Houston County Commissioners signed a letter of intent to enter into an agreement with the City of Spring Grove to provide law enforcement services at its July 12 meeting.
Sheriff Mark Inglett, Chief Deputy Brian Swedberg and Spring Grove City Clerk/Administrator Julie Amundson were on hand at the meeting to answer commissioners’ questions regarding the letter of intent received from the City of Spring Grove regarding contracting with the county for law enforcement services.
“I think it was on the sixth of July the Spring Grove City Council discussed their situation. It was an open meeting. There were some public folks there. Some were kind of opposed to the idea of giving up their police department. This council, ultimately, voted unanimously to send a letter of intent to the sheriff’s office indicating that they would like to contract our office for services,” explained Inglett.
The county unanimously approved Spring Grove’s letter of intent to enter into an agreement with the county to provide law enforcement services.
Amundson confirmed that the city is no longer searching for a police chief as “They had little or no response.”
Personnel Director Tess Kruger explained, “The request for the two deputies is approval to do a search in anticipation of moving forward with that agreement. It still reserves your right to make a final decision as to whether you hire two more deputies or not but because deputy searches take an extensive period of time because of background checks.”
If the contract does not materialize, the county can cancel the search for the two deputies without any repercussions.
The county will begin the search for two full-time deputies to provide law enforcement services to the City of Spring Grove. The hire of the two deputies would be conditioned upon the execution of a contract between the county and the city.
The sheriff submitted a tentative contract based on the proposal he submitted in April and conversations with Spring Grove officials. Inglett noted, “Spring Grove has not had the opportunity to review it. There are still some minor things that need to be worked out first.”
The proposed contract calls for 70 hours of regular time for the two deputies to cover Spring Grove. Inglett stated that he does not want to work with split shifts.
Commissioner Severson expressed that the county is concerned with enforcing ordinances. “Ordinances we might not be excited about enforcing.” The sheriff added that in his mind deputies would enforce criminal ordinances and not the city’s civil ordinances. Enforcing the city’s ordinance would probably be the responsibility of city staff and either the deputy on duty would write the citation or they would go through the city’s attorney.
The next step is to finalize the contract between the County and Spring Grove and present it to the commissioners for approval.
In other matters, the board:
• Approved the 2022 budget amendments to accurately reflect various revenues and expenditures including 2022 labor contract settlements;
• Allocated an estimated $15,000 in AARP funds to replace the cell phone antennas at the Justice Building and about $10,000 to replace two gates at the La Crescent drop site;
• Approved Resolution No. 22-35 and 22-36 (gaming applications) for Sheldon Valley Sportsman Association and Able Foundation Inc;
• Authorized a search for a Highway Maintenance Foreman;
• Thanked Jean Baty Young for her service to the county;
• Extended Child Support Officer Liza Jandt employment from .95 to 1.00 FTE through December 31, 2022; allowing for coverage during the new staff training period; and
• Authorized the personnel department to begin a search for a tech clerk. The part-time/casual position is 14 hours or less per week.
The board’s next regular meeting will take place July 26, at 9 a.m.