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Preston considers State Building Code

Fri, Jul 6th, 2007
Posted in Government

PRESTON - Preston City Council members again discussed the pros and cons of adopting the State Building Code at their July 2 meeting. City Administrator Joe Hoffman noted that the issue was first discussed about a month ago. The council tabled the issue at that time to give members a chance to talk to local builders and contractors.

Council member Jon Haugan related that contractors he spoke to generally didn't see a need for it. Mayor Kurt Reicks added that the feedback he received from two carpenters and a plumber was that if an individual wanted an inspection, he or she should have that option at the owner's expense, but that it shouldn't be mandatory.

Contractor Ron Scheevel explained that the building code isn't all bad. However, Scheevel listed some negatives, including slowing down the building process and the added expense for a "competent" inspector. Hoffman suggested that the greatest negative was the added expense, estimated to be about $1,000 for a typical new home. He added that no builders in the area would have difficulty complying with the code.

Council member Robert Sauer suggested that contractors, like most people, don't appreciate someone looking over their shoulder. However, he felt that the council has a responsibility to its citizens. Sauer insisted that most bad accidents, for example carbon monoxide poisoning, happen in the home when a family is sleeping. He suggested that homeowners generally would not know what to look for to see if a home is vented properly.

By consensus, council members agreed to have Hoffman bring someone in to speak on the subject to give members more information and to answer questions.

General Obligation Bonds

Mike Bubany, David Drown and Associates explained their recommendation for financing the 2007 street improvement projects. The total bond issue will be $875,000. He recommended that the city sell the bonds with a traditional competitive sale to get the most favorable interest rate. The debt will be for a ten year term. Bubany added that because the city is assessing nearly 29% of the project costs to benefiting property owners, the bonds can be issued without referendum.

The bonds will be paid for by several sources of revenue including the water utility, sewer utility, the storm water utility and the city tax levy. Hoffman noted that there should be enough funds to pay the bonds without raising the levy for that purpose. Council members passed a resolution providing for the competitive negotiated sale of the bonds.

No Parking Zone

Joe Hoffman explained that parking on Washington Street near the TH 52 intersection restricts traffic flow entering and exiting Corn Cob Acres. As this is the only way to come and go from the corn cob acres neighborhood, the council passed a resolution creating a "no parking zone" on the west side of Washington Street and on a 50 foot section on the east side of Washington Street. The curb will be painted yellow to mark the "no parking zone."

Other Business

• Janene Roessler, a representative for the Pond Fountain Committee, updated the council on their progress in getting a fountain for the pond near Preston Service Plus. She explained that MnDot is requiring a utility permit because the pond is in the state's right of way. The fountain itself will be paid for with grant funds from the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation. The city will be responsible for its installation. MnDot holds the city responsible for the function and maintenance of the ponds.

The cost to operate the fountain is expected to be about $4 per day from May through September.

Joe Hoffman clarified the city's responsibility which will include installing in May and pulling the fountain in September, paying for the electric power, and the ongoing maintenance.

Some concern over the condition of that pond and the accumulated silt was raised. Hoffman doesn't expect that MnDot would be willing to dredge this pond again as they practiced erosion control during highway construction. The pond is low because of a relative lack of rain. Roessler said that the fountain is designed to operate in 20 inches of water.

A motion was passed approving the city's responsibilities and giving approval to apply for the utility permit.

• Ron Scheevel asked for and received approval to change the storm water system on the west side of his property in the Industrial Park. He explained a revised plan which would now have the corrugated metal pipe for the storm water aligned with the road, Energy Drive. The council agreed to the use of the metal pipe as the area will not be paved or cemented over allowing easier access. All the work will be done at Scheevel's expense. The city will have a 10' easement and will be allowed to inspect the work while it is under construction.

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