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District Judge Mitchell Brown met with city officials and representatives of the city’s engineering firm on Sept. 2, to determine whether the city would receive judicial confirmation to raise a levy to pay for a new sewer treatment plant.

After reviewing the documentation, public notices and learning that no one expressed an interest in testifying for or against the procedure, the judge approved the confirmation.

This judicial confirmation will allow Preston City to proceed with financing to comply with EPA and Idaho DEQ mandated upgrades to the Preston City Waste Water Treatment facility. The maximum estimated cost of this upgrade will not exceed $34 million, said Mayor Dan Keller.

With the approval of the judicial confirmation, Preston City will immediately commence working with the engineering firm Keller & Associates out of Pocatello, to procure grants available from the USDA, Army Corp of Engineers, DEQ, and other regulatory agencies. It is expected that at least 30% to 40% and possibly more of the cost of the project will be financed with grants, subsidies and loan forgiveness. The rest of the project will be financed with indebtedness that will mostly be provided by USDA and DEQ low interest financing, he said.

In other city business conducted during the Aug. 24 meeting, the council finalized a deal to sell the rodeo grounds to Franklin County, which will lease the property to That Famous Preston Night Rodeo.

The city then considered an appeal by Brandon Timothy to revoke the Preston Police Chief’s determination that Timothy’s dog is considered vicious.

Timothy’s dog attacked another dog while its owner, Eleanor Talbot, was walking it across the street. A dog fight ensued, which Timothy broke up. Talbot’s dog was injured slightly, according to the report.

The council unanimously upheld the chief’s decision, which means the animal is not allowed within city limits.

Mayor Dan Keller appointed Dr. Justin Carter to the city’s planning and zoning commission to fill a position resigned by commissioner Jeff Pope, due to health problems. Carter will fill the rest of Pope’s three-year term, until Feb. 28, 2023.

Councilman Todd Thomas brought to the council’s attention several improvements he would like to see made to the Craner Field property, such as a walking path and making the restroom ADA compliant before winter. However, until the city is able to close on the sale with the seller, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the city will have to wait. City attorney Lyle Fuller was directed to see if the Church would be willing to close sooner than the noted 60 days. The city has paid earnest money on the transaction.

An approval on the SS&S minor subdivision requested by Spence Rogers and Susan Atkinson was tabled due to a lack of documentation.

After considerable discussion, the council decided to waive building permit fees required of Preston School District to construct new bleachers along the sides of the school’s football field.

Although the council is willing to work with intergovernmental agencies, the city wants the proper paperwork on the project filled out. The school district had done so online, but city staff had not seen it.

“It was simply a matter of miscommunication,” said Mayor Keller. The council approved waiving the city’s portion of the building permit fee upon full completion of the project. The situation brought to light the ambiguity of the city’s code on the matter, said Mayor Keller, who doesn’t believe the district should be required to get a building permit for such a project.

The council determined to not take any action on receipt of a petition submitted by a neighbor to a lot at 315 West First North, who would like the city to make some road improvements before town homes are built on the lot.

“The city council did not take any action because the city’s planning and zoning commission had already approved the permit with no stipulations,” said Mayor Keller.

Councilwoman Allyson Wadsworth discussed the annual festivities sponsored by the city such as a Halloween walk through the city’s business district and the Festival of Lights. “We are still on hold, because we want to do something, but we don’t know how to handle it (in light of COVID-19) yet,” said Mayor Keller.

Councilman Dodge requested that the council direct the planning and zoning commission to focus more on the city’s comprehensive plan than rezoning the city. Despite some discussion on the matter, a determination was not made.

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