The council discussed taking a stance against the ordinance at its Monday, Oct. 13, meeting after Council member Mike Montello brought up concerns over what he called the “Orwellian” language of the ordinance. He said he is not trying to say that coronavirus is not a concern or actions should not be taken, but that this ordinance is not the answer.
The proposed county ordinance is still at the subcommittee level. A town hall was held last week, and subcommittee members decided to review the ordinance again at its meeting. If the language or a different version is approved by the subcommittee, it will first go to the Health and Human Services board before going to the full County Board for possible action.
City attorney Nick Vivian was instructed to draft a letter from the council expressing concern about the ordinance’s ambiguity.
The council also approved a request for an extension from the New Richmond School District on the Community Commons development agreement.
When the property was first purchased in 2017, the city was given 24 months to commence development, after which it could ask for a 12-month extension.
The city also approved asking the New Richmond School Board to meet with the council to discuss how the project can move forward.
The council approved the issuance and sale of $3.4 million in water and sewer utility revenue bonds.
The sale of the bonds will serve as funding for the wastewater treatment plant upgrades.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ clean water fund is the funding source for the project, and subsidizes the loan with a lower interest rate.
The plant upgrades are set to be done in June 2021. The project includes a grit removal system, expansion of the controlled building, storage tank reconfiguration and more. The upgrades will ensure the plant adheres to DNR standards.
The council approved the purchase of $22,853 worth of security features for the New Richmond Police Department.
Chief Craig Yehlik said the security components that came with the building are beyond their useful life.
The approved purchases include a visual system outside the building that would allow the administration to view which vehicles are available and provide security for any residents using the parking lot for online purchase meetings or child custody exchanges.
The purchase also includes an intercom system for administrative assistants to interact with people who come in for walk-up assistance.
The council also approved purchase of a new drug detective vehicle. The current vehicle was purchased in 2016. The department will purchase a used vehicle with a value that will not exceed $25,000.
The council also approved the department to start the process to purchase two squad replacement vehicles. The purchases were set to be made in 2020, but were pushed back due to COVID-19 financial concerns.
Yehlik said the two squads that need to be replaced are over 100,000 miles and could face maintenance requirements that will end up costing the city more.
Ordering new squad cars is a long process, and usually takes months to fill. The cost of the two new vehicles will go into the 2021 budget.