $5,000 up front for 5 years and the contract can be renegotiated after that point to reflect the Consumer Price Index.

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