BLPD Chief Joel Scharf and Administrator Todd Bodem met for 20 minutes with the township board Wednesday, explaining the need for a new policy in determining township costs for police service to joint annexation districts east of the city. The township will meet in special session Nov. 26 to review the proposals. (Photo by Gary W. Meyer)

City, township ironing out 2014 police fees

Gary W. Meyer


For approximately 20 years, Big Lake township and city have shared development costs and tax receipts from properties in the industrial park areas east of the city.
City police have patrolled and responded to service requests in those areas, charging the township for their share of the costs.
Wednesday, city officials paid a visit to the township, asking that the current policy for charging for police protection into those joint annexation districts needs more revenue. 
  The township said they’d take the issue under advisement and discuss it again in special session at noon Nov. 26.
The township has reimbursed the city about $4,600 the last two years for the service, 
Chief Scharf reported costs for police protection are high because of travel and time, and suggested a blended rate (higher to the township) would be worthwhile. The rate would be based on service calls, geography and miles of roadway travelled, as a percentage of the total City of Big Lake.
“There is a lot of sparse land out there,” said Scharf, “but a number of high-call buildings.”
He was referring to Options, Inc., the Friendly Buffalo, the Remmele plants and the CentraCare Big Lake Clinic.
Supervisor Larry Alfords said he’s struggling with agreement to certain portions of the policy change.
   He acknowledged the discussion is a good start.
The police force has a budget of about $1.3 million in operations annually and is trying to firm up budget figures for 2014.
About 194th Avenue?
Carol Parpart, Pete Ahrens and others attended the meeting to inquire about the status of 194th Avenue, which is still in the hands of the MnDOT but is bordering a future development.
Treasurer Ken Warneke reported the roadway is part of the old trunk highway and re-alignment by the state has been discussed.
But the township has continued to maintain the roadway and will do so until MnDOT asks to change its status.
   As the roadway may be affected by the proposed Big Lake Rail Park, it could be affected and the state likely isn’t willing to give up the road, just to have to take it over again as part of rail park traffic venues.
The township will keep the people informed of any changes in its status.
New Bond Re-Sale
   The township will consider redoing its intended sale of $910,000 in refinancing bonds for industrial park north addition improvements in February.
Warneke said the township has $200,000 in CDs which are making minimal income and they could be used to lower their refinancing level to $710,000. The refinancing is being done with the city with KleinBank, to occur in February.
   “We can do this comfortably,” he said. The lower amount refinanced would save the township $42,000.
   In Other Action
In other action Wednesday, the board:
* Met with Floyd and Mabel Schultz and approved a simple plat preliminary and final plat review to their property in Schultz Meadows, off Co. Rd. 30. The issue will go to the county for further review Dec. 19;
* Met with Andrew Gerald to set up a public hearing for Nov. 26 to hear his request to vacate drainage and utility easements on Lots 1 and 2, Meadowlands III Addition;
*Approved applying for a Sams Club card for the purchase of office equipment and supplies. The township wants to buy 10 tables for the hall.


SHERBURNE COUNTY FAIR BOARD MEMBER Irene Kostreba, pictured here showing a very old poster advertising a Sherwin Linton concert, is still looking for items to display in the county fair history center. Items could be given on loan or donated to the fair board. (Photo by Jennifer Edwards).

FRESH FLAME BURGER serves up fast food with its own flair on Hwy. 10 in Big Lake. Clara Henderson, Kari Luckey and Jamall Whitelaw ordered their food to go from restaurant owner Gus Afrooz. (Photo by Jennifer Edwards).

SHERBURNE COUNTY 4-H’ers got some hands-on experience working at the 4-H foodstand at the fairgrounds Wednesday evening in preparation for the Sherburne County Fair, which starts Wednesday. About 60 kids from six different 4-H clubs learned how to grill burgers, cook fries and hot dogs and serve customers during the orientation event. Above are Big Lakers Katie Olson (left), Kirsten Olson and Taylor Muehlbauer cooking fries and Bailey Muehlbauer (right) getting hamburger buns ready. (Photo by Ken Francis.)

GRAND KNIGHT DENNIS NAGORSKI of the Knights of Columbus presented Big Lake Chief of Police Joel Scharf and Becker Chief of Police Brent Baloun with a donation of prescription drug drop-boxes for each city. Along with marijuana, prescription drugs are often abused because of easy access. Keeping them out of the water system is important to protect the environment. Now our residents have a safe way to dispose of their unwanted or out-dated medications. (Photo by Jennifer Edwards).