City to invest in emergency notification system

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Monday night, New Richmond City Council members approved the purchase of an Emergency Mass Notification System from Rave Mobile Security for an annual fee of $3,000 and a one-time setup fee of $500. The intent of the new system is to allow city staff to alert residents directly of situations/conditions that affect them.
"This will allow us to notify residents in the event there were larger events such as a gas leak or power outage. We also have the ability to send out photos. If there were a missing vulnerable adult, we could actually send a photo of what that individual looks like , or a missing child. A lot of different functions for it," explained City Management Analyst Noah Wiedenfeld.
Residents and non-residents will be able to sign-up for the system and receive notification any number of ways including email, text, phone, RSS feeds and/or social media. The system will allow city staff to alert all users connected to the system or just specific users in a defined neighborhood. The system can also facilitate conference calls in the event of an emergency so members of responding departments can speak with each other in real time.
Cost for the system will be split between the city and utilities.
Wiedenfeld plans to meet with different departments, especially emergency services to better define what information qualifies as urgent versus other information appropriate for the system. The city hopes to roll out the new system in October. Residents will be able to sign up for notifications via portals on the city/utility website (https://www.newrichmondwi.gov/), and can specify to receive all notification or only specific types of notifications. Wiedenfeld encouraged as many residents as possible to consider signing up.
As it would be configured initially, the system would not provide Amber Alerts or severe weather warnings. It was thought that Amber Alert is its own separate process outside of what this system is intended to do and that many people already have weather programs on their devices.
Council members unanimously approved moving forward with the system while requesting staff look into adding the severe weather warning option.
Council members were witness to the swearing in the of the most recent addition to the Police Department, Officer McKenzie Hazen.
"She started at the beginning of August. We're excited to have her. She brings with her a really diverse background from her experiences working with juvenile detention and the UWRF system. She's in field training right now, starting to take over some patrol duties and will be riding for the next few months. She's been a really, really good addition to our agency," said Police Chief Craig Yehlik.

2017 financial report

On behalf of Baker, Tilly, Virchow, Krause, LLP, CPA Kimberly Shult presented council members with a summary of the key metrics of the City's 2017 Financial Report.
"To evaluate the adequacy of the General Fund Balance we pull out the amounts that are not liquid in character and we end up with just short of $2 million of what we call available fund balance. We compare that to operating revenues to see what percentage the city has available. In 2017, when you compare your available fund balance with operating revenues you have just over 32 percent. That number has been very stable over the past five years. That equates to about 3.9 months worth of operating expenses. The Government Finance Officers Association recommends a bare minimum of two months or about 17 percent and you are well above that," explained Shult.
For residents interested in taking a more detailed look at the 90-page 2017 audit, the information can be found on the city's website, Facebook and Twitter.

Other business

• Residents are reminded to respond to the Recycling Survey by Sept. 20. The survey is available on the city's website.

• A public meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Oct. 8, 2018 before the start of the regular council meeting for residents interested in learning more about the 2019 budget process. Look for a number of "pop-up" events throughout the community discussing the 2019 budget in October.

• Friends of the Library will hold a silent auction at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4. Auction items will be available for viewing starting Oct. 1.

• Regional Airport Director Mike Demulling reported the airport served as a fuel stop for three Colorado National Guard helicopters participating in a training exercise in Michigan. The airport fed a number of soldiers and paid the tab for others who chose to eat at establishments downtown. "Just a way for us to thank them for their service," said Demulling.

• The city has posted an updated bow hunting map indicating areas where deer can be hunted legally. Landowners who notice any discrepancies in the map are asked to contact the city directly to make the appropriate corrections. Hunters are reminded consent is required to hunt on private property from the land owner prior to hunting. Hunters are allowed to track deer wounded on private property onto city property.