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Law enforcement proposal meets opposition in Nevis

Members of the Nevis Council are convening a special meeting next week "to hash out" a decision on the law enforcement contract with Hubbard County, council member Karl Dierkhising expressing strong opposition to the proposal Monday night.

Members of the Nevis Council are convening a special meeting next week "to hash out" a decision on the law enforcement contract with Hubbard County, council member Karl Dierkhising expressing strong opposition to the proposal Monday night.

County attorney Don Dearstyne arrived at Monday night's meeting, ostensibly to address questions on the proposed contract before the council voted on the matter.

But mayor Ray Melander said council members need "time to digest" the contract, which arrived Friday.

"The premise is we want a full-time officer," said police commissioner Rick Carson. "We have a workable agreement with a full- and part-time officer."

But Dierkhising disagreed. "I think this will cost the city too much money and there are too many unanswered questions. After reading the contract, I cannot support this."

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Nevis has offered to supply $65,000 toward a deputy's benefits and wage package, turn over a 2006 Ford Expedition squad car to the county and add $3,000 per year to fund a future squad car.

But the contract states the amount the city pays "will reflect the county's actual cost of providing services for the contract year just completed."

Initially, the council pushed for an expeditious decision from county commissioners. Former police chief Craig Kritzeck resigned in December.

But Paul Schroeder pointed out the city has had adequate patrol from the sheriff's department and the part-time officer. "I've never seen so much coverage from the county," he said. "We don't have to make a decision right now."

He expressed opposition to the coverage ratio discussed at the county board meeting, commissioner Lyle Robinson suggesting 30 percent of the Nevis deputy's patrol time be spent outside the city.

The city, he said, has received several applications from viable candidates for the police chief position.

"We may be getting less coverage for more money," Dierkhising said of the county proposal. "We still owe $7,000 to $8,000 (for the police car) and in two years, we may be out of a rig."

Dierkhising pointed out the city will be absorbing the cost of the union pay rate. "I don't see how we're benefiting."

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The council will convene the special meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 22.

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