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Police officers recognized for exceptional service

New Richmond City Council members joined Police Chief Craig Yehlik in recognizing five officers for exceptional service in response to a domestic disturbance incident involving a firearm on Sept. 29, 2017. (L-R) Mayor Fred Horne, Officer Jason Noel, Officer Carlos Delacruz, Officer Aaron Anderson, Officer Mike Crubaugh, Lt. Veronica Koehler and Police Chief Craig Yehlik. Tom Lindfors / RiverTown Multimedia

New Richmond City Council members joined Police Chief Craig Yehlik in recognizing five officers for exceptional service in response to a domestic disturbance incident involving a firearm on Sept. 29, 2017.

Yehlik read from a letter of commendation at the council meeting Monday night.

"When situations like this arise, I'm reminded of statements made about Medal of Valor recipients. The men and women who run toward the danger remind us with courage and humility, what the highest form of citizenship looks like. It still amazes me that I was chosen to lead such a tremendous group of dedicated law enforcement professionals. I have confidence in every one of our officers to do the job that is expected with utmost patience, skill, professionalism and desire to have a successful outcome."

On the morning of Friday, Sept. 29, the five officers worked together to safely disarm an intoxicated gunman and offer assistance to a female victim who had been assaulted by the gunman; two small children were also at the scene. Yehlik continued with the commendation.

"On this date, it happened to be Lt. Koehler, Officer Crubaugh and Officer Anderson that ran toward the gunman putting their lives on the line for the citizens of New Richmond. Your actions were heroic in every sense of the word. Detective Delacruz and Detective Noel, the way you interacted with the victims, gathered facts and dropped everything to insure a successful outcome was nothing short of amazing. All five of you are fantastic at what you do. The citizens of this community should be proud. You all represent everything that is special about New Richmond and your actions on Sept. 29, 2017 are to be commended. On behalf of the New Richmond Police Department and the City Council, thanks for your service."

City Finance Director Rae Ann Ailts informed council members the 2018 City Budget Tour has one stop remaining after completing presentations for 15 organizations throughout the community. She thanked staff members for their participation and community members for their valuable feedback during the tour.

Ailts shared the results of the survey conducted during the tour in which the city asked two questions: 1) If you had $1 million, where would you prioritize funds? and 2) should the City levy (tax) for capital projects that it will address in the next two to five years?

Less data from the single remaining presentation, residents prioritized spending funds on the new library and community space 29 percent; parks, trails, recreation amenities 21 percent; street and utility projects 17 percent and development/re-development 15 percent.

Residents also favored an option to increase taxes by nearly 2 percent to enable the city to raise $100,000 in capital savings.

Ailts added one of the more gratifying reactions to the tour was that community members felt like they were being heard, listened to by city officials. Approval of the 2018 budget is scheduled for the Nov. 27 City Council work session.

During review of the Third Quarter Financial Report, council members inquired about the future of the K-9 fund currently being managed by the New Richmond Area Community Foundation. The fund, which currently stands at roughly $76,000, will be reduced to roughly $10,000 after the initial cash outlay to get the program up and running starting in December. The foundation currently charges a minimal percentage of the balance to manage the fund. City Administrator Mike Darrow noted the service provided by the foundation has saved city resources, but suggested a review of the agreement to see if advantageous alternatives might be available to the City going forward.

Other business

• Following a public hearing, the Council approved Resolution #111701 Vacating and Discontinuing Drainage and Utility Easements where they were formerly located in proximity to the Phillips Medisize warehouse expansion project.

• The Council approved the Final Design Contract with SEH and Memorandum of Understanding with Richmond Township in conjunction with the 125th Street Project contingent on further study by Public Works and input from residents regarding the configuration of a proposed trail related to the project.

• Council members approved the Mayor's appointments of Theresa Rubida to the Historic Preservation Commission and Josh Lindseth to the Regional Loan Fund Committee.