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Hudson Common Council: Joins ACCE, establishes fire department officially

ACCE membership

With a tie-breaking vote from the mayor, the Hudson Common Council voted 4-3 to join the American City County Exchange (ACCE).

Membership to the exchange, a nonpartisan forum for local leaders, was proposed after the city joined the National League of Cities.

Council members Joyce Hall, Jim Webber and Randy Morrissette cast the opposing votes.

"I am voting no because I am consistently voting no with any membership," said Morrissette, who warned the council will see more people asking it to join different groups.

Council member Tom McCormick said he agreed with Morrissette, but after joining one group, he said he saw value in the services provided by the ACCE.

Council member Bill Alms supported joining both the ACCE and National League of Cities, but said he would like to have a point person designated to explore the services offered by both groups and see if they are valuable assets to the city.

Alms volunteered to serve as that point person for both organizations.

Council member John Hoggatt also voted in support of joining the ACCE, prompting a 3-3 council tie that was broken by Mayor Rich O'Connor in favor of joining.

"I think this is the first time I've broken a tie," O'Connor said.

Design services for EMS at Ward Ave

The council approved working with Five Bugles for design and engineering services to remodel one of the Ward Avenue building for use by St. Croix EMS.

While Five Bugles was not the lowest bid for design and engineering costs, its total project budget costs were the lowest at $350,000-$500,000. EMS Chief Brandon Lyksett said with Five Bugles' previous experience with the city and the Ward Avenue site, he recommended its proposal for services with a cost of $59,750, or $48,600 without construction services.

The fee for the remodel would be paid for by the city initially from undesignated fund balance, and then repaid by the St. Croix EMS partners through rent.

The city had also previously looked at combining the EMS building at Ward Avenue with the fire department. McCormick said preliminary estimates of that option showed a cost of upwards of $2 million.

"Obviously this is a more budget-conscious way to go," McCormick said.

Alms asked how long the building would last. While Mike Clark of Five Bugles said there's no easy answer for that depending on material and design, he said it would likely be 20-30 years.

City Administrator Devin Willi said the design would come first, and approval of the services is not committing to the remodel at this point.

EMS chain of command

During Monday's meeting the council also approved an official EMS chain of command.

The approval came after elected city officials were left uninformed of a staffing shortage during a weekend shift in January.

"I wanted us to have something formalized so someone's notified," Morrissette said.

In addition to setting supervisors for EMS staff, the chain of command states that all major notifications will be made to the city administrator, EMS Commission chair and Public Safety chair as soon as possible. Lyksett these major notifications would include staffing shortage, staff injuries and more.

Willi said he would then notify other officials like council members.

Fire Department established

In a unanimous vote, the council established the Hudson Fire Department, which has been in operation since 1873.

Fire Chief Scott St. Martin said though there are some references to an ordinance establishing the department in the past, the city does not have a current one doing so.

"Somewhere along the line it went missing," St. Martin said.

The formality is required by state statute.

"We know have a fire department," O'Connor declared.

Rebecca Mariscal

Rebecca Mariscal joined the Hudson Star Observer as a reporter in 2016. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a degree in communication and journalism. 

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