The Preston City Council received information on the city's wellhead protection plan during its meeting on Monday evening, Sept. 16. The report was presented by Pat Bailey of the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

Preston adopted a wellhead protection plan in 2003 under the guidance of the MDH with the requirement to amend the plan every 10 years. Bailey said the amendments would account for various changes in regards to the wells, water use and more.

One of the main purposes of wellhead protection is to protect businesses and citizens from contamination. Bailey reported that the city is within the low vulnerability level for contamination. The city has three wells that tap into the Jordan aquifer. Bailey noted that there has been an increase in water use and showed the council that the capture zone for each well had expanded.

"The changes aren't real significant," she stated.

Over the next month, the MDH will be going through the management strategies the city has created. Bailey said the city would be able to apply for grant money through the Clean Water Legacy Amendment to pay for the amendment process. She also reassured the council that the MDH wasn't looking to make work out of nothing since the city has low vulnerability. However, she noted the city needed to address businesses that want to drill their own wells in its new plan.

Bailey is expecting there to be a public hearing on the amended wellhead protection plan in six months time.

Street maintenance

Public Works Director Jim Bakken presented a preliminary schedule for street maintenance projects through 2026. He said the city's professional consulting company, Stantec, Inc., had put the list together, which Bakken then reclassified according to the condition of the roads.

Public works has budgeted roughly $45,000 per year to work on city streets. In addition to the 2014 project, which contains 12 reconstruction projects, the city is planning eight crack filling and seal coating projects. Through 2017, the city will continue to do crack fillings and seal coats.

In 2018, Bakken said the city is planning on doing another major street maintenance project, but what streets to be addressed in that project are not yet known.

By 2021, Bakken said 80 percent of the city should have had some sort of street rehabilitation. Also in 2021, the city will begin crack filling and seal coating streets that will be reconstructed in 2014.

Floodplain property

City Administrator Joe Hoffman told the council that one individual that owns a property in the floodplain was interested in selling her house to the city. The city has been acquiring properties according to a priority list that was adopted in 2008. Thus far, the city had obtained three of them and the property under discussion was ranked number six.

The Hazel Knies property is located half in floodway and half out of it. Hoffman reported that the house was at a $94,900 value and the city could be eligible for matches from FEMA and the DNR. Those cost-share funds would amount to roughly 87 percent of the total cost.

Hoffman told the council the city would need to demonstrate that the property had flood damage in the past.

Councilman Robert Maust explained the city should know if Knies would sell it at the market value before applying for the grant.

Mayor Kurt Reicks agreed, pointing out the city would use the price at which Knies would sell in their grant application.

Hoffman reminded the council that the city wouldn't be locked in to using the money if their grant is successful and Knies doesn't wish to sell in the future.

Maust made a motion to apply for the grant and the council approved the measure.

National Trout Center

Maust raised a question about the city's fund balance for the National Trout Center (NTC), which showed just $400 in the black. He noted the balance would continue to keep going into the red unless the NTC paid the city before monthly expenses came up.

The NTC has $10,000 in its F&M Community Bank account. The city requested the NTC to send $5,000 to them, which is expected to take care of most of the center's expenses to the end of the year. The city is paying $800 in monthly rent and utilities.

Land acquisition

The council discussed the purchases of the Preston Oil Products, Inc., property and the Leslie Hellickson estate, which are dilapidated and possibly contaminated properties within the city.

There are three parcels the city is looking at purchasing. Current negotiations stand at the city purchasing two parcels for $4,500.

Hoffman suggested the city go into a closed session in order to discuss a possible renegotiation for the third parcel.

Maust said the property owner wasn't looking to get a bunch of money out of the deal. The council chose to forego closing the meeting and decided to call a special joint meeting with the Economic Development Authority on Monday, Sept. 23, at 5 p.m.

The properties would cost $15,500 to make decontaminated grass space.

Finally

The council approved the closing of the 100 West block of Main Street to vehicle traffic from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21, for the Kid's Health and Safety Day.