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Rushford considers police contract options

Fri, Jun 29th, 2007
Posted in Government

RUSHFORD - Continuing with a proactive attitude, the Rushford City Council spent much of their regular council meeting June 25 discussing possible police service options to offer the City of Rushford Village (CRV). The former police contract expired on June 22; CRV Mayor Gordie Johnson acknowledged the situation officially with a letter.

Since there is currently no contract with the CRV, city attorney Terry Chiglo advised the council they could personally be held liable if they directed the Rushford Police to go into the CRV and something happened. Chiglo urged the council to clarify with a mutual aid agreement the instances in which the Rushford police would respond to situations when the county called; namely, when there was an emergency need and not just a convenience for the county. City administrator Windy Block stressed that the city needed to make it clear to the county that the Rushford Police Department was not an extension of the sheriff's department, but was willing to perform mutual aid. Chiglo also suggested the agreement should include a reimbursement schedule for the service and that the council should still discuss guidelines for responding to mutual aid requests. According to Chiglo, Rushford could not enter into a mutual aid agreement with CRV since CRV has no police department. He estimated such an agreement could be completed in a couple weeks.

Block explained two possible options a sub-committee of the council came up with last week. The first option would be to offer "primary police services" to all urbanized areas of CRV (heavier populated areas within three miles of Rushford) for the next year and a half. Calculated cost would be around $32,712 for the rest of 2007 and $65,423 for 2008; police protection would be the same as in Rushford. Block had estimated the number of citizens of CRV in the urban areas and prorated protection based on the current police budget per capita; he readily acknowledged the numbers might need to be adjusted.

The second option would be to offer police services at an hourly rate of $32.31 (calculations based on hours of coverage in Rushford and yearly budget numbers) with a minimum of eight hours a day.

After Mayor Les Ladewig polled each of the council members, the council decided to set up a meeting between city and CRV representatives to discuss the options. The council passed a motion to offer CRV an interim police contract not to exceed 45 days at $5,500 per month. Ladewig emphasized that the goal of the council was to "open the avenue for negotiation" and that the city wanted to "make it equitable for all."

Other business

In other business the council:

• urged residents to take a pledge to turn in one 60-watt incandescent light bulb in exchange for a fluorescent in order to save energy;

• accepted the $10,006 bid from Winona County Sheriff's Department for the 1994 F350 ambulance;

• issued a request for bids for the construction of the Elm Street water main project;

• granted a raise to animal control officer Robert Brand. Brand had not gotten a raise since 2001; the increase will total an additional $635 for 2007. Block, referred to Brand as someone with a "gentle heart for animal control, a good honest businessman" and noted Brand was requesting a raise from CRV as well.

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