The Greenfield City Council, Tuesday, Aug. 19, approved up to $25,000 for completing work on the ball field at Greenfield Central Park.
City Administrator Bonnie Ritter said the work urgently needs to be done because Greenfield has a deadline to meet. Failure to meet the deadline could result in financial consequences for the city.
Ritter said the Minnesota Twins have awarded Greenfield a grant from the Fields for Kids Program for creating the ball field. Under the program the Twins provide between $1,000 and $10,000 worth of matching funds for youth ball field projects. Originally the Twins required Greenfield to complete work by July 1. Ritter asked for an extension of the deadline and the new one is the end of October. By then the city is expected to have had a grand opening celebration.
City councilors asked that, since fall weather is rapidly approaching, Public Works Supervisor Jeremy Ketcher, city public works staff and an outside contractor could get the work done by the end of October. Ketcher answered that workers would be cutting it close. Work needs to be done on the parking lot, the ball field needs to be shaped and seeded, weeds need to be killed and grass needs to be growing.
The council looked at bids from four contractors that were submitted in June and chose the $23,545 bid from Nyen Companies, of Mayer, Minn. The scope of work includes work on the parking lot and ball field, seeding the area with lawn mix, filling in low spots in the playground area and regrading the area to drain to a west ditch line.
In other business, the city council continued its discussion of Greenfield’s contract with the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement services in 2015 and 2016. The council decided to wait until its Sept. 16 meeting to make a decision about the number of hours per day of law enforcement coverage that would be included in the contract. By Sept. 16 the council will have had a good look at Greenfield’s preliminary 2015 general fund budget.
City Administrator Ritter said she had been informed that the Sheriff’s Office is averaging 15 hours per day in serving Greenfield. The city currently is paying for the minimum three hours per day of coverage. She had heard concerns about what would happen if the management at the Sheriff’s Office were to change. The new management might ask deputies to adhere strictly to the terms of the contract.
The proposed Sheriff’s contract calls for three hours per day of coverage at a cost of $69,000 for 2015 and $71,000 for 2016. The contract would allow Greenfield to change the number of hours of coverage.
City Councilor Mark Holten pulled out a calculator and concluded that 15 hours per day of coverage would cost Greenfield $345,000 per year. He commented that Greenfield already is getting five times more coverage than the city is paying for. He wondered whether going from three to four hours of contracted coverage would make a difference in Greenfield’s public safety.
City Councilor Michael Erickson urged fellow council members to go to four hours per day of contracted coverage. This action would be a tangible way to thank the Sheriff’s Office and to acknowledge its value to Greenfield. The cost to Greenfield would be $95,000.
Erickson said having Sheriff’s deputies in the city for more hours makes the city safer. Greenfield is the largest user of law enforcement services from the Sheriff’s Office in Hennepin County. Eventually Greenfield will have to pay. Each year Greenfield always is concerned about the budget.
Going to four hours per day of contracted coverage would cost an additional $20,000 per year, he said. Greenfield can pay this, but no $345,000.
The next Greenfield City Council meeting will be Tuesday, Sept. 2 at 7 p.m. at Greenfield Town Hall.
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