B.E. OKs cost proposal for Bago coverage

Local News

A proposal to have Blue Earth Police Department provide coverage doesn’t have the specific details Winnebago city leaders and residents want.

Blue Earth City Council this week on a 5-1 vote approved a fee schedule and cost breakdown of police services.

Under a proposed model, Winnebago would pay $369,680 annually for coverage of 240 hours every two-week pay period. On a monthly basis, the cost would be $30,806.

Police Chief Tom Fletcher says three officers would each work 80 hours every two weeks.

During a Winnebago City Council meeting held in May, residents asked council members to gather more information and hold another public meeting before deciding whether to dissolve the police department.

Some residents had questions regarding police response time, what input and say would city officials have and what would Police Chief Eric Olson’s title be if Blue Earth assumed police services. However, none of the concerns or how the arrangement would operate were addressed.

Right now, it’s just a proposal to the city of Winnebago on costs,” says Fletcher. If this is something that the city would like to proceed with exploring, then further details would have to be addressed.”

Blue Earth’s latest proposal is slightly more than the $355,561 that was initially offered to provide coverage from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. that was scheduled to begin in 2024 if approved by Winnebago officials.

The proposal presented by City Administrator Mary Kennedy during a Blue Earth council work session states that the city would have to hire three or four officers, depending on Winnebago’s requested coverage.

Under this model, the Winnebago Police Department would be dissolved. This would add to Blue Earth’s police force, providing extra staffing to Blue Earth as well,” says Kennedy’s memo.

Costs broken down monthly would be $25,340, salaries and benefits; $1,032, operating supplies; $833, motor fuel; $768, communications; $667, equipment; $667, hired services; $500, training; $417, vehicle; $333, miscellaneous; and $250, K-9.

The true cost of each employee’s hours worked, under the proposal, would be passed on to the city as additional charges.

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