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New Richmond City Council approves K-9 position addition to NRPD

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Not long after he was selected to become New Richmond's top cop little more than a year ago, Police Chief Craig Yehlik introduced the idea of adding a full-time K-9 team to the department. Members of the Public Safety Committee recommended the idea and the full City Council approved starting the process to add a new team to the department.

"I'd like to start out by saying, one, thanks to everybody out there in the city that stepped forward and to the council for all the support that we've had for this program since the minute we dropped it on everyone. To date, we've raised over $75,000 for the K-9 unit. The outpouring from the community has been amazing. From little kids walking in and handing us a dollar or two, whatever they had in their piggy bank, to some very large, $10,000 plus donations that have come in from local folks and businesses. The support has been just amazing," said a grateful Yehlik at Monday night's City Council meeting.

Yehlik said some of the costs estimated at the beginning of the campaign have increased, including an additional $500 added to the dog's price along with higher costs for the specially equipped squad. However, other offers including reduced costs for vet care and free dog food for at least the first year will help offset some of the increases.

Yehlik appeared before the council looking for their votes to confirm the hiring of a new full-time K-9 officer to start Jan. 1, 2018. In addition to working out some department policy items pertaining to payment of officer, a number of other items need attention ahead of Jan.1.

"There's some work that has to be done at the handler's residence to get ready for a kennel and we need to start ordering the squad and things like that. Before we start spending money, we thought we should bring this back before the council for formal approval," stated Yehlik.

Council members unanimously approved moving forward with the K-9 position.

City Administrator Mike Darrow reminded council members that 2018 Budget Lab will be taking place in September and October. The lab provides opportunities throughout the community for residents to have their questions answered and provide their feedback pertaining to the $18 million 2018 budget. Darrow advised residents to check the City's Facebook and Twitter accounts for announcements as to dates, times and locations for the public engagement sessions.

City Finance Director Rae Ann Ailts reported the City Utilities website update is nearly complete. The revamped site should launch by the end of October. She also noted that the City will be observe Public Power Week, Oct. 1-7. Activities will be announced.

Airport Manager Mike Demulling informed council members that preparations for Super Bowl traffic and security are already underway. Demulling expects the airport to handle as many as 35 additional aircraft in conjunction with the annual football finale. The airport, working together with the police department, will also be providing 24-hour security over the course of the event.

Other business

• The next meeting of the Citizens Comprehensive Planning Group is scheduled for 4:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 13 at the New Richmond Airport. The public is invited to participate.

• New Richmond Fire & Rescue has an Open House scheduled for 6-8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 9. Donate food items for a chance to win a ride on a fire truck.

• A dedication celebration is scheduled to take place 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16 at the New Richmond Skate Park. Demonstrations by Third Layer Skate Park, free food, music and giveaways will round out the day.

• Public Works announced an Open House 5:30-7 p.m. Sept. 28 at the New Richmond Civic Center to discuss reconstruction of 125th Street, scheduled to begin in 2018.

• Friends of the Library's third annual Murder Mystery Dinner Theater fundraising event is scheduled for Oct. 7 & 8 at the New Richmond Golf Club. Tickets are $40.

• The Council's September Work Session has been moved to 5:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 2 at the Civic Center.

• Council members voted to approve a resolution requesting application for exemption from the County Library Tax.

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