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Preston council gives go ahead for new pumper truck

Fri, Feb 8th, 2008
Posted in Government

Jerry Olson, Preston Fire Department, asked the Preston City Council to approve funding for their portion of responsibility toward the purchase of a new pumper truck at the February 4 meeting. Olson explained that the pumper to be replaced was thirty-five years old and that the other one was seventeen years old. Mayor Kurt Reicks pointed out that the city pays for half of the cost and the other half is the township's share. The township will meet in the next few weeks for their approval. Olson expects that with this purchase the fire department shouldn't need to replace another pumper truck for ten or fifteen years.

City Administrator Joe Hoffman added that the city's half is about $130,000. The city puts money aside each year in a fund for this purpose. However, the total on hand including the 2008 truck fund would be approximately $56,000. Hoffman said that the balance of just over $74,000 would be financed with an interfund loan. Councilman Robert Sauer suggested that the current yearly set aside be increased so that an adequate fund can be established for the next purchase in ten or fifteen years.

Reicks noted that the truck will come fully equipped and ready for use. The council approved the use of their share of the funds toward the purchase contingent upon the township approving their portion.

Liquor License

Edward Olson asked the council to amend the city ordinance in order to allow for a second Off-Sale Liquor License in Preston. He argued that it would bring competition, lower prices, and three or four part time jobs to the city. He noted that Harmony and Lanesboro each have two licensees and Chatfield has three. The liquor store would be a separate entity from the One Stop. Councilman Jon Haugan expressed concern for the solvency of the current licensee, Preston Liquor Store. Olson insisted that he couldn't be concerned with that, that free enterprise brings competition. Several like businesses in town deal with competition.

Rhonda Wangen, Preston Liquor Store, noted that no business in the state is more regulated than liquor and another competitive Off-Sale business would hurt them. In her opinion another store would not bring any additional business to other Preston businesses. She made it clear that they did not have the funds or room to add a bar to their store.

Joe Hoffman responded that tonight they should just discuss the possibility of changing the ordinance. He said that it would be possible to change the ordinance and still not issue any more licenses. Councilman David Harrison felt there wasn't any need for a second or third license. He noted that with the exception of Bootleg in Chatfield, the licenses in Harmony, Lanesboro, and Chatfield are all paired with other businesses.

Mayor Reicks asked if anyone wanted to make a motion to amend the ordinance to add a second or third license. No motion was made, no action was taken.

Other Business

• The five year contract with S & S Sanitation discussed at the January 22 meeting was given final approval.

• Joe Hoffman asked the council to consider the application from Community Charities of Minnesota requesting a two year premise permit for conducting lawful gambling at the B & B Olympic Bowl. The statewide charity is in 35 cities across the state. Reicks wanted to know how much of the money stays local. Councilman Heath Mensink noted that the charity has put money toward playground equipment, the tennis courts and the school. Council members asked Hoffman to check out the charity's revenues and expenses and report back at the next meeting.

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