Kristy Richards, Lanesboro, plans to open a dog grooming business at 104 Main St. SW (Mercantile on Main) in Preston. The kennel license necessary to have four or more dogs on the premises was granted at the December 18 meeting of the city council.
Richards hopes to purchase the property soon and open the business early in 2018. She has groomed dogs since she was 18, working as a dog groomer in other places she has lived. The grooming business could lead to doggie daycare. She made it clear that no dogs will be on the property when she is not there. She does not plan to keep dogs overnight. The license will allow overnight stays, however.
A full service groom for a dog will be provided at a flat rate. Grooming will be by appointment only and will take about an hour per dog. She is willing to groom any and all dogs that pass her interview process, including vaccination and health requirements.
2018 Budget and Levy
City Administrator Joe Hoffman explained that the proposed budget is basically unchanged from September. He noted a couple of changes. Employees will get a 2.5% increase instead of 3%. The clothing allowance was increased by $75.
Councilman Robert Maust made a motion to transfer $10,000 from the National Trout Center to a capital fund for the Riverside project. Seconded by councilman David Collett, the motion failed by a vote of two for and three against. Hoffman maintained the council can move general fund money around at a later date with a majority vote. Mayor Kurt Reicks commented that the NTC has had a great year. The city provided $26,500 to the NTC in 2017.
The 2018 budget was approved as submitted with Collett voting no.
A resolution adopting the final tax levy was approved unanimously. There will be a 7.9% increase over last year, or an increase of $65,692. The total levy is $897,186. Included in the 7.9% increase is $46,000 which will be available for future capital projects. A total of $173,796 of the levy will be used to pay the annual installments on three bonds.
Other business in brief
• An ordinance was adopted restricting overnight parking on the 100 and 200 blocks of Fillmore St. East. Fillmore County requested restricting parking from 2-6 a.m. from November 15 to March 15 on Fillmore St. East from St. Anthony St. to Center St.
• Heath Mensink, Preston Public Utilities (PPU), and Councilman Charles Sparks and Councilwoman Holly Zuck met with the Preston Public Employees Association (PPEA) over the last couple months to establish terms of a new contract. Agreed upon terms include a 2.5% pay increase for each of the years 2018, 2019, and 2020, plus a $75 increase in the clothing allowance. Among other agreed upon terms is a voluntary switch from vacation/sick leave to PTO as per existing PTO policy. All new employees will be under the PTO policy. Terms were accepted by PPEA committee on December 4. The council approved the proposed terms as submitted.
Approval was given to extend the same terms to non-union employees.
• Luhmann Law, LLC was approved for the 2018 city attorney. The option for an annual retainer was again approved at a cost of $19,440, which is the same as last year.
• The News Leader/Bluff Country Reader will serve as the official newspaper.
• Hoffman said the city website has aged and needs an upgrade. SMG Web Design submitted a proposal for the site design and hosting. The cost will be $500 per year which will be split with the PPU. Hoffman explained they are looking for a simpler design that is easier to navigate. Tourism and the chamber have their own web page; there will be a link from the city page. The upgrade and proposal were approved.
• Mark Welch and Mike Sogla applied for Greater Minnesota Housing loan funds for Main Street Properties, LLP. The $31,000 loan from the Greater Minnesota Housing Revolving Loan Fund to rehab the apartment building at 113 St. Paul St. was approved by the EDA and by the city council this day.
• Maust updated the council on the Dairy and Farm site. Dairy and Farm wants to be reimbursed for the cost of tearing down and removing the fertilizer building, which cost $15,000. Maust noted that there was an offer to tear the other two buildings down at no cost to the city for the materials.
The city has received a letter of no association from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture regarding any agricultural pollution of the prior tenant.
Reicks said if Dairy and Farm gets funding for all or part of the cost to tear down the fertilizer building, he wants it in the purchase agreement that the city does not pay for that which Dairy and Farm has already received reimbursements.
City Attorney Dwight Luhmann said the purchase agreement for the property was drafted over a year ago. It was returned to him with $115,000 written in for the purchase price (was $100,000).
No action was taken this day.