9/4/2014 5:22:00 PM Chisago Council agrees to cover half the added police expenses in 2015
by PAUL RIGNELL
Chisago City Council on August 26 approved the city’s share of a budget increase for the Lakes Area Police Department in 2015. The department serves Chisago City and Lindstrom, and police asked both councils last month to consider an increase of 7 percent. Consent from both councils would add $86,500 to the budget, and the primary reason for the raise would be to cover the reinstatement of a 13th patrol position. Chisago City Administrator John Pechman explained that Lakes Area operated with 13 patrol officers through 2010, but the squad was cut to 12 after the loss of Local Government Aid from the state. The police also requst $5,000 (within the $86,500), for installation of new software that was recommended by the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust. Chisago City resident Tim Alm, from Woodland Drive, told the council the city’s total budget for 2015 needs to be mindful that taxpayers’ incomes tend not to rise as much as fund requests for government use. Alm also addressed traffic on Kirby Avenue in his neighborhood, where people enter and exit the city’s Ojiketa Regional Park. He said that speeding has increased after road improvements out toward Ojiketa, and he asked for greater enforcement. Mayor Bob Gustafson noted: “It’s true, in most cases, that when you improve a road, you get a speed problem.”
In other council business Steve Maleitzke, a resident on Sharons Way, addressed the council about an issue on his road that he said has been a problem for about five years. He said that water collects at the end of his block and at the base of his sloped driveway, creating a particular hazard for driving during thawing and re-freezing in late winter and early spring. Maleitzke asked about a street repair. Pechman replied that correcting the issue could require a street rebuild. – Council authorized staff to seek quotes for installing a series of four rain gardens for storm water management on Kings Bluff. City funds will not be required to install the gardens. The project involves a partnership with the Chisago County Soil and Water Conservation District and four property owners on the road near Central Bank. The lot owners have pledged to maintain the gardens. Mayor Gustafson and other council members said they were voting to proceed on the matter with a trust that the owners or future buyers would hold to that promise. The garden maintenance is ultimately the city’s responsibility, but the mayor said he believes it would be a misuse of time for public works employees. – Council agreed to award the contract for redeveloping the Green Lake public boat landing to Dresel Contracting, of Chisago City. The company’s bid, of $138,874, was the only one among six below the city engineer’s estimate of $148,455. The cost is being covered by a state DNR grant. – Council voted to accept business sponsors’ donations ranging from $50 to $500 for the Ki-Ch-Saga Days festival held in mid-August. Pechman said that the weekend’s central activity in Moberg Park is as enjoyable for visiting vendors as it is for the community. “A lot of them tell us it’s the best weekend they have (in the year),” he said.