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Polk County Enterprise - Local News
Stories Added - January 2010
Copyright 2009 - Polk County Publishing Company

OPD gets 3 reserve officers

Polk County Enterprise - January 2010

ONALASKA — The City of Onalaska gained three reserve Police Department officers Tuesday evening by unanimous vote of council members. Police Chief Ron Gilbert presented information about each candidate and introduced them to council before asking members to accept the potential reserve officers. Each of the new reserve officers recently graduated from a police academy and have local ties to the Onalaska area. After taking the oath of office from Mayor Lew Vail, Dustin Lowery, Adam Williford and Jacob Chapman were welcomed to OPD by members of the council and fellow police officers. Council discussed and voted to waive half the building permit fees to Quality Marine in Onalaska as part of an economic development request from the company. The $400,000 in renovations and expansion plans would have resulted in more than $1,400 in fees for a building permit. With the council’s approval of waiving a portion of the permit fees, the company will pay just over $700 to complete the current upgrade and expansion. Quality Marine will add over $400,000 in value to the tax rolls with the renovation. The company is also the largest sales tax revenue generator within the city. According to Roy Newport, the reduction in building and permit fees will be recovered multiple times over the years through sales tax revenue generated from the business. After council members voted to grant the request to reduce the building permit fees, Mayor Lew Vail explained to council members Quality Marine requested the fee waiver as a viable community business and future waiver requests would be handled on a case by case basis. In departmental reports to council members, Police Chief Ron Gilbert reported OPD handled 182 calls in December with three felony arrests and 59 misdemeanor arrests made.

Gilbert reported 118 citations and 37 warnings also were issued during the month. OPD responded to 15 Onalaska Fire Department assistance calls, 44 Polk County Sheriff Office calls and two other assistance calls last month. Officers logged 8,716 miles on patrol during December. Gilbert reported 76 warrants were issued last month with 50 warrants cleared. OPD also assisted the sheriff’s office on 62 cases for the month. Chief Gilbert added the OPD officers were busy last week seeking and apprehending burglary suspects. Two people were taken into custody during the cold evenings last week, solving numerous burglaries in Cedar Point, Canyon Park, Impala Woods and other area subdivisions. By making the arrests, robberies were also solved in Trinity County and other Polk County locations. Gilbert reported a large portion of stolen items were recovered by OPD. (See related story, Page 2A) Mayor Lew Vail presented the OVFD December report to council members due to Fire Chief Roy Newport’s previous commitment during the departmental reports portion of agenda items. OVFD responded to 57 calls for the month with 39 county calls and 18 city calls. The report indicated 34 medical calls, eight structure fires, and one grass fire call. OVFD responded to two motor vehicle crashes and assisted two landing zones for medical helicopters. OVFD made eight other assistance calls during December.

The department logged 104 man -hours for the county and 49 manhours in the city during December. The building permit summary for December included the addition of one mobile home, two residences and one repair or renovation. A total of $1,408 was collected collected in permit fees and the projects added $455,000 in value to the city tax roll. Council member Patsy Goins presented the Library Board and Friends of the Library report to council. The Library Board met in January and approved expanding the hours of operation to better serve library patrons. The library will open on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The report included five new young adult books will be purchased with Lone Star grant funds and a worn out motherboard on one of the public computers will be replaced with a new computer. On behalf of the Friends of the Library, Goins reported volunteers logged 15 hours for December. Also reported were 542 borrowers and 696 patrons visited the facility during December.

She also reported computers were used 262 times during the month. In other agenda items, council members approved consent items including payment of vouchers, acceptance of financial reports and minutes from December. Mayor Lew Vail presented framed city recognitions to winners of the Onalaska Christmas decorating contests. Members of Impala Woods Subdivision attended the meeting to accept the recognition in the best subdivision category. Contest winners of other categories were not available to accept the recognitions in person. Public announcements included a summary of Onalaska Youth Sports Association Little Dribblers basketball participation and an online Web site for the organization. Another announcement included the retirement of Pastor Don Wilson from Onalaska First Assembly of God after over 30 years of service to the community. A retirement celebration will be held after the 10:45 a.m. service Jan. 17. The next regular council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m., Feb. 9, at City Hall.


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