The Preston City Council was tasked with a relatively light agenda for its meeting on Monday evening.

City Administrator Joe Hoffman updated the council on the progress with both the Twenty-14 street and utility project and the industrial park.

Last Thursday, Hoffman met with the contractors for preconstruction meetings for the north and south side Twenty-14 projects.

"Both contractors are already behind a little bit for the year, but right now they anticipate starting on the 19th of May," Hoffman explained. "As long as they start that week we'll be happy with it."

Work is slated to be completed by Oct. 13 with the final touches being completed next spring.

The construction hours will generally be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays with no work on Sundays or during holidays per city rules.

As for the industrial park project, Hoffman explained they are looking at the feasibility of acquiring the two lots needed to move the storm water pond, so at this time they are "hammering out" the details.

The city's DEED grant application is now in the review stage. Hoffman is hoping to hear back within the next one to two weeks from the board.

"We have all the pieces, so hopefully we can put them all together like we planned," he expressed.

The city had hoped to be further along in the process but changing the site of the pond has led to delays, as more land needs to be purchased and the designs need to be changed and finalized.

If more information becomes available before the next meeting, on May 19, the council agreed to hold a special meeting to help move the project forward.

EMS Week

The council approved the designation of EMS Week for the week of May 18. The theme of the week is "EMS: Dedicated. For Life" and will honor members of emergency medical services teams who are ready to provide lifesaving care to those in need, 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week.

It was noted that in the southeast region of Minnesota there are approximately 1,034 first responders/emergency medical responders (EMRs), 924 EMTs, 193 paramedics, 44 ambulance services, 75 EMR services, 97 fire departments, 11 county law enforcement centers and 43 police departments serving the area.

SEMLM membership

The city renewed its membership to Southeastern Minnesota League of Municipalities, a regional group made up of cities that work together with activities including education and lobbying. Hoffman said it is a great networking tool for city staff. The city of Preston was a member of the group in 2013. The council approved renewing the membership at a cost of $35.

Summer help position

During the previous meeting, the council had selected an applicant for the part-time summer help position, but the applicant has since declined the offer.

The city staff next recommended Sam Bahl for the position, though he will not turn 16 until early July and cannot start before school is finished for the summer months.

After discussion with the city's safety director, Hoffman assured the council that even though he will not be able to run any machinery, there are several jobs Bahl will be able to assist the city with until July.

"It's kind of the challenge of these positions. It's a short tenure at two to three months. It's difficult to fill these positions, so we are fortunate to have Mr. Bahl interested in the position," Hoffman explained.

Councilmember David Collette voiced concern about whether the position was necessary, as it is such a short time frame.

Hoffman agreed, explaining the subject has been discussed previously, but the overall opinion is the city would rather have a part-time employee, working at a lesser wage, completing many of these tasks than a full-time, higher-wage employee.

"This summer, with as much work that our staff will be doing on the street construction, we definitely want to have someone like this to be doing some of this more basic work," Hoffman answered.

The recommendation was approved with Collette and Robert Maust abstaining due to concerns about the safety aspect of hiring a 15-year-old.

Appointment of election judges

The council next reviewed the list of election judges for the upcoming primary and general elections.

Collette asked how the persons are selected for these positions.

Deputy City Clerk Sheila Marzolf explained, "Typically we asked the people who have volunteered in the past to make sure they want to do it first. If they don't then we'll find someone else, but they've been pretty good. They have to go through four hours of training for every election."

The city must also make sure there is an equal representation from the political parties.

Hoffman and Marzolf are both trained so they can step in when needed during the elections as well.

The council approved the following election judges: David Hokenson as head judge, Muriel Hanson, Dawn Ristau, Arthur Callanan and Richard Petsch.

The next meeting of the city council will be held on May 19 at 6 p.m.