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Mayor Dean Knudson gives 'state of the city' update

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news River Falls, 54022
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

Hudson Mayor Dean Knudson concluded the April 1 City Council meeting with a report on the city's accomplishments since he took office close to a year ago.

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"I think we've been a very productive council," he said.

His goals coming into office, he said, were to promote safe neighborhoods and streets, keep taxes under control and protect the city's identity as a unique river town.

Knudson said the hiring of an additional police patrol officer and six casual call officers had led to a 25-percent increase in police patrols.

The patrol officers also have more and better equipment to improve their efficiency, he reported.

The new equipment includes in-car computers, radar guns and Tasers.

The mayor also highlighted the completion of the Lakefront Park improvement project.

He said the project, started during the administration of former Mayor Jack Breault, had caused him the most heartburn of any issue he has faced as mayor so far. But he added, "I'm very, very pleased with the result."

The new flood walls functioned "just about the best you could hope for" during the recent high water on the St. Croix River, Knudson said.

The mayor touted the move to a different health insurance plan for city employees as a major accomplishment. It has saved the city thousands of dollars while providing employees with insurance comparable to what they had before, he indicated.

Knudson said his biggest frustration has been an inability to make a steep reduction in the city's energy consumption.

"We've not really moved along at the speed I hoped to," he said.

He said the effort to reduce energy consumption will continue, however.

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