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Preston Fire Department to manage gambling

Fri, May 9th, 2008
Posted in Government

At the May 5 Preston City Council meeting, council members considered three proposals submitted by local organizations applying for the opportunity to manage gambling activities at the B & B Bowl. Several months ago the council had decided to try to have the gambling managed by a local organization so that most all of the proceeds could be used to fund local charities.

The owner of the B & B Bowl prefers that the organization would not only fund its own needs, but also donate portions to other local charities and non-profits. The three applying organizations included the Fire Department, Maple Leaf Services (formally FCHS,Inc.), and the Fillmore Central Booster Club. After some reluctance to pick only one of each of the deserving organizations, the council voted to go with the Fire Department as they seemed most willing to donate portions to other community charities. The sharing of some of the profits proposed by the Fire Department seemed to honor the wishes of the owner of the B & B Bowl. The business hopes the gambling will draw more people into the establishment and benefit it as well.

Councilman Heath Mensink expanded on the proposal of the Fire Department, but abstained from the vote as he is on the Fire Department's Gambling Committee. All twenty-four members of the Fire Department who are all Preston residents would vote on which non-profits would receive donations. Most of the profits would go to support the department's "truck fund," an account for future truck and equipment purchases. The department expects that the profits retained by the fire department will allow them to decrease the amount of funds to be requested from the city and townships. The vote selecting the Fire Department was unanimous with Mensink abstaining.

Pumper Truck

Fire Chief Jerry Olson offered five bids for a new pumper truck. Olson recommended the second lowest bid, primarily because the truck can be built in less than half the time as the lowest bid. He stressed that the current pumper needs to be replaced as soon as possible. The bid from Custom Truck, Osceola, Wisconsin, was for $266,780.

Councilman Robert Sauer was concerned about the difference of several thousand dollars for the second lowest bid. Mayor Kurt Reicks explained that the city would only pay their limit of $130,000, essentially the same for each of the two lowest bids. The difference would be paid by the fire department. This satisfied Sauer as the Preston tax payers would pay the same either way.

City Attorney Dwight Luhmann said that the second lowest bid could be accepted by the city if tax payers wouldn't need to pay more. He also was concerned about fairness to the vendors who submitted bids. Luhmann suggested that the council should be specific on why the lowest bid is not being accepted. The council approved the acceptance of the second lowest bid as the low bidder failed to provide a "beavertail" attachment which was requested in the order, delivery time was excessive, and the second lowest bidder could provide more rapid repair and maintenance.

Other Business

• The council passed a resolution supporting Fillmore County's efforts to develop a Hazard Mitigation Plan. City Administrator Joe Hoffman will serve as the liaison between the county and Preston and attend meetings during the planning process. Hoffman said that the support doesn't obligate the city in any way, but it could eventually give the city access to grant funds to help it acquire properties in the flood plain.

• Hoffman noted that the city received seventeen applications for summer help. He recommended that Dusty Mueller again be hired as he has worked for the city in past summers and has done a good job. Mueller was approved for hire.

• The closing of Main Street between St. Paul and St. Anthony was approved for Trout Days from Friday, May 16 at 6:00 PM to Saturday, May 17 at 9:00 PM.

• The one bid for the city's old street sweeper was accepted in the amount of $3,500. However, Hoffman said that they had hoped to get more.

• Hoffman said that the city had advertised for a joint EDA and Tourism Director and after receiving a number of applications, it was decided by the subcommittee that none of the applicants were a good fit. Therefore, it was decided to contract again with the Southeast Consultants Inc. a subsidiary of SEMDC, Chatfield. This is a short term contract until the end of the year. Tourism is still looking for a director.

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