By Cara L. Dempski
ELK MOUND — The Elk Mound Village Board learned during their August 3, 2016 meeting that they will be losing a part-time police officer. Police Chief Travis Hakes announced to the board that officer Dan Downey had accepted full-time employment with another agency. Downey was working approximately 30 hours weekly for the village.
Hakes said during discussion that there are three other part-time officers employed by Elk Mound, scheduling will become difficult due to time commitments these officers have with the other departments they work for. “I’ll be picking up more hours, but even I can’t be here all the time,” said Hakes, who also works full-time for the Village of Lake Hallie. “With four part-time officers, we’re only able to staff about 48 hours weekly,” Hakes added. He went on to say that the village would like to maintain between 30 and 40 weekly hours among the remaining four officers.
Board Member Tom Gilbert said that it’s difficult to say right now if Elk Mound will have the budget to hire a full-time officer in the coming years. “I would like see a full-time officer, and I think the budget would support it, but I can’t speak for the entire board,” Gilbert said. “We’re absolutely going to look at it, but the problem with part-time help is they’re all still looking for full-time employement. I’m sure it’ll come up again in the very near future,” he finished.
Hakes stated that he’ll be on hand as much as possible, as he lives in the village, but is also hopeful that there will be adequate funding in the budget to provide for one full-time officer. Both Gilbert and Hakes said it would be easier to keep officers for longer periods of time if the village is willing to pay for full-time hours, retirement, and health and vacation benefits.
Officer Downey informed Hakes that he will retain his employment with Elk Mound until he has a set start date with his new employer.
In other business, the Elk Mound Village Board discussed:
• Joe and Lisa Hassemer of S103 Garland Street have removed the old fire siren tower and have contacted Xcel Energy regarding safe removal of the cement slab it was on. Board member Terry Stamm expressed concern that the slab might be a cover for the old fire department well. The Village will disuss this with Hassemers.
• Terry Stamm and Mark Levra discussed the possibility of a trophy case for the Community Center to display the achievements of local residents. Levra is looking at cases for purchase and Stamm suggested that the high school shop classes be approached regarding having one built. This was tabled for discussion at a future meeting.
• A new sign for Elk Mound Youth Baseball has been placed on the Field #1 dugout at the Elk Mound Village Park.