Marshall City Council talks about annual reports, new ordinance

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

by Margot Allemand

Staff Writer

The Marshall City Council met for its regular meeting on Monday, Feb. 4, to discuss police department, Municipal Utilities and fire department annual reports.

Marshall Chief of Police Mike Donnell went over the annual report, and discussed the new reporting system and crime rate.

“To give you an idea, in 2017, what we reported in crime bases was 343 crimes,” Donnell said, “At the end of this year when we summarized, the amount of crime reported to the state was 1,263. So basically we reported more than three times the types of crimes.”

Donnell explained that the new reporting system is better for recording, because it gives them a better understanding of what type of crime is recurring, but also who, where and when it happens.

“Previously, all it was, was you sent to the state ‘we had a stealing.’ Now we have a stealing that occurred at this time, and this was the person that did it and this is the type of victims,” Donnell said. “So it’s easier to break down, and we can see who’s committing the crimes, when they are being committed, and stuff like that.”

The final change that Donnell went over was the Continuing Law Enforcement Education training. Previously, police officers were required to have 48 hours worth of training every three years. However, now the state requires them to have 24 hours of training every year.

“That’s going to start putting a burden on our training budget and personnel, because now we are spending more time at training than we are on the streets,” Donnell said. “Again, it’s a good thing. We need the training. Being educated and learning stuff is a good thing, but we are going to spend a little bit more time in class being taught.”

Peace officers who have been licensed in 2018 will not need to complete CLEE training until calendar year 2019. If officers fail to meet the requirement, they will have their peace officer license made inactive.

The report also highlighted the police department’s community involvement, such as Shop With a Cop, Secret Santa or the Chaplain Program.

The Marshall Fire Department’s annual report estimated the fire loss to be $806,952 for the city of Marshall. This number shows an increase of fire loss from $566,200 in 2017. Saline County Emergency Management Director Tony Day explained the large increase in loss is due to two concrete truck fires and more structure fires than usual during last year’s cold winter.

“Fire calls got up quite a bit this year... A lot of the calls are calls for service now. It can be anything from a cat in the wall to, a lot of times we are helping people up. We do that a lot when the ambulance is busy.”

With the passing of one battalion Chief and the retirement of three members, the training of the promoted members have kept the fire department busy.

Marshall Municipal Utilites General Manager Jeff Bergstrom went over the trihalomethane reduction project, which took nearly two years to finish, as well as the AMI meter project, and the new 23,800-square foot warehouse.

The council approved the resolution authorizing submittal of a solid waste grant application with Region F Solid Waste Management District, as well as an ordinance executing a first amendment to a contract between the city of Marshall and Rickett’s Farm Service of Marshall Inc. for the transfer of certain real property in the city of Marshall.

“Last fall we held public hearings and we rezoned approximately 22 to 23 acres just north of the ‘bowl’ on O Avenue,” City Administrator David Haugland said. “Subsequent to that, we had an agreement to sell approximately 10 acres, it would be the north 10 aces of that 23 we brought in to the city, to Rickett’s Farm Service for them to put a new business.”

The council had originally approved to sell than 10 acres from a track diagrammed previously, but the correct number turned out to be 11 acres.

Haugland also talked about a new ordinance establishing a permitting process for special events.

“This is actually one (ordinance) that I borrowed from my previous community. We spent about a year putting this thing together,” Haugland said. “Marshall, kinda like Excelsior Springs has a lot of different events, whether it’s parades, the wine walk last year, lots of different things, we’ve got some neighborhood block parties... Most of the time we find out about them a day or two before, it might be after the fact.”

This ordinance would require citizens to fill out paperwork, before city employees unit through each department, such as the police and fire department, MMU or Municipal Services, to ensure the safety of everyone.

The council approved the first reading, Haugland hopes to get it ready to go before the spring, because this is when people start organizing outside events again.

The council went into closed session to discuss legal, real estate and personnel matters, but no action was taken. All councilmen were present at the meeting, with Ron Ott participating via web camera.

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