The amount of time and resources spent by police at certain locations in the City of St. Croix Falls was up for discussion at the city council meeting on Monday night.
One member of the council, Alderwoman Joy Zasadny, in particular has questioned Police Chief Erin Murphy, frequently, on the amount of time that members of the police department spend at locations such as Wal-mart, Menards and the hospital.
For instance, in the month of December, officers with the department spent 12 hours at the hospital, six hours at Wal-mart, and 16 hours at Menards.
The agenda item was listed as discuss establishing fees for excessive use of protective services. It received a less than lukewarm reception from both the police and fire chiefs.
The effort was suggested by Zasadny in an effort to recoup losses and gain revenue for the city, especially since the PILOT monies they receive would be a wash.
“I would encourage you to keep a couple things in mind,” stated Police Chief Erin Murphy. “For the hospital, a lot of that is transport time. It has to do with mental health issues. It ebbs and flows. When we arrive there, according to state statute we cannot leave until the matter is resolved.”
Zasadny questioned whether or not there were a way to increase the fines paid to the city.
“Traffic fines are determined by the state,” Murphy informed her. “However, there are ordinances that haven't been updated (or the fines increased) in years.”
Murphy mentioned the city's ordinance regarding fines for retail theft.”
Murphy was also quick to point out that while the big box stores can seem to demand a lot of officer time, he noted that the grants and donations that they receive from those entities every year are a help to his department.
At Wednesday night's meeting of the Luck Village Board, President Dave Rasmussen updated his fellow trustees on the progress (and lack thereof) with regards to the culvert/dam project.
“The county did some research and found out that they are not the owner of the dam. There is no record of them owning the dam. There is no record of anybody owning the dam. The right-of-way was platted back in 1929. So anyway the county agreed to put their name on it to get this thing going. And then right before Christmas, after they'd done their research, they called the DNR and asked that their name be removed from the permit, so they wouldn't have any presumed liability as the owner. So now we are trying to get the Village of Luck's name on the permit.”
Rasmussen advised further that right before Christmas they had to call the contractor, who was ready to go Jan. 2, that they no longer had a permit to move forward. He said they could've got the job done in 10 days.
“The contractor has another job in mid-January, so they are possibly going to have to pull their equipment from the site to do another job so there may be some extra cost for the contractor demobilizing and then remobilizing again.
“I talked to the county last week and met with them to find out what was going on and talked to them about cost-sharing, which was implied back in June and July. They didn't say no, but it has to be approved by the county board. We've sent a memo about the intergovernmental agreement – that the county share on a 50/50 basis...”
Rasmussen said the village is looking at a cost of about $200,000 and the hope is that the county will approve a 50/50 split for the project.
“Depending on when the contractor gets done with this other job, hopefully we will have everything cleared up – but at this point, we don't.”
Rasmussen commented that this has been a frustrating process and it takes a judicial review to get the county's name off the project. And the contractor indicated that he will be at this other job for about six weeks, which puts the culvert/dam job back to the end of February. Rasmussen said he met with the county's interim administrator (Jeff Fuge) and corporation counsel (Malia Malone) on the subject.
Trustee Miller was hopeful the job will be done by mid-March. Rasmussen said he wasn't making any promises.
Finally, the trustees quipped that maybe they should make an ice bridge.
One thing is certain, it won't be done in time to cart the ice blocks to the castle site, so that whole process is going to take longer.
SCF wrestling takes Hall of Fame
T.A. Doughty-St. Hilaire
The St. Croix Falls Wrestling Team is continuing on with what is shaping up to be quite the season.
Over the past week they have taken on Clear Lake and participated in the St. Croix Central Duals.
“We had a good week of wrestling,” observed Head Coach Dan Clark. “On Thursday we beat Clear Lake 67-7. On Friday we won the St. Croix Central Hall of Fame Duals.”
The Saints beat Merrell 44-24, Baldwin/Woodville 43-30 and Durand 75-6.
“I thought we wrestled well on Thursday and looked a little tired on Friday,” noted Clark. “We definitely saw some good things, but also saw some things we need to work on coming down the stretch. This time of year you need to start thinking about preparing for February.
“We will go back to work and try to continue to get better,” concluded Clark. “We have a dual meet on Thursday at SCF against Unity and then go into a very difficult tournament at home on Saturday. All of our kids will get tested and that is a good thing this time of year.
Standing room only caucus; full ballot
By Lynda Berg Olds
At least 50 citizens from Balsam Lake attended the village caucus Tuesday night to nominate candidates to appear on the spring election ballot April 2. This is in stark contrast to other area municipalities who had zero members of the public show up like Luck and Milltown, who are both maintaining the status quo with only incumbents nominated.
Centuria did have one newcomer, which would have made for a race among the trustees, but Gordy Moore took himself out of the running, giving up his seat to candidate Charles (Chuck) Ellsworth.
Balsam Lake's full ballot includes a race for the presidency between incumbent Trustees Kathy Poirier and Rod Preble, with incumbent Village President Geno D'Agostino, who chaired the caucus, stepping down. No more nominations for president were forthcoming and the motion was made, seconded and passed to close nominations for the village president position.
Next, 18 candidates were nominated for three trustee positions, and the field was narrowed down to a dozen after six declined the nomination.
Those who were nominated include: Rod Preble, Briana Geissinger, Faye Brittan, Louis Delgado, Aimee Newbauer, Geno D'Agostino, Kathy Poirier, Kellie Flaherty, Dan Peters, Scott Divine, Hannah Stevens, Steve Williams, Mark Gudim, Keith Swenson, Jim Duncan, “Bev,” Jamie Flaherty and Chris Knutson.
Those who chose not to run included Delgado, D'Agostino, Divine, Williams, Swenson and Jamie Flaherty.
Only six trustees are allowed on the ballot so a secret ballot vote was taken (by majority rule), with Dan Flaherty and Dave Patterson working the crowd as Tellers at the Balsam Lake Fire Station with the following results:
Rod Preble: 14; Brianna G: 13; Faye Brittan: 22; Aimee Newbauer: 9; Kathy Poirier: 8; Kellie Flaherty: 12; Dan Peters: 1; Hannah Stephens: 12; Mark Gudim: 10; Jim Duncan: 13, “Bev”: zero; and Chris Knutson: 5.
So the six trustee candidates who will be on the ballot are Brittan, Preble, Geissinger, Duncan, Stevens and Kellie Flaherty.