New Richmond Police Chief Craig Yehlik took a moment before the start of Monday night’s city council meeting to remember police officers Emily Breidenbach, 32, of the Chetek Police Department, and Hunter Scheel, 23, of the Cameron Police Department. Both officers died Saturday afternoon as the result of gunfire exchanged with a suspect pulled over during a traffic stop in Cameron.
“This is obviously a difficult time in law enforcement. This affects us all. I knew both of these officers. We crossed paths through training and meetings. We’re pretty close knit here in western Wisconsin. Appreciate you keeping them in your thoughts. We’ll do our best to honor them in the coming weeks,” Yehlik said.
In recognition of the growing challenges facing pollinators from climate change and disease, and the growing popularity of beekeeping, city clerk Michelle Scanlan spearheaded an effort by city staff to amend Section 10 of the city’s animal ordinance. Council members unanimously approved the amendment, which includes provisions for urban beekeeping in form of ordinance 594.
The new ordinance is modeled on similar legislation adopted by neighboring communities.
“While city staff doesn't see this as a frequently issued permit, we believe it is a good fit for our community,” Scanlan noted in her memo to council members.
The new ordinance will require aspiring beekeepers to pay a nonrefundable $50 application fee. They will also need to provide a detailed plan. The plan must include a scaled dimensional drawing of the lot where the colony will be located, the proposed location of colony hives and their relationship to the lot’s property lines and recreational areas on all adjacent lots.
Beekeepers must provide proof of attendance at an educational beekeeping workshop, or proof of prior beekeeping experience, and a completed Neighbor Notification Form once an application is deemed complete and approved by the building inspector and public works director. Applications will require final approval by the city council.
Council members approved a resolution providing for the issuance, sale and delivery of a $4,525,000 general obligation promissory note to pay for infrastructure upgrades to the electric utility’s Highview and Knowles substations. Bremer Bank will amortize the loan over 20 years in two 10 year notes. The city will borrow the principal amount for an initial term of 10 years at an interest rate not to exceed 4% with the option to extend the note for another 10 years also at 4%. The proposal also allows the city, after the first three years into each term (2026 and 2036), to make prepayments or refinance at a more favorable interest rate if it's available.
Council members approved a resolution amending the wastewater utility rate increase from 3% to 4% effective May 23. The increase will appear on customers’ July 8 statement. The average impact on a typical residential bill is estimated to be $1.18 per month.
Council members approved the water department’s purchase of 300 Imperl water meters from Core & Main for $48,000.
Council members approved an ordinance requiring firefighters to reside or be primarily employed within a 15-mile radius of city limits. The new ordinance is intended to provide flexibility to the department and to enable faster response times to emergencies by recognizing there are individuals who work full-time in New Richmond and could respond to daytime calls but might reside further away than 15 miles from New Richmond.
My heart goes out to the families of the officers who were struck down and to all who do this difficult and dangerous work. It is a sad time.
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