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Preston City Council Report: Community access channel improvements sought

Fri, Dec 22nd, 2006
Posted in Government

The Preston City Council met December 18 for their final meeting of the year. Mark Vander Plas made a request that equipment be installed on the city's cable access channel to provide video capabilities. He said that this would allow videos of ball games, plays, church services, etc. to be viewed by 'shut-ins'. He noted that other communities in the area have the capability.

Vander Plas explained a couple of different methods of achieving the capability. City Administrator Joe Hoffman agreed to look into the options and costs. He suggested that if the city were to go ahead with the upgrade, it would be preferable to find someone local with a media background to help with the videos and keep it running.

Historical Elevator

Richard Petsch explained the complicated process of paying for renovations on the elevator. The state reimburses 50% of the costs, but it takes 60 to 90 days to accomplish this. During this time period, the Historical Society needs help to tide it over. Petsch said that he was just requesting an advance, since it wasn't really a loan. The council agreed to issue an advance of $16,500 with the condition that the city would be listed as a co-payee on the state's reimbursement checks. Joe Hoffman noted that the city owns and insures the elevator and that it is an asset of the city.

Other Business

• Joe Hoffman asked the council to consider the purchase of a new computer server. The current piece of equipment is six years old. He said that the server would cost about $3,000 and that the cost would be split with the Utility Department, which has already approved the purchase. The purchase was approved as were the services of Bluff Country Computer Works of Harmony for installation and configuration of the new server.

• The Preston Public Employees Association (PPEA) requested that the council reconsider the 3% COLA increase that was passed on December 4. Council members were frustrated at that meeting because of the issue coming up on the agenda more than once without any members of the union showing up for discussion. Several union members were present at this meeting and they suggested that they had communicated their wishes through several letters. They were requesting a 3.7% increase to get "a little bit ahead with fuel and heating costs." They apologized for any inconvenience the council may have experienced.

Mayor Kurt Reicks insisted that the council has tried to be fair and that the COLA increases have stayed ahead of inflation over five years. Nobody on the council was interested in reconsidering the cost of the living increase.

• A resolution was passed requesting that the state legislators and the governor "place a high priority on a substantial increase" for the regional libraries in the 2007 session. Robert Sauer praised the operation of the Preston Library noting that it loans more books than it requests to borrow from the other libraries.

• The final levy was approved without change from the preliminary levy. The total levy collectible in 2008 from Preston property owners will be $513,372.00.

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