By Lorrie Ham
The Mayer City Council met with Paul Tschida, Commander of Operations at the Carver County Sheriff’s Department, at its Oct. 14 meeting to discuss the annual contract for services. The council was interested in finding out about possibly increasing coverage into the evening hours, at least occasionally.
Tschida explained that the current coverage provides for a deputy to be in town during daytime hours. “The deputy visits businesses and the schools and really gets a handle on what’s going on in town,” he said. The majority of police calls also take place during the day, so that police presence provides a “town cop” concept, he added.
Evening, weekend and overnight calls are handled by general patrol deputies in the area. Deputies are also assigned to the community when there are town events taking place.
“What would it take to get some later shifts, into the evening hours?” asked Mayor Mike Dodge. “We just want to know our options.”
Tschida said that some flexibility was possible, but that any major changes in the hours would need to be addressed soon as the department prepares for 2014.
Councilmember Daniel Lueth wondered about switching hours to include evenings every two weeks on a regular schedule. Tschida explained that deputies sign up for assignments based on the hours and schedule for the shift. It would be difficult to arrange a schedule that changed from week to week, he added, without assigning someone to the extra hours, which would result in extra cost to the city.
“The general consensus is that it is nice to have a police presence in town sometimes in the evenings,” said Lueth. “But I don’t know what the solution is.”
Tschida said that occasionally changing shifts by a few hours could be arranged. “Nothing’s impossible,” said Tschida. “Figure out what you want and we will try to accommodate you.”
“We’ll need to have that conversation soon then,” said Mayor Dodge.
In another matter, the council added its approval to a site plan for a Carver County Veterans Memorial and Registry. The 40-foot by 11-foot granite structure is to be located at the Dakota Regional Trail Head in the corner of First Street and Highway 25.
A Veterans Committee was formed last year to explore possible site locations. Prior to seeking approval from Mayer, the committee received approval from the Carver County Board of Commissioners as the property is owned by the Carver County Regional Rail Authority. The city’s Planning Commission and Park Board have also approved the site plan.
Committee members Stan and Sandy Heldt provided a presentation on the overall project. The proposed budget is $217,000, most of which will come from the sale of pavers that can be purchased to recognize veterans from throughout Carver County. Gifts, memorials, donations and grants will also fund the project. The memorial will recognize veterans from all branches of military service.
The council also reviewed a proposed urban chicken ordinance, which was developed by city staff and the Boyd family, who had asked the city to consider an ordinance which would allow them to keep their five hens. The ordinance was developed by reviewing similar ordinances in neighboring communities.
“Council will need to decide on the number of chickens allowed, whether this is a license or a permit and if the planning commission should review the ordinance,” said City Administrator Luayn Murphy.
“I think this is a good start,” said Mayor Dodge. “I think we should have the planning commission weigh in and give us a little more time to review it.”
Councilmember Erick Boder said whatever the city ultimately decides; he wants to see “strict enforcement of the ordinance,” which he felt should restrict the number of chickens allowed and the size of the coop.
The ordinance was referred to the planning commission for its review.
In other city business, the council:
• approved a request to place a Little Free Library in the Old Schoolhouse Park. Mayer Lutheran High School students will build the book house, while the Honor Society will be in charge of monitoring the library.
• authorized the disposal of 18 55-gallon drums full of diesel and water mixture from the clean-up at the old creamery. Lubetec Oil will dispose of the barrels with no compensation or charge to the city. The space is needed for storage of the winter salt/sand mix, explained the city administrator.
• voted 3-0 (Tice Stieve-McPadden abstained) to purchase an easement for a required storm sewer pipe on Stieve-McPadden’s property at 212 First Street NE.