Wykoff City Council reviewing
new contract for police coverage
Tuesday, August 20, 2013 4:42 AM
"The last time I was here was May 11, 2009," said Fillmore County Sheriff Daryl Jensen as he approached Wykoff's city council Monday, Aug. 12, with a new proposed contract for police coverage, as the current contract held between the city and the county allows $24,000 annually, or about $65 per day, and hasn't been updated since 1992.
"We've had an agreement with Wykoff since the '70s, and I believe it was in 1979 that the city decided to go with our service. I don't believe the prices have ever changed in the contract since 1992, and I think the League of Minnesota Cities would appreciate something not done with a manual typewriter," he jokingly commented.
Referring to the contract presented to the council, he stated, "It has updated language appropriate to the protection of the city and county...it forces us to go back to the table to talk about cost." Jensen acknowledged that Wykoff's existing contract provides for police patrolling in town for approximately four hours a day and that the actual cost of training and placing a deputy in town, as well as maintaining a vehicle, supervising the officers and other administrative duties related to the occupation has increased over the years.
"Back when the contract was built, deputy's pay was about a third of what it is now," explained Jensen. "We're building a contract that we'd like you to see and have your attorney review. The cost would be the actual cost...it would make up for some cost issues. I hope it doesn't offend you, but I'd like to remind you of what you get when you contract with us. We try to be available."
The new contract may quote $38 per hour for an officer with a vehicle. Jensen observed that the existing contract has been in place for more than two decades because of the cost and that the county realizes that drastic changes in patrolling expenses could be burdensome. "We'll write up the new contract so you don't have to pay your attorney, then we'll get council approval."
Council members agreed to have Jensen draw up the new contract and bring it before them as soon as possible. Furthermore, the council renewed an agreement with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which authorizes Jensen as representative of the police and Tom Manion as the city attorney to do all the billing for services online.
Council visitor and Wykoff resident Lois Suckow inquired of Jensen what could be done to slow traffic through town on Highway 80, as she has witnessed how people roll through town and take no heed of the speed limit signs. "I can't believe that no child has been hurt, so if someone comes into town and they're following me, you'd better believe I'll be going 30 or less, and if they're speeding, I'm going to slow down just to prove the point." Suckow had previously asked the council to enforce speed ordinances, but the council deferred to Jensen since he was available to answer Suckow's questions.
He said, "If there's a particular time of day or street, you can call us and we'll try to be there. We do, however, literally write half the speeding tickets we did years ago and try to work with the drivers a little more."
Mayor Lyman Hare pointed out that the city has attempted to have the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) change the speed limit in town but was unsuccessful in persuading MnDOT.
Jensen countered, "Sometimes they look at the squeaky wheel...maybe that's the way you can get something done. If you write a letter to them, we can write a letter of support for your letter."
In other action, councilors and Hare examined the calendar in order to set the annual budget planning meeting. Hare related that he had asked city clerk Cheryl Davis to contact Mike Bubany of David Drown & Associates to assist in financial planning and that a meeting should be held to determine what assessments could be considered in relation to city improvements.
Councilors agreed to meet this Thursday, Aug. 22, but the actual budget planning meeting date raised some concern because Hare stated, "Should we have the council meeting on Aug. 27? I'll set the budget and give it to the council."
Councilor Rocky Vreeman asked, "Doesn't the council get to go over the budget?"
Hare reiterated, "I'll set the budget with Cheryl and bring it to the council."
Councilman Jeremy Comstock countered, "I'll object to it because it's something directed and set by the council."
Hare said, "We will go through it line by line and bring it to the council...it will take less time than two nights of meetings."
Vreeman pointed out, "That's what Cheryl does for us - she gets it ready, then we go through it. It's going to take two nights anyway."
Hare said, "I'm not trying to hide anything. I just thought we would be able to get through it in less time. I'm just trying to make it easier, but I guess it isn't. We have to have the proposed budget ready by Sept. 15."
The meeting is public if a quorum appears, and councilwoman Megan Larson commented, "I feel that any financial decisions should be made by the group, that any financial discussions should be held by the whole council." The meeting is slated for Tuesday, Aug. 27, at 6:15 p.m. at Wykoff's city hall.
Votes were taken to elect new members of the planning and zoning committee and the board of review, as one position is open on each. Community members expressing interest include Tim Zwart, Matthew Kirkpatrick, Jacob Gilbert - who is already on the board of review - and Mark Larson, who wanted to join the board of review.
The council briefly considered taking recommendations for the positions because it was the first time that reappointments had been brought forward, but soon chose to continue with voting since the original members had been elected and not recommended. Gilbert garnered three votes for the planning and zoning committee, and Kirkpatrick got three for the board of review. Zwart and Mark Larson each received two votes of five possible.
Other items on the agenda included converting vacation, sick and personal leave to paid time off (PTO), formally accepting city maintenance foreman Al Williams' retirement proposal, repairing the "Gateway to Forestville" Wykoff sign that had been posted on County Road 5 outside of Forestville State Park after vandals shared their artistic flair, approving a move of a fire hydrant across a street near the CHS elevator to accommodate the grain company's planned expansion - at CHS' expense - setting a meeting to open bids for the new wastewater treatment plant this past Monday, Aug. 19, at 7 p.m., and tabling the purchase of garbage cans to be placed around Wykoff due to cost and vandalism concerns.