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City concerned over county fees

Is the City of New Richmond paying more than its fair share to house inmates at the St. Croix County jail?

Some city council members feel the city is being overcharged because New Richmond operates a municipal court.

Alderman Jim Zajkowski, also chairman of the council's Finance Committee, addressed the issue at last week's monthly city council meeting.

The city currently pays about $60 a day to house an inmate at the jail. But Zajkowski says $16,000 each year is deducted from the city's municipal court budget to cover expenses at the jail.

"We feel that we are being double dipped on the charges and we want to contact other cities that operate a municipal court and see if something can be done to reduce our costs," Zajkowski said.

Members of the finance committee will report back to the city council after other cities are contacted.

In other business, the council at its Oct. 12 meeting:

• approved a condo with contingencies for Richmond Prairie Condos Phase II. The development is located on a one-block area between Paperjack Drive and Richmond Way. Items that still need to be addressed with the development include signing a park fee agreement;

• discussed and approved plans for a proposed commercial storage facility to be located in Richmond Township. The property, located near a proposed Little League complex, currently houses the former bus garage, which is set to be torn down to make way for the storage buildings. A residence is also located on the property, along with a mini-garage. The city is looking into the possibility of annexing the property in the future;

• gave the okay to rezone several lots in the Oak Park addition. Part of the parcel was rezoned last month. This month's rezoning includes lots 1-13 on block 3;

• approved a final plat presented by Wesley Investments for Rich River Trails;

• agreed to allow a resident in the 800 block of West Eight Street to rezone part of his property from commercial to residential. The property is owned by a physician who is now retired and would like to turn the upper portion of the building into a family dwelling;

• approved an after-the-fact parade permit for the New Richmond School District for a high school homecoming parade that happened last month. City officials said the school district "forgot" to get the permit ahead of time. Alderman Fred Horne opposed the measure, saying the school district needs to act more responsibly about obtaining proper permits;

• agreed to allow the Old Gem Theater to being serving beer and wine during play intermissions and after performances. Mark Miller with the Old Gem Theater told council members the company is trying to increase adult business;

• approved the following Mayor appointments: Frank Norton to replace Joe Jamieson on the Park Board and Joe Berends to serve on the Municipal Street Improvement Program Committee;

• agreed to allow for the refusal of collection from Waste Busters Disposal;

• agreed to spend $57,000 on construction of an airport maintenance building in order to place equipment indoors;

• discussed current sign ordinances in the city. City officials feel there are too many signs for such things as garage sales, brat stands, etc. and would like to look at the current ordinance to see if it can be better laid out in order to benefit both the city and its residents;

• presented a plaque to Kellaher's Bar for 100 years of service to the community;

• talked about a police department proposal to donate about 40 bikes and other seized items to Nicaragua;

• scheduled budget meetings for Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. and Oct 27 at 6:30 p.m.;

• approved payment of vouchers totaling $1,385,752.

• adjourned into closed-session to discuss a proposal for the golf club, purchasing land for Paperjack Trail and for parking at the Community Center, union negotiations and a right for first refusal for property located in Richmond Township.