Elkhart Lake says no to shared police service with Howards Grove

by Emmitt B. Feldner
of The Review staff

ELKHART LAKE – The Police Department will not be providing law enforcement services in the village of Howards Grove next year.

Trustee Steve Kapellen reported to the Elkhart Lake Village Board Monday that the Protection of Persons and Property Committee had turned down that request from the village to the east.

“We told them we will look at it again next year,” Kapellen said of the request from the Howards Grove Village Board to contract with Elkhart Lake for patrol services.

Howards Grove officials had been seeking to utilize the Elkhart Lake Police Department in place of patrol services currently provided by the Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Department.

The Howards Grove Village Board approved a potential contract for a minimum of 10 hours a week of patrol services in the village during 2017 last month, but the details still had to be worked out with Elkhart Lake officials.

“We really didn’t have enough time to put something together,” Kapellen said of the talks with Howards Grove officials. “They were a little quicker than we were. They wanted it by Jan. 1 and we didn’t feel it was feasible for the village of Elkhart Lake.”

The proposed agreement would also have included Howards Grove taking part in Elkhart Lake’s municipal court for citations issued by Elkhart Lake officers patrolling in Howards Grove.

Elkhart Lake and Kohler are the only villages in the county with their own fulltime police departments. The village of Cascade has a part-time police chief it shares with the village of Waldo and the town of Lyndon.

Kapellen said his committee tabled a discussion of billing for police services at special events until Police Chief Michael Meeusen can talk to Road America officials.

An increase in the room tax rate to 7 percent was approved unanimously by the board.

As part of the increase – which was negotiated with the Tourism Commission – the village will increase its share of the room tax proceeds to 7 percent to cover administrative costs.

Village Administrator/Clerk/Treasurer Jessica Reilly presented the final tax figures to the board.

She noted that the total gross tax rate is $19.05 per $1,000 of property valuation. That’s down from $19.35 the previous year, a drop of 32 cents or almost 2 percent.

After credits, Reilly added, the net tax rate is $17.68 per $1,000, also a decrease from the previous year.

Village President Alan Rudnick said the Administration and Finance Committee had approved a request from the Elkhart Lake Improvement Association to help fund their weed control efforts in 2017.

The village has provided aid for ELIA’s weed control efforts in past years, Rudnick noted.

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