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November 17, 2019

10/11/2019 11:23:00 AM
Center City Council reviews Sheriff contract

Sheriff Brandon Thyen had the main agenda item at last week’s Center City Council meeting, reviewing the patrol contract for 2020.  

Chisago County provides specific hours of service according to contracts with a number of cities that do not sustain their own police departments. The south-end patrol generally covers Center City, Shafer, and Taylors Falls.  The cities of Stacy, Harris and Rush City also have patrol contracts.  The contract with Center City is unique, Sheriff Thyen said, because hours in summer are increased and trimmed back in cold weather months, so the language is for a year’s worth of patrol hours.

Center City Council wanted to go over contract language and make certain that the hours the city gets billed for are for actual service hours. Sheriff Thyen said the hourly squad rate is increasing to $60.40 in 2020, which Mayor Mark Wolcott said the city council has already considered in setting the budget for next year.  The main question was whether to decrease, increase or leave the hours as-is.

The sheriff, of course, said the sooner he knows how many hours the city wants, the better.  Looking at operations costs he said, “Now would be a good time to start talking (about the contract.)”

On a motion by Council member Madonna Higgins council agreed to leave hours status quo at 640 for the year. County patrol provides 80 hours per month in June, July and August, 60 hours per month in May  and September-- and in winter it’s 40 hours monthly.

Sheriff Thyen also clarified that any major incidents calling for county SWAT or water patrol personnel (ie: the fishing pier seasonal relocation) are services provided at no extra charge to cities and townships.  “You also pay county taxes,” he added.

Another contract was discussed but council declined to make any change.  

AT&T sought a decrease in antennae rental fees for the water tower,  from $1,653 to $1,250 per month.  The city attorney was directed to respond that current terms will not be changed.  

In other matters:  a special meeting was scheduled with interested residents of Calendar Isle,  to review the requested city takeover of the road and culvert that is now a private street.  The condition of the culvert is poor and road issues need to be addressed.
The council and property owners will meet Tuesday October 29 at 7 p.m. at city hall.

Above All Tree Service was approved to tackle intrusive trees along Norman Lane and in the Pleasant Knoll neighborhood.  The quote was for $2,250 to  cut and clear.  The other quote from Wild River was $4,000.

Downtown property owner Bruce Nelson sought council opinion on taking over the steps between the mainstreet buildings on the west side.  
Nelson said they are approaching needed maintenance and he thinks the city should accept them and establish an easement making them city responsibility. A major portion, according to Nelson, lies on the Al’s Saloon lot and permanency of the steps isn’t formal.  Nelson said he’d hate to see the steps deteriorate and nobody take responsibility.

Council said at this time it doesn’t seem to be in Center City’s interests to takeover the steps. Sidewalk exists to get to both ends of the block and the public can move through town just fine.
Action on the 2020 levy and budget took place Thursday, September 26 in a special meeting.  According to the approved minutes, Scott Anderson was absent and the preliminary maximum levy passed 4-0.  

The public hearing is December 3 at 7:15 p.m. at city hall.

 The maximum levy is now $296,500.  The final 2020 levy amount is adopted by the council after the public hearing.

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