The Preston City Council received a request for proposals from the Planning and Zoning Committee for the city's Comprehensive Land Use Plan during its regular meeting on Monday, April 1.

The current plan in place was developed in 1999 and has been waiting for updating ever since 2009. It was not revised then because of local government aid cuts that occurred at the time. A comprehensive plan guides the development of land in the city.

In the request for proposals document, it notes that the process will be run by the Comprehensive Plan Core Committee, which will consist of community representatives and a consultant. This consultant, which would be a person or firm, would be expected to meet with committee members to make sure the project is on schedule, obtain necessary maps and documents for the plan, hold at least two public meetings, develop goals and strategies, report on a monthly basis to committee, present a "public draft" and a "final draft" to the committee, and ensure adoption of the plan.

According to City Administrator Joe Hoffman, a nine-month period of time has been granted for the completion of the project after the submission of proposals.

The request for proposals by the city to firms/individuals experienced in city development states that these proposals should be submitted to the city by 4:30 p.m. on April 23. A selection committee will interview consultants and have a recommendation to the city council on June 3. The project is expected to begin at the beginning of July and cost estimates place it between $5,000 and $10,000.

Brick replacement

The council discussed the brick facing on the Fillmore Street pedestrian ramp and its deteriorating condition. Hoffman called it a "pesky" issue and said the city had received several complaints about the pieces of brick that keep breaking off due to water damage.

The brick is flush with the concrete above it and water has been seeping behind the facing, freezing and thus destroying the brick. Councilman Dave Collett asked if the brick had anything to do with the integrity of the adjacent ramp. Hoffman said it was purely decorative.

Last year, the city had received a quote from a mason and it would cost around $6,000 to redo the brick work. Hoffman said the city could leave if it as it is without the brick and maybe paint it. Concrete filling and stucco work were also brought up as options.

The issue will be explored further with recommendations presented at the next meeting.

Waste receptacles

Upon receiving requests to place garbage cans around downtown, Jim Bakken from the city maintenance department reported on the city's options with purchasing new receptacles.

Councilman Robert Maust said the city may be able to work with local businesses in manufacturing a sturdy and rust-free container. No action was taken on the item and will be addressed again at the next council meeting.

City server

In response to an emergency with the city server, a computer storage unit and operating system, where an interface card went down and prohibited the city's access to documents on the server, the council approved the replacement of the many parts of the server.

Hoffman said much of the server has been running for eight straight years and that it was actually due for replacement five years ago. It would cost the city around $5,000 to replace.

"The data isn't lost, but we lose the ability to access it," shared Hoffman.

Other business

The council also handled the following items during its meeting on Monday evening.

• The council approved an EDA revolving loan for JuliaClaire's Repeat Boutique, which will be expanding and moving to a new location in Preston on 148 Main Street. The loan was approved by the Economic Development Authority as a 2.5 percent interest loan and a 10-year payback period.

• The council approved Dodge-Fillmore-Olmsted County Victim Services to be able to place teal ribbons on light poles on Fillmore Street for Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April.

• The council approved the flower basket project for 2013. They designated money to be spent on the 30 baskets and authorized city employees to help water the plants Monday through Friday. On the weekends, the flowers will be watered by volunteers, who are still being asked for by the city. Donations are also being sought for the flower purchase.

• Upon request by the Southeastern Minnesota League of Municipalities, the council passed a resolution supporting the Destination Medical Center proposal and approved sending a letter stating this support to the state legislature. Mayor Kurt Reicks said the decision to support it was obvious as Preston will see benefits of the addition of jobs and economic development.