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Houston switching to Independent Emergency Services system

By Angie Rodenburg

Fri, Nov 15th, 2013
Posted in Rushford Government

The Houston City Council convened on November 12 for their monthly meeting. At the meeting the council made many important decisions regarding the town. One decision was in regard to the town’s Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development or “DEED” Small Cities Development application. According to the memorandum, “The Small Cities Development Program helps cities and counties with funding for housing, infrastructure, and commercial rehabilitation projects that benefit people of low and moderate incomes.”

According to Christina Peterson, Houston’s City Planner, “A flyer was sent to the community in October to introduce the program and assess interest. Forty responses were received.” The draft proposal is to assist 17 homeowners. Since there is so much interest in the program, Houston would apply to the program in two phases; one phase this year and the second phase the next year. The council had to make the decision as to which applicants would go into which phase. The choices were either taking applicants on a first come, first serve basis for all qualifying applications or dividing the sides of town into phase one and phase two. The council chose the first come, first serve method. The council also approved the motion to waive building permit fees during the time the program would be in effect, per Semcac’s suggestion.

At the meeting the council also approved the replacement of a couple of police computers, as well as Deputy Clerk Audrey Hegland’s computer. They will also purchase one new computer a year. The council prefered the computers to be replaced on a schedule, so that they could be proactive versus reactive; not waiting until a computer was unusable before purchasing a replacement.

A public hearing was also scheduled to discuss a variance request for a garage located at 417 South Ellsworth. The hearing will be held on Monday, December 2 at 6 p.m.

The city council also approved the renewal of the liquor licenses for Crossroads Cafe, Arnet-Sheldon Post, and JT’s Corner Bar & Grill.

The council also approved switching to Independent Emergency Services (IES), an internet based phone service. The previous system used somehow routed 911 calls to the town of Itasca. Obviously the misdirection of the calls was unacceptable, so the council was happy to make the switch.

Chief of Police, David Breault, also updated the council on the difficult suicide theme he had been seeing in the town. Breault told the council that the police department has had meetings with local clergy members in an effort to develop a plan for suicide prevention.

The next Houston City Council meeting will be held on December 9 at 6 p.m. in the meeting room of Houston City Hall.

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