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.


GET TO WORK! Rebecca Jacobs of Northstar Technology Solutions chatted with Tim Zipoy from Central Minnesota Jobs and Training Services and Business Service Specialist Brad Durfee from Minnesota Job Services. (Photo by Jennifer Edwards).

BROWN FAMILY FARM. Jodi and Ben Brown, raise produce on land on Co. Rd. 15. (Submitted photo).

THE CAST OF CINDERELLA gave four outstanding performances at Big lake High School over the weekend in the first musical production the school has had for many years. (Photos by Jennifer Edwards).

Front row: Hailey Foss, Christina Kimmer and Ashley Lang Back row: Assistant Coach Todd Yurkew, Maria Yurkew, Hannah Heitz, Ariel Parnell, Megan Archambault and Coach Kevin Lang. (Submitted photo.)