By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — Police officers in Colfax will soon have a backup squad car to drive.
The Colfax Village Board approved purchasing a 2007 Chevy Impala squad car with the police equipment already installed in it from the New Auburn Police Department for $6,000 at the February 12 meeting.
New Auburn is dissolving the village’s police department and asked if Colfax would be interested in buying the squad car, said Lynn Niggemann, village administrator-clerk-treasurer.
The squad will come equipped with camera system, laptop wiring and light bars, she said.
The village board should also consider selling the other former squad car, a 2006 Chevy Impala, Niggemann said.
The 2006 squad car has 122,000 miles, and the 2007 squad has 58,000 miles.
Carey Davis, village trustee, wondered why a different used squad car was needed.
The existing former squad car is always in the shop. If it is driven to go to a workshop or a conference or something like that, then it ends up in the shop for repairs, Niggemann said.
Having an extra car is a good idea, and with another squad with the equipment, when there are more officers on duty, it could be used to patrol the village, she said.
Keith Burcham, village trustee, asked about the “blue book” value of the New Auburn police squad.
Depending on what is on it for police department equipment, between $4,700 and $6,200, Niggemann said, noting Colfax has offered $5,000 for the car.
Carey Davis, village trustee, said he did not see a reason to have another police squad.
The existing former police squad requires repairs because it is not driven often enough, he said.
If the village purchases the New Auburn car, and it is not driven often enough, the car will end up having the same issues as the existing squad car, Davis said.
Burcham said he was formerly a mechanic and not being driven is hard on a car.
“Lack of use is the number one cause for vehicles to break down,” he said.
The Colfax Village Board approved buying the 2007 New Auburn police squad on a vote of five “yes” to one “no.”
Davis voted against the motion.
Those who voted in favor were Gary Stene, village president; and Trustees Mark Halpin, David Wolff, Annie Jensen, and Burcham.
Trustee Casey Rihn was absent from the meeting.
Several village board members said the police department should be encouraged to drive the 2007 squad and put it into rotation with the department’s main squad vehicle.
The village board approved buying a new Dodge Ram crew cab pickup truck to use as a squad from Gilberts of Sand Creek at the October 9, 2017, meeting at a cost of $16,182 with trade in.
The new squad pickup truck has not been delivered, and a delivery date has not yet been determined.
The Colfax Village Board also approved transferring $18,340 from the street equipment fund to pay for the new salt shed.
The total cost of the salt shed built by the lift station on state Highway 170 was $33,840.
The village received $15,500 from the sale of the lot where the former salt-sand shed stood on Evergreen Street.
The village’s unassigned fund balance started out with $736,000 last year, Niggemann said.
During the year, $4,000 was taken from the undesignated fund for the police department; $30,000 for street trucks; and $9,300 for a John Deere mower, which brought undesignated fund down to $639,000, she said.
Paying for the salt shed will bring the undesignated fund down to $620,000, she said.
The street equipment fund has $140,000, although the total does not include the 2018 budgeted amount of $20,000, she said.
The additional $20,000 will bring the street equipment fund up to $160,000, Niggemann said.
The biggest piece of new equipment the village would have to purchase is an end loader, and Rand Bates, director of public works, estimated the cost of an end loader at $190,000.
Burcham was of the opinion the village should “take the money out of the checkbook and leave the savings account alone.”
Use the money from the street equipment fund for now and do not go into the savings, he said.
“I’m not saying we won’t have to go into savings, but we don’t have to right now,” Burcham said.
The village board approved a motion to pay for the salt shed out of the street equipment assigned fund balance.
Stene voted “no” on the motion.
In other business, the Colfax Village Board:
• Approved a training request for the public works department to attend First Supply Waterworks Training Hydrants/Pump Maintenance March 6 in Eau Claire from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
• Approved a temporary Class “B”/ “Class B” six month picnic license from March 1, 2018, to August 31, 2018, for the Colfax Municipal Building Restoration Group. The first event will be “The Britins” (a Beetles tribute band) on March 11.
• Approved extending the parking limit on the south side of River Street by Colfax Pharmacy from the alley to Cedar Street.
• Approved putting the 2004 Chevy pickup box up for sale by bids.
• Approved resolutions for Dairy State Bank for the library accounts to allow Lisa Bragg-Hurlburt, director of the public library, to have access to the accounts. Hurlburt was working on her annual reports and needed the amount of interest on the accounts, but the bank was not able to release the information because Hurlburt was not listed on the account, Niggemann said.
• Learned that Dunn Energy had awarded a $550 grant from Operation Round Up to the Colfax Rescue Squad for “life vests.”