Today’s news update – Northfield has new Patrol Officer and Police Chief; Is YMCA request allowable?; Northfield Hospital promises large sum to YMCA

 Northfield has new Patrol Officer and Police Chief

The Northfield City Council met last night.  They had a packed agenda as this was the first time they’ve met as a voting body since December 10th.  They swore in Jessica Peterson White as Councilperson for the 4th ward.  She won in the special election.  As many family members looked on, City Clerk Deb Little swore in David Jandro as Northfield’s newest Patrol officer.   Erica Zweifel was unanimously elected as Mayor Pro Tem.   On the regular agenda was the appointment of Sgt. Monte Nelson to Northfield Police Chief.  City Administrator Tim Madigan said there were 2 strong candidates after an internal process, however, Northfield Sgt. Monte Nelson rose to the top.  Mayor Graham said this morning that Nelson was approved and will be officially sworn in on January 21st.  The vote was unanimous however Councilor Ludescher recused himself for professional reasons.  DeLong, while not pleased with the process, did express his confidence in Nelson.

Is YMCA request allowable?

The YMCA sought  $37,300 for sidewalk and trail improvements for the new building project.  Seemed simple enough, however, Graham said “it’s different when giving public funds”.  The City’s Charter has a provision that allows the City to give funds to any entity if it “promotes the health, safety and welfare of the City if it doesn’t have, as it’s primary goal, the benefit of a private interest”.  This is where the conversation came in.  DeLong questioned the interpretation given by Madigan as a function of government saying that “we’re not buying recreation…  we’re buying a sidewalk to a private entity”.  The bottom line is whether the sidewalk would be strictly for YMCA use or the broader public.  There was no question that the councilors all support the YMCA, it’s a question of how.   City Attorney Chris Hood said that Northfield is unique in that the Charter does allow for a broad interpretation.  Basically it’s up to the Council to interpret the Charter.  After nearly 45 minutes of discussion they chose to table it to January 21st after an agreement to look at other options/examples of what other cities have done and possibly take it to the EDA.

Northfield Hospital promises large sum to YMCA

Of note was a report from Mayor Graham, who sits on the Hospital Board, said that at their last meeting the Board voted to give the YMCA $350,000.  $100,000 this year and $50,000 after for 5 years.  Graham’s interview and the entire meeting is now archived online at kymnradio.net.

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