With Mayor Pro-Tem David Collett at the helm, the Preston City Council met for its Monday, March 6, meeting.

Preston Ambulance director Ryan Throckmorton briefed the council on a proposed change in the ambulance per capita cost.

“Last week we met with all of the townships we serve and they discussed raising our per capita fee. It is currently set at $7. They made a motion to leave it at $7 for 2017, but change it to $10 for 2018. Our last increase per capita was in 1999,” Throckmorton explained.

This would raise the total fee collection from $21,091 in 2017 to $30,130 in 2018. The expected increase for the city’s cost would be $4,300 for a total of approximately $14,300.

Throckmorton stated the change is primarily due to the expected need to replace an ambulance within the next two to three years.

Council Member Robert Maust expressed concern about having enough funds set aside for an ambulance purchase even with the proposed per capita increase.

It was noted there may be more increases in the following years to help build the fund.

“It is essentially a $9,000 increase...but I think this is a move in the right direction,” Throckmortion concluded.

The council approved the $3 increase in the ambulance per capita with the collected monies being put in a capital funds account.

Tourism director position

When the city of Preston learned it would soon have a vacancy in the tourism director position, staff members looked at various options for changes.

One of the suggested changes was to combine the position with the ambulance service making it a full-time position with the intention of having more daytime hours covered for the service. This would have required the new director to also be an EMT and council members worried this may lessen the amount of applicants.

The discussion was tabled at the last meeting because Throckmorton was on a call at the time and unable to attend.

“I think after speaking with (city administrator) Joe (Hoffman) and some of the council members, the best fit at this time would be to move forward with the part-time tourism position. At this time I don’t feel like it would be a good fit,” Throckmorton stated. “As I told some of the council members, I sure appreciate their willingness to support our department. Not all departments are fortunate enough to have a council that supports them like you guys do.”

Maust commented that he believes the position’s hour requirements may need to be extended in future years depending on the progress of the Riverside Center project.

A motion to keep the director position at the same 29 hours, but with a negotiable option for paid time off, was approved.

Other business

• The council approved the 2017 display agreement with J&M Displays, as well as the Preston Fire Department’s permit for the Trout Days fireworks display. The city will provide $4,500 of the $5,250 for the fireworks.

• The temporary liquor license for the fire department’s Trout Days event was also approved.

• The request to transfer the Liquor Store’s liquor license to new owner Joe LaFreniere was approved.

• Hoffman advised the council that the appeal period for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) final revised floodplain map of Fillmore County will be ending within 60 to 90 days.

• At the request of the city attorney, Dwight Luhmann, the council approved the subordination of the city’s mortgages from Mel Hayner to F&M Bank and the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund.

• The next meeting will be held on March 20 at 6 p.m.