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City seeks meeting regarding resource officer
City seeks meeting regarding resource officer

The Richland Center City Council will request a joint meeting with the Richland School District Board of Education to consider a community resource officer in the schools. 

The action was taken during a meeting of the city council in the Municipal Building Tuesday night. 

And the meeting isn’t expected to be about the need and desire for the position as much as it is to determine how it will by funded. School officials reportedly are seeking a community resource officer  in the building, and Richland Center Police Chief Billy Jones told the city’s Finance Committee and council that he is also supportive of a plan for a resource officer in the schools. 

The question is how the position be paid for. The school district operates on a different fiscal year - July 1 to June 30 - while the city budgets year to year - Jan. 1 to Dec. 31.The city has not budgeted for a resource officer although Jones said his budget could provide $50,000 designated for lobby improvements at the police department to have the position become a reality. 

He pointed out that Richland Center is the only school among the six in the Southwest Wisconsin Conference that does not have a community resource officer working now - some full-time and some part-time - and various funding relationships have been developed between the school district and the communities regarding the position. In some cases, the school district pays the bill for the officer.

City officials are hopeful of being able to work out a deal to determine the funding relationship during a joint meeting.

Alderperson Mark Chambers said he viewed the community resource office as a positive step for the purpose of being a deterrent toward some activities within the school and also provide another adult for students who need another adult. 

In other action, the city council repealed a previous action and reissued temporary Class B picnic licenses for the Greater Richland Area Chamber of Commerce for July 21, Aug. 18, and Sept. 15, to accurately reflect the change in premises from 950 N. Orange St. to 397 W. Seminary St.

The council voted unanimously to accept the bid from Scott Construction of  $83,601 for asphalt overlays for the Street Department. The department will acquire 900 tons. 

The council voted unanimously to replace AED devices after learning that five had reached “the end of life” and batteries were not available. The council will use $11,511.50 of ARPA funds for seven units.

At the request of city Clerk/Treasurer Aaron Joyce, the council agreed to purchase Badger Books Electronic Poll Book. The book is expected to streamline the voting process. And Joyce added that it could reduce the need for some poll workers. The cost is $8,540 most of which is already designated for electronic equipment.

Mayor Todd Coppernoll also read a resolution merging the city’s Public Works and Property committees. The resolution cites efficiency, ease of communication, and consistency for the merger.

Richland County Circuit Judge Lisa McDougal provided an overview of the Richland County Treatment Court Team and introduced several people who work on the team. The effort is designed to provide a sentencing option for the court to use to provide a highly structured environment for those with addiction and/alcoholism issues instead of sitting in jail. McDougal said the idea is to reduce recidivism and save taxpayers’ money. She pointed out that the treatment court was started by former Judge Andrew Sharp in 2017. She said so far there were 23 graduates with alcoholism issues and no recidivism. The court meets every other week to  assess progress.  Participants must call-in every day and be subject to random screening and undergo counseling and treatment. The program is funded by a state grant.