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Preston City Council Report: Weather affects street work

Fri, Oct 19th, 2007
Posted in Government

PRESTON - The soggy weather conditions that are plaguing the area have continued to delay the 2007 street improvements. Preston City Council members approved a measure extending the contract for an open ended completion date at their October 16 meeting. Having already extended the date once before, the city's engineer, Joe Palen of Bonestroo, suggested in a letter to allow the contractor, Rochester Sand and Gravel, to "complete the project in a timely manner as the weather and site conditions permit."

Palen said that the contractor is doing everything reasonable and within their control to complete the work. Council member Jon Haugan noted that the crews have been working longer hours when the weather is favorable.

Audit Proposals

Lloyd Johnson, CPA, of Spring Valley, has audited the city of Preston for several years. He recently sold his business to Smith/Schafer and Associates, of Rochester, which has been in business since 1971. Johnson explained that a lot of standards have been added for government audits making it more difficult for a small firm. Johnson has been auditing nine cities. Johnson recommended hiring Smith/Schafer which proposed completing the audit for $9,945.

Pam Ristau, CPA, proposed doing the work for $8,690. She agreed that more standards and documentation are required now. Ristau said that while Johnson is phasing out of governmentals, she is trying to refocus on them.

The council had received three proposals. City Administrator Joe Hoffman along with council member Heath Mensink will review references on the above two proposals. The third proposal was for about twice as many dollars and was eliminated for that reason.

Improvements for

Industrial Drive

Joe Hoffman stated that POET Biorefining has requested that 330 feet of Industrial Drive be black topped to control dust. He said that this has been ranked as a low priority for improvement by the city. Hoffman made clear that the city is not in a position to pay for 100% of such an improvement.

James Simonson suggested that POET Biorefining would be willing to pay the bill now if the city would reimburse the coop in a couple of years. Mensink said that, as long as the city's assessment policy for street improvements was followed, he doesn't see a problem with the improvement. He added that it could be a worth it for the city to have the dust control and to eliminate the need for grading maintenance.

General Manager Richard Eichstadt expressed an interest in conforming with the assessment policy. Hoffman said that the next steps would include consulting the city engineer, getting cost estimates, and determining responsibility for assessments.

Schwarz Lot Split Approved

Hoffman asked the council to approve a property split that separates a home from the agricultural land. He said that the county recorded the split two and one half years ago. Hoffman added that County Recorder David Kiehne said that he is obligated to record a property split when the paperwork comes through. Hoffman noted that the county isn't required to get the city to sign off on a property split. The council approved the split for Harold and Patricia Schwarz.

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