The NAFRS Joint Powers Board met last week. Vice Chair,Glen Castore said the Fire Facility continues it’s transformation, most visible to passersby are the doors going in for the 4 bays in the back to hold the trucks that are used less frequently. Castore added, “the only negative issue here is some uncertainty about some of the concrete that was poured in the front apron, they’re testing that now to see if it’s meets specifications”. They should know by next week if it holds up. There’s a lot of concrete in the front! The $4 million rehab and expansion should be complete in the Spring, in time for their new pumper truck. Previous to the meeting, the Dundas City Council passed 3 resolutions regarding NAFRS actions
concerning their recent hire of Coordinator, Sean Simonson, and administrative duties assigned to him, certain disbursements that are paid without Board approval and how meetings are noticed and cancelled. They cancelled their November meeting on a Federal holiday. Castore said, “we discussed it a little bit but then we asked our attorney, Marin Swanson, to prepare a response to each one and we’ll discuss that in January”. Dundas Administrator John McCarthy commented this morning, “to avoid misunderstandings in the future let’s make very, very sure that everybody’s on the same page. And it doesn’t appear that there was much clarity”. The Joint Powers is made up of the City of Northfield, Rural townships and the City of Dundas. Each has representatives on the Board. There’s a long-running issue regarding how the Joint Powers Board works. One representative, Dana Graham, hasn’t attended for some time, according to McCarthy. That means a Northfield representative seat is open.
Body cameras and “in the cloud” storage
Police officers in Faribault and Northfield have been looking at body cameras for a while. Rice county Attorney John Fossum said, they’re a good idea. Adding, however, that it’s important to protect people’s privacy. More often, police respond to things that are NOT criminal in nature. He added, “they respond to medical emergencies. They respond to scenes were a person was found dead in the home and those videos we want to make sure are not getting out into the public”. Cameras are expensive and so is the storage. The vendor that Faribault police are considering for the cameras would also supply the storage,which would be “in the cloud”, “and that will make it more affordable from that standpoint”. Faribault will start with cameras for a couple of officers and then expand as resources become available.
Nfld School District set 4% levy
The Northfield School District held their Truth in Taxation meeting last week and approved their levy. Superintendent Dr. Matt Hillmann said it’s a 4% increase over last year and does include the approved bond referendum. Finance Director Val Mertesdorf updated the Board on their budget. Hillmann said, “our growth has slowed and so we’ve actually revised our projections for students just down by 10 students. Now out of 4,000 students that’s not substantial but I share that only to help listeners understand the level of detail that we go to with this planning”. In an email, Hillmann clarified, Val said she was reducing her projected increase in students by 10. She wasn’t saying we were down students. Rather she was reducing her student growth projection by ten students. While our enrollment growth has slowed, we aren’t going backward. He and Mertesdorf monitor their budget on a monthly basis.
Charter Commission vacancy
The City of Northfield is seeking applicants to fill a volunteer position on the City’s Charter Commission. The vacancy is for a term that expires on December 31, 2021. Any registered voter within the City can apply. Applications will be accepted through January 4th. Complete details: Press release for 2018 Charter Commission Vacancy December