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GLENWOOD CITY — A debate surfaced at the first regular City Council Meeting in the new Municipal Building Monday night over who will control the keys to the new facility, especially the keys to the police station which is housed within the new structure.
When Mayor John Larson addressed the agenda item about security and key control, he noted that he and Police Chief Robert Darwin had a difference of opinion about who has keys. Larson suggested that a policy be created that would spell out who gets keys, not only to the police station but to the rest of building which also houses the City Hall, Library, Community Center and City Council Chambers.
Darwin addressed the Council about the key issue and stated that he alone, as Police Chief, should have control of all keys for the Police Department. He cited regulations from the County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal authorities on keeping items and evidence in the hands of police officials secured and out of public view.
Darwin spoke at length about an audit from officials about how secure the facility and noted that if others have keys to the police department, “We would not be in compliance.”
Many questions aroused from the discussion, especially one about what if there was an emergency inside the police offices and the emergency crew or fire department needed to get in, would they have to break down a door?
Darwin encouraged the council to make changes in the locks at the police station so that no one other than the police could enter. But, with some unanswered questions, Mayor Larson set a special Council meeting for next Monday in an attempt to get answers and solve the issue.
During his report, Darwin noted that with the new facility that both police cars now are stored within the garage at the Municipal building. He also reported on a drug bust recently in the Community and that a subject was arrested for drug possesion and a quarter pound of Meth was found on the subject.
Councilperson, Rob Unruh, a patrol officer with the Wisconsin State Patrol noted that he had worked with the local police on several occasions and praised the work of the Glenwood City Police Officers.
This newspaper questioned Mayor Larson about rumors circulating that operation of the local ambulance service would be taken over by the Baldwin Ambulance on July 1st. Larson stated that they were not true, but he further explained that he has had some preliminary discussions with both the Baldwin and Boyceville Ambulance service.
Two representatives, Lynn McIntyre and Sara Hinz, from Cedar Corporation out of Menomonie addressed the council, Hinz noted about the construction of the new building and that a punch list has been made of items that the contractor needed to address. She noted to the council that the construction was way ahead of schedule but noted a list of items that needed to be done, saying, “The building was 97 percent complete.” Both pointed out that the city has received some $470,000 in grant funds for the building and will be applying for about the same amount this week. Hinz noted; “We are disappointed at this point in time.”
McIntyre spoke during the open citizen participation hearing that was part of the grant requirements. She noted that the city has done many projects in recent time and that the new municipal building was a million dollar grant that was approved in 2020 and that the city could apply for another grant. She suggested things like street improvements or public utility improvements.
In other action the Council approved the purchase of items for the ambulance and the fire department. Both items are financed by a donation from a local couple.
First Julie Lee and Wendy Werner, ambulance co-directors requested to be allowed to purchase a new Lucas CPR devise for the second ambulance. The cost was put at $17,845 while Fire Chief Greg Holden requested a purchase of a battery powered “Jaws of Life”. The cost of that item is $11,600.
Rochel Karlson, the local librarian, addressed the Council with a couple of items including that the school had requested to use the Community Center on March 8th for ACT testing, but it had already been scheduled for another event. So she asked the Council for permission to allow the old library for that testing. The Council approved and Karlson also noted that she would be requesting a picnic license for beer and wine at the library’s masquerade party in February.