Osseo adds more councilors to EDA
Considers purchase of new squad car
The Osseo City Council discussed the possibly of adding more council members to open positions on the Economic Development Authority (EDA) during the Monday, Jan. 14, meeting.
The council also considered a request for a new squad car from Police Chief Tom Hartkopf.
City Administrator Douglas Reeder explained to the council that the EDA was considering having the City Council have the voting majority on the EDA.
EDA President Kevin Rebman said currently there are two council members that sit on the EDA. The EDA was looking at adding two more council members, bringing the total council members on the EDA to four.
The current EDA is made up of seven members: two council members and five members of the business owners and/or residents. He added there are currently two open seats on the EDA.
Staff recommended two options for the council: take no action or appoint three to four members of the Council to the EDA to fill existing vacancies.
Councilor Bonnie Heinen asked what the purpose would be to have more council members on the EDA. Mayor Duane Poppe said, “That was a motion made by the EDA members.”
Rebman added, there was a feeling by members of the EDA that if there were council members on the EDA, then there is more accountability of the money being spent by the EDA since the council are elected officials.
Councilor Mark Schulz said he was leaning towards adding more council members to the EDA, since it is rare to have a separate EDA and council in most cities.
Councilor Allan Hartkopf said in 2004 the Council was also the EDA, but lost a $2 million deal on the old Senior Center site as well as a project at North Clinic. He felt the EDA should be left as is with only two council representatives. Hartkopf added he did not want to be on the EDA.
Mayor Poppe said, “It would be nice to see the EDA stay intact with seven members. If we can add four members from some sort of make up of this forum to supplement the EDA for a year, still leaving Mr. Rebman in charge and Mr. Mercadante and Mr. McNeil on it. From my perspective, I guess I can see that.”
He added he had no interest in disbanding the EDA.
Schulz suggested having the EDA meeting prior to the first council meeting of each month. Rebman said he worried the EDA might get wrapped up into the council, but never formally embodied in the council meeting.
Councilor Heinen said, “I don’t personally think the City Council should take it over. Because there are probably more things they should be doing. Do we want just one controlling body?”
Schulz said there had no citizen interest and something needed to be done right away.
The council voted 3 to 2 to appoint Mayor Poppe and Councilors Rick Weber, Schulz and Heinen to EDA to fill the four vacant seats and move the EDA meetings to the second or fourth Monday meetings. Councilors Hartkopf and Heinen voted against.
SQUAD CAR PURCHASE
The council also heard a request from Police Chief Tom Hartkopf about replacing a squad car with a new 2013 Ford Police Interceptor Utility Vehicle. This replacement was part of the 2013 Capital Improvement Plan.
The department would like to replace the 2005 Ford Crown Victoria, the unmarked car typically driven by the chief. The squad has mileage of 63,000 and the vehicle has been costing more in repairs. This vehicle’s older electrical system does not handle the electronics that a newer car does.
The new Interceptor vehicle is “pursuit rated” and has all-wheel drive. The vehicle is three inches higher than the sedan with more clearance making it easier to drive in the snow. Chief Hartkopf added that the officers did a good job last year during Safe and Sober and received two brand new light bars.
The cost of the new vehicle would cost $28,000 along with additional $11,050 in new equipment for inside the vehicle. Chief Hartkopf said the parts from this new vehicle will be able to be used for 10 years more in future vehicles.
Councilor Heinen said, “I personally do not think it’s necessary to buy a car at this time.”
Councilor Schulz asked if seizure/forfeiture funds would be used to help pay for the vehicle. Chief Hartkopf said there is $26,000 in the police’s fund, but the current squad car would be auctioned off and the profits would be used to help offset the costs.
The council voted 4 to 1 to approve the purchase of the 2013 Ford Police Interceptor Utility Vehicle. Councilor Heinen voted against.