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Preston to spruce up council chambers

Fri, Feb 22nd, 2008
Posted in Government

City Administrator Joe Hoffman received the go ahead from the Preston City Council at their February 19 meeting to do some research on costs and ideas for remodeling the city council chambers. Councilman David Harrison was absent.

Hoffman explained that over the last ten years portions of city hall have been remodeled. The council chambers is in line to be updated and brightened. Hoffman listed several possible changes including sheetrock to replace dark paneling, a realignment of the lighting, a new suspended ceiling, an opening up of the space, audio and visual aid improvements, and a horseshoe or L-shaped council table. The degree of work will depend on the costs. Hoffman added that money has been set aside for improvements already. Mayor Kurt Reicks noted that this will be the last step in remodeling the city offices.

Historical Society

Richard Petsch informed the council that the historical society has been turned down for the T-21 grant which could have been as much as $200,000. They had hoped to use the funds to add structures to the elevator site. However, the Preston Historical Society is to receive a $9,000 grant from the Minnesota Historical Society for the purpose of transcription to the written word from forty-six cassette tapes made in 1978. This will provide a permanent record. He hopes to burn CDs from the audio tapes.

Petsch expects the historical society to spend $4,500 of their money on top of the grant to complete the work. He assured the council that no city money would be needed. He requested and received approval from the council to authorize the city to be the applicant for the grant and in doing so the city would act as a fiscal agent. Petsch plans to make duplicates of the CDs available to people who want them.

B & B Bowl Charitable


At the last council meeting, Joe Hoffman was tasked with finding out how much of the money obtained by the Community Charities of Minnesota at the B & B Bowl remained in the community. The permit has been for two years and is to be renewed by April 1. Hoffman explained that Community Charities had netted about $8,600 and about $3,600 of that went to charities elsewhere in the state with about $5,000 staying in the Preston area.

Hoffman said that because Community Charities operated in 35 cities, they had a combined net revenue that caused them to pay a large portion of their intake to the state of Minnesota in taxes. That amount from the B & B Bowl was about $6,700. Hoffman suggested that with a local organization running the pull tab gambling that it may be possible to put as much as $16,000 back into the community through local charities.

Hoffman listed the following options open to the council including renewing the permit as it has been, renewing with the passing of a city ordinance requiring all the net funds to be spent locally, solicit another operator for the charitable gambling, or to do nothing. Reicks added that time is limited to maintain the gambling at the bowling alley without interruption. No action was taken giving Hoffman more time to pursue options for the next meeting.

Street Grader

Joe Hoffman advised the council that the city needs a different street grader. The present machine is a 1978 model, small and requires a lot of maintenance. He suggested that Public Works Director Bill Cox could look for a newer used unit. Hoffman added that the city has been setting aside $27,000 per year for such purchases. Reicks asked whether a dump truck with a blade and wing would be more of use to the city. He suggested that the city could subcontract the grading of Center Street and River Road. Hoffman explained that the grader is very efficient in moving snow. Council members agreed to ask Cox and the Street Supervisor to give their opinion on this discussion at the next meeting.

Other Business

• Matt Schultz was the only applicant for the vacancy on the Planning and Zoning Board. It was noted that he has been a part time contractor by trade, lives in town, and has built homes in town. The council approved his appointment.

• Brett Grabau requested the fourth payment be made to the contractor for the 2007 Street Improvements. He stated that the only work left is landscape restoration in the spring and the laying of the wear course of pavement. The council approved the payment as recommended by the city engineer and city staff.

• Francis Galles announced that there is to be a meeting Monday morning with Holly Zuck and Joe Hoffman to discuss a questionnaire to be sent out with utility bills. They hope to get people thinking and to get participation from the public for future use of the nursing home.

Galles suggested that the city try to clean out driveway entrances after the street snow plow goes through and fills them. Reicks said that he understood the situation, but that this would open up a "can of worms." He added that it is a problem that comes with Minnesota winters for me and everyone, but didn't feel the city could take on this task.

• The 2008 and 2009 contract for Fillmore Family Resources Victim Liaison Services was approved with an increased fee of $400 from $200. This is the first increase in about fifteen years. The increase is due to increasing costs.

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