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Preston will blacktop Industrial Drive

Fri, Jan 11th, 2008
Posted in Government

PRESTON - The Preston City Council voted at their January 7, 2008 meeting to proceed with blacktopping Industrial Drive in the Industrial Park.

General Manager Richard Eichstadt of POET Biorefining (Pro-Corn, LLC) had first requested an improvement to Industrial Drive at Preston's October 16, 2007, meeting. The reason is for dust control. The request is to have it blacktopped from where the blacktop currently ends for an additional 300 feet to the east. City Administrator Joe Hoffman had suggested in October that Industrial Drive was ranked a low priority for street improvement. The city council decided to have Hoffman work with the city engineer to look at the project at that time.

Bonestroo and Associates estimate the pavement extension to cost $15,597.00. The total project cost with engineering would be about $17,472.00. Hoffman stated that if the city would assess 40% of the cost, about $10,500 would need to be paid for by the city. Councilman David Harrison asked if the city has the funds. Hoffman explained that it would need to be taken out of the street fund and would probably require the city to reduce the number of bituminous overlays that are planned.

No public hearing will be necessary as the three property owners involved agree to pay their portion of the assessment costs including Ron Scheevel ($2,912) POET Biorefining ($3,494), and SE MN Ethanol Coop ($582).

Hoffman noted that POET Biorefining is the largest tax payer for the city. He went on to admit that the paving of 300 feet of Industrial Drive in itself does not have a lot of gain for the city. Councilman Robert Sauer praised the ethanol plant for being an asset to the city and a good neighbor. Sauer made a motion to initiate the process for the improvement. The motion was approved.

Historical Society

Richard Petsch and Marc Sather asked the council to support the Preston Historical Society in their effort to get project funding through a Transportation Equity Act (TEA-21) for a cost share grant in the amount of somewhere between $100,000 to $250,000. Petsch circulated some pictures from the 1930's which showed some auxiliary structures including a bagging shed, scale house, and dock with the elevator. The society would like to build the rebuild the structures.

Sather explained that they would need to go to the Fillmore County Commissioners on Tuesday to request their support to work with the county engineer's office to administer the grant. This grant usually requires a city with a population of at least 5,000 to qualify.

If the grant were awarded the match for the city would be 20%. The Historical Society would make every effort to raise the funds for the match, but couldn't guarantee their success. Sather anticipates the money would need to be available in 2009 if they were to be awarded the grant. Mayor Kurt Reicks complimented the members of the society on their work so far and added that the elevator is an asset to the community.

Petsch explained that the grant would just be for the buildings. The society has received the donation of a railroad box car from an associate of the DM & E and they hope to raise money to purchase a caboose, but these additions would not be part of the grant.

The council voted to lend their support and authorize their commitment of up to $50,000 for the cost share.

Other Business

• At the December 17 meeting the Fillmore County DAC had requested that a forty foot Physically Disabled Parking Zone be established in front of Thrifty Threads at 106 Main Street SE. Council members were concerned about a possible effect on other businesses nearby. Hoffman said that he talked to three business owners on the same side of the street and they expressed no concerns or objections. A resolution was approved establishing the zone.

• Michelle Vrieze asked the council to sign on to a county wide cooperative agreement for the Small Cities Development Program (SCDP) Application for 2008. The availability of the grant funds will be known on April 1, 2008. Hoffman noted that the 1995 grant was a success and improved the appearance of the commercial district. Preston is applying for five commercial projects. Each commercial project has a dollar limit of $30,000. Other cities applying for either commercial or owner occupied rehabilitation include Canton, Chatfield, Harmony, Mabel, and Ostrander. The resolution was approved.

• The Republican Leader offered the low quote and was named the city's official paper for 2008.

• The Joerg Law Office was the only law office to submit proposals for city attorney. Dwight Luhmann will again serve as Preston's city attorney for 2008. Joerg's office gave the city a choice of an hourly rate or an annual retainer. The council voted to accept the annual retainer, $12,960.00.

• The 2008 wage scale for city employees was approved with the 3% Cost of Living Adjustment.

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