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City of New Richmond announces 2018 budget tour

New Richmond City Administrator Mike Darrow and Finance Director Rae Ann Ailts presented council members with a schedule for community engagement regarding the 2018 proposed budget at their meeting Monday , Oct. 9. The budget is central to the operation of city government and both Darrow and Ailts believe transparency and gathering citizen feedback is essential to proposing and passing a budget responsibly.

According to a memo addressed to the mayor and council, "Our goal is to engage as many residents, businesses and other stakeholders as we can through community-based presentations and activities, as well as social media updates and online surveys."

Darrow and Ailts initiated the idea to take the budget out into the community to solicit feedback last year. The number of organizations and locations has more than doubled this year.

Council members are being invited to join staff members as they make budget presentations to a wide variety of groups and organizations around town between mid October and mid November. Community members will have an opportunity to "document" their preferences related to the budget through visual survey boards.

The presentations scheduled so far include:

• Chamber Ambassadors — noon Oct. 11

• Budget Lab #1 at the Civic Center — 3 p.m. Oct. 12

• New Richmond News — 10:30 a.m. Oct. 18

• Rotary Club —noon Oct. 23

• Budget Lab #2 at the Civic Center — 3 p.m. Oct. 26

• American Legion — 7 p.m. Nov. 6

• Comprehensive Plan Committee - 4:30 p.m. Nov. 8

• The Deerfield — 10:30 a.m. Nov. 10

• Kiwanis Club — 5 p.m. Nov. 13

Presentations are also expected to take place in the coming weeks at Friday Memorial Library, VFW Post 10818, WITC, New Richmond Area Community Foundation, New Richmond School District, Ministerial Association and Ambulance Board.

For additional details check out "Budget Bits" on the City's website at www.newrichmondwi.gov. For questions or to schedule a presentation, contact Darrow at 715-246-4268 or by email at mdarrow@newrichmondwi.gov.

Dodge or Ford?

Council members spent considerable time Monday night debating the merits of Dodge vehicles versus Ford vehicles when it came to replacing two squads, the police chief's vehicle and purchasing a new vehicle for the new K-9 officer. Ultimately the council voted 3-to-1 in favor of purchasing two new 2018 Ford Interceptor police pursuit vehicles for a total of $79,812 from Johnson Ford; one new 2018 Ford Interceptor police pursuit vehicle specially equipped for the new K-9 deputy for $48,491 from Johnson Ford; and a new 2018 Ram SSV-four-door, 4x4 pickup from Bernard's Dodge for $32,585.

Other business

• The Council approved a recommendation from Police Chief Craig Yehlik to require all parade permits be submitted to the Municipal Clerk on or before the first business day of January of the intended year of the parade.

• Council members approved a recommendation from staff to establish a banner sponsorship program to help raise funds for continued streetscape beautification efforts to Knowles Avenue. Businesses, citizens, or non-profit organizations will be able to purchase a banner displaying a winter scene and their name at the bottom for a one-time fee of $150. The banners will be displayed from November through the end of February each year for three years. Orders for banners will be accepted through late October or until spaces run out. For more information contact City Management Analyst Noah Wiedenfeld at 715-246-4268 or by email at nwiedenfeld@newrichmondwi.gov. Information can also be found in the New Richmond Chamber's e-newsletter and on the City's social media accounts.

• Council members authorized the sale of 3.8 acres of land to Phillips Medisize, LLC. The Council also granted Phillips Medisize temporary licenses to use the property and begin grading the property in coordination with the harvesting of crops currently existing on the property. Sale and use of the property will still be subject to the standard review process. Any accommodations required as a result of the review process will be the expense of Phillips Medisize.

• Council members approved moving forward with the 125th Street Design project. Final approval of the project and is targeted for February 2018 with construction scheduled to begin in March 2018.

• The start of the next Citizen's Police Academy has been pushed back to January 2018. Openings are still available. Contact the Department at 715-246-6667.

• The City Council October work session is scheduled for5:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 23 at the Civic Center.

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