In a short first meeting in 2013, on Jan. 7 the Preston City Council heard a proposal from the Preston Ambulance Service Director Ryan Throckmorton for each ambulance volunteer to receive an incentive after completing a state required refresher course.

The course, which normally spans a total of 24 hours, allows both EMTs and first responders to renew their license every two years. However, Throckmorton added that in 2013 and 2014, there will be a transitional refresher course that will add up to 20 more hours of volunteer training. He also added that this transition course could extend to 2016. Because of this, Throckmorton proposed that the council consider additional incentives for every year following 2014 for volunteers continuing through the required transitional course.

Throckmorton proposed that each EMT receive a $250 incentive and each first responder, a $150 incentive, with an added $100 incentive for both EMTs and first responders for each year past 2014 that the transition course continues. This would cost the city an average of $2,500 each year for 2013 and 2014, and $1,250 for each additional year. In addition, the training would cost the city $400 per person. Throckmorton said the plan is to train three EMTs and 13 first responders since their licenses expire on March 31 and classes had already begun. The proposal was unanimously approved by the council.

Councilmember David Harrison inquired as to when the incentives would be payable. Throckmorton informed the council that the plan was to make them payable upon the successful completion of the respective courses.

The council was shown the proposed pay step scale for Preston Public Utilities. According to a 2012 council decision, the wage step increase of 1.75 percent in 2013, as well as equal wages and benefits, were extended to both union and non-union employees alike. The step scale showed that in the first four years of employment, the steps occur in 6-month intervals with steps occurring in one-year intervals until the 10th year.

The council approved the signing of a 2013 lease with George and Kay Spangler for the National Trout Center building. The city extends property and liability insurance to the site by signing the lease, which is for one year and has increased to $800/month due to the expansion of the NTC into the second story. The lease is paid for by the NTC.

In other business

The 2013 appointments to city boards were approved. Councilman Harrison was selected as the council representative to the planning and zoning board. Councilman Robert Maust was selected as the council representative to the tourism and EDA boards. Robert Hanson was reappointed to the Public Utilities Commission. Councilman David Collett was nominated and selected as the mayor pro-tem. It was determined that all other vacancies would be filled by volunteers.

The city fee schedule was shown to the council to verify that no changes had occurred since its adoption in 2011. Since no changes had occurred, City Administrator Joe Hoffman affirmed, no action by the council was required.

A resolution was passed to authorize the mayor, mayor pro-tem, city administrator, and deputy city clerk to sign checks for the city that will be forwarded to F & M Bank.

The next council meeting will be held Tuesday, Jan 22, instead of on Monday, Jan 21, in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.