The council approved the application for a federal COPS grant, that would allow the police department to hire an additional officer who would be assigned as a school resource officer. The grant would help fund the position for three years, then the city and New Richmond School Board would be responsible for covering the officer's salary for the fourth year.
Police Chief Mark Samelstad said the school district hasn't officially weighed in on the idea, but noted that the community wouldn't be required to accept the grant if it's awarded. The council approved the expenditure of $8,000 to complete a feasibility study on a possible industrial park served by rail in New Richmond. The council approved a $125,000 study of its stormwater system to see how pollution can be reduced in the local waterways. Half of the project will be covered by a grant, with the other half picked up by stormwater utility funds. The council approved a 24-hour-per-month consulting contract with Paul Mayer, director of the New Richmond Area Economic Development Corporation. Mayer will assist the city in its economic development efforts. The cost will amount to between $18,000 and $20,000 this year.
Hansen asked if the job responsibilities of Mayer and Barbian will be clearly defined so that everyone knows what's expected. She said the previous relationship with a second economic development employee turned out poorly due to confusing roles.
Schnitzler said the city doesn't want to be too specific on roles, hoping instead that Barbian and Mayer would work well together to benefit the community in whatever ways available.
"We're all on the same team headed to the same goal," he said. The council approved the first step in the annexation process for land purchased by the city for the future extension of Richmond Way to 140th Street. City Attorney Ron Siler said the court has ruled in favor of Steven and Cristy Wickenhauser in their lawsuit over the value of property purchased by the city. The property value was initially set at $750,000, but the court ruled the value was $2 million instead. Siler said the decision is being appealed. The council approved a new adopt-a-road program in the community.