By Jean Doran Matua, Editor
At a Nov. 19 council meeting, and after some discussion, the Kimball City Council approved a three-year contract with the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office to provide policing services in the city of Kimball. The hourly rate is $45.32 for two full-time officers. The city will provide a single squad car to be used by both officers (on different shifts), and the contract allows for one of the officers to take home the squad car so they don’t have to come to the station every day. The county will pay for gas, and for equipment and training.
Some of the discussion was about the take-home car, as this was a hot issue with the former police chief. Captain Jon Lentz explained that a good deal of equipment would need to be swapped out at each shift if an officer is not allowed to take the squad car home. He added that there’s probably only about a year of useful life left in the current squad car.
Another issue that arose is the fact that the contract with Fair Haven, signed earlier this month, includes use of the Kimball squad car to police Fair Haven townsite and now the township as well, without compensation to Kimball for it. Insurance coverage – whether the car is insured when being used by Stearns County to police Fair Haven; the council’s approval of the contract is contingent upon the squad car being covered for this. Again, Cpt. Lentz explained that there is no other way for the county to provide coverage, without raising the rate over $55/hour.
The council vote was 4-1 to approve the contract, contingent upon insurance coverage for the city; Kyle Christensen voted against it, preferring not to have a take-home car, and the county use its own vehicle in Fair Haven.
The next step is to present it to the Stearns County Board in early December.
The council also discussed increases to water/sewer and garbage rates for city customers. A final decision is scheduled for the Dec. 17 meeting.
The next regular meeting of the Kimball City Council is at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3.