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Preston City Council Report: Preston replaces squad car damaged in flooding

Fri, Aug 31st, 2007
Posted in Government

PRESTON - Police Chief Matt Schultz briefed the Preston City Council at their August 27 meeting on the need to replace a squad car that was lost in the Rushford flooding.

Schultz said that an officer responded to the emergency in Rushford on Sunday, August 19. In addition to the Preston squad car, two Fillmore County squad cars and one Rushford police vehicle were also lost.

According to Schultz, insurance will cover the Blue Book value of the 2004 Impala as well as 100% of the equipment and its installation. The chief placed the value of equipment in the $12,000 to $15,000 range. He said that the state bid for a 2008 Impala was $18,253.

"I was going to come to you in a few months about the need to replace a squad," Schultz said, chuckling. "I guess we'll do it sooner."

Schultz said that he has funds in his budget which should cover the difference between the insurance claim and the new cost of a squad car. At present, the city has a squad car on loan from the state highway patrol.

The council approved the purchase.

2008 Budget

City Administrator Joe Hoffman submitted a preliminary budget to the council for 2008, totalling $1,384,990, up $66,642 (5.5 %) from 2007.

Hoffman explained that the budget increase is due in part to higher costs for health insurance and payroll salaries. Hoffman used a 3 percent cost of living adjustment as an assumption in working on the budget. Department spending increases ranged from 2.8 percent (library) to 9.88 percent (fire).

Since half the budget is paid through levy increases (the other half through local government aid) the city would need to increase the tax levy by $48,089 (9.27%) to balance the budget at $1,384,990.

The council asked Hoffman to meet with department heads and look at making additional cuts. To reduce the levy to 5 percent, cuts of $23,000 would need to be made.

The council will revisit the budget at their September 4 meeting in order to approve a preliminary levy by September 15.

Playground Equipment

Council member Heath Mensink reported that the Park Board will be installing new playground equipment at the ball fields sometime in late September or early October. The city has received $17,000 in donations for playground equipment which will cover these costs.

Mensink noted that the Park Board is interested in installing additional playground equipment at the Preston Trail Head, possibly next spring. He asked if the city is in a position to help fund an additional $7,000 to $9,000 for this.

Council member Jon Haugan suggested using any unused Tourism money at the end of the year. This would be funds levied by the city specifically for tourism. Haugan said they will have a better idea of how much money is left after the new Preston town signs are completed. The consensus of the council was that this was a good plan.

Mensink will bring the matter back to the council at a later date.

Other business

• The council approved a variance to Vernadine King to build a deck on the back of her house on Main St.

• The city will put out a request for proposals for the city's annual audit.

• The council approved the purchase of a mower to be bought together with the Preston Utilities Commission and the Park Board. The low bid of $7,730 was from K&R Equipment of Fountain.

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