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Spring Valley Council and Sheriff discuss law enforcement contract

Fri, Jan 16th, 2009
Posted in Government

"Difficult times require difficult answers."

Such was the temperament as Sheriff Daryl Jensen addressed the Spring Valley City Council. The conversation was direct and honest between Jensen and the City Council as both units of government face the cutting of budgets and how it will affect service not only in 2009 but perhaps for several years following.

Sheriff Jensen said that the current budget requires three officers to serve Spring Valley. This is the same amount that was agreed upon in 1997. These were 16 hour days, not 24 hours a day coverage. Jensen continued by pointing out costs that cannot be changed.

"There are other costs that are outside the contract that keep driving the force up. Items such as gasoline for squad cars, auto maintenance and mostly part- time salaries, Jensen said.

According to the Sheriff, one of the biggest items is part-time salaries. "For several years gaps in the schedule were filled with part-time officers and that cannot continue."

Scaling back of the part-time is one of the solutions proposed by Jensen.

"The issue of controlling the part-time is essential and you will need to trust in the Sheriff to manage the contract," Jensen told the council. The other solution addressed by the Sheriff is staggering the shifts in the coverage.

Spring Valley Coordinator Kevin Beck was in attendance at the Council meeting. "I was not mad," said Beck when he heard the news that cutbacks were coming. Beck continued by saying, "I understand that something needs to be done but there are fixed items in the budget that can't be cut."

He said now there is a good understanding with the other officers who realize this has to be dealt with.

County Commissioner Chuck Amunrud addressed the Council that these concerns are being experienced on the County level as well. "We have met with our employees," said Amunrud, "and all County employees will be taking 4 days off without pay from January to April of 2009." He also said that Commissioners will be meeting with the County Highway workers to do the same. "We do not want to cut staff," said Amunrud, "and this is one way to avoid that."

Sheriff Jensen indicated that he would like to meet with the Council again in 90 days to make sure the right decisions were made.

"We will not be lessening our contract as it has been approved and the residents of Spring Valley do not have to fear they will not be protected," said Jensen.

"Difficult times require difficult decisions." Sheriff Daryl Jensen

First of the Year Business

By law several resolutions need to be passed at the first meeting of the New Year

• Spring Valley Tribune was named the official newspaper.

• The Security State Bank was designated as the official depository of city funds and Home Federal was designated as the depository of the city's Payroll Account for 2009.

Fees for the City of Spring Valley were set.

The Council also passed a Resolution establishing Reimbursables for the City Personnel Policy:

• Mileage was set at $0.55/mile.

• Reimbursement for meals was set at $15.00 for dinner if the employee is not home by 6:00pm. Lunch will not exceed $10.00 and breakfast of $5.00 only if travel requires the employee to leave home before 6:00 am. The total combined reimbursement per day shall not exceed $30.00. No alcoholic beverages will be reimbursed. Lodging will not exceed $120.00 per night. All overnight travel/lodging requires prior approval of the City Council.

• All reimbursements require a completed and signed expense voucher with all appropriate receipts attached. Reimbursements will only be paid after Council review of payables at the next regularly scheduled meeting.

Appointments to the 2009 City Council and Volunteer Boards were made:

• Bill Bires was appointed to the EDA Board.

• Rick Toews and Bob Tieffenbacher were appointed to the Cable Access Board

• Sarah Reiland, Jennifer Dessner and Lowell Wessels were named to the Library Board.

• Kathy Griener was appointed to the Park Program Advisory Board.

• Doug Plaehn was named to the public Utilities Commission.

• Mary Jo Dathe and Kevin Beck were reinstated on the Planning & Zoning Commission.

• Emergency Management finds several appointments all of them Directors. Jeff Kappers, Kevin Beck, Mike Zimmer, John Dols, and Knud Jorgenson.

• Dr. Steve Harder was reappointed as Medical Director.

• Troy Lange was reappointed Fire Chief with Jim McCabe the 1st Asst and Chris Czapiewski as 2nd Assistant.

• Representing the Council on the various Commissions were Tony Archer for Public Safety, Jeff VehrenKamp to Park & Rec. Library Jason Holland, Administration - Bill Bires, Streets and Utilities-Jim Struzyk. Jeff Vehrenkamp was reappointed as Mayor Pro Tem.

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