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Granite Falls Advocate Tribune
  • Granite Falls to bring police force back up to pre-2010 levels

  • New full-time officer would run at approximately $70,000 including benefits.
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  • Back into 2010 a depressed economy and reductions to Local Government Aid had the Granite Falls City Council on the lookout for avenues that would allow the city to tighten its fiscal belt, and so when Dave Evenson retired for medical reasons that year they elected to replace the post with a part-time position. A few years of an improving national economy and one-time bump in LGA appropriations later––and the city is apparently feeling a little better about its financial standing, voting unanimously Tuesday to bring the position back to full-time.
    “I think its become common knowledge there too much that there's not somebody on duty 24/7,” said councilman Steve Nordaune, who sits on the wage and salary committee and proposed the resolution. “We've been lacking, a community of this size, on 24 hour coverage.”
    According to City Manager Bill Lavin the cost of the full-time officer would run approximately $70,000 including benefits However, it was also noted that the hire would likely reduce roughly $30,000 in last year’s overtime payouts by $12,000 and part-time officer pay by about $33,000.
    Other council members made only additional statements of support.
    On a related matter, council members also approved a request by Granite Falls Police Chief Russ Blue for purchase of a replacement squad car at a total cost of $29,140.
    In other news:
    •At the recommendation of the wage and salary committee, council members approved a new three year contract (2014 - 2016) with both the Police Officer’s Union and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).
    Amongst other changes, the new agreement includes wage increases of 2.5 percent annually for both sets of employees and a new 60/40 employer/employee, as opposed to 50/50,  split on group health insurance premium rate changes.
    •Minnesota House Representative Andrew Falk, DFL-District-17A, attended Tuesday’s council meeting and discussed the upcoming legislation session.
    Issues of discussion included the bonding bill, transportation and flood mitigation.

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