Recap: Last night’s City Council Meeting included a Departmental Report from Police Chief John Brockmueller on replacing one cruiser beyond repair.
He promoted updating the fleet over time with flex-type vehicles, widely gaining favor in law enforcement as more efficient, higher trade-in/resale, and technologically advanced, better adapted to the mobile nature of the industry, especially in rural districts.
City Clerk Michelle Whitten reported on the Water Storage Improvement project, awarded in June 2016 to Larry Brown Construction Inc., as on schedule to begin in November. Rehabilitation of the existing water tower includes remedial paint removal, per current regulations. A new tower will be installed as well.
Under Other Business, Harry’s Place applied for permission to set up for a 3 p.m start for his outdoor food and entertainment venue on Saturday, rather than 6 p.m., requiring earlier street closure. Passed.
Michelle Whitten clarified the process necessary to access funds available in categories not earmarked for the police fleet. About half the needed funds are available, and while March 2017 marks the earliest opportunity for the City to apply for a non-commercial loan at below-market rates (fractionally above 1%), an ordinance to “borrow” and repay to cover the shortage must be put before the City Council.
A question from one community member: Is there a fund set up for (police) vehicles?
Answer: Typically yes. In recent years budget cuts were required to fund the most essential needs, thus rebuilding the prudent reserve crucial to cover costs is underway. Currently there's around $5,000 in the fund for that purpose ($10,000/annually budgeted for fleet repairs, replacements, etc).
No further questions or comments were noted.
Meeting adjourned 6:18 p.m.
I stopped in to chat with the local constabulary following the meeting, asking details on replacing the police cruiser that blew an engine recently.
Although there was a reference made in the meeting that "the contract with Winlock helps," the view was that the additional income didn't carry as much weight as the upturn in the local economy within the past couple years.
Brockmueller emphasized that covering a wider area certainly called for a reliable fleet, citing one instance where a dead battery caught the officer on call, well, flat-footed. Fortunately, another officer was in the vicinity and the back-up was set in motion without significant impact. Such incidents support updating the fleet sooner than later.
Special thanks to all of you who responded about yesterday’s homemade peanut butter cup recipe link. Who knew that would be so popular?
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