Waldo board discusses police protection issues

by Rodney Schroeter
of The Review staff

WALDO — Village President Dan Schneider presided over the board’s Monday night meeting for the last time. For two other board members, it would be their last meeting as trustees.

In the hour before the meeting, current board members, soon-to-be board members and other visitors enjoyed a meet-and-greet buffet arranged by Clerk/Treasurer Michelle Brecht.

During the meeting, Brecht and Schneider went over the financial reports in more detail than usual for the benefit of the three in the audience who would, next month, sit at the board table.

At one point, Brecht commented, “This is tighten-the-belt season for the village.” Smiling slightly, Schneider amended, “It’s always tighten the-belt season. But it’s always very manageable.”

The police report for March was reviewed: One citation for $200.50 (operation after suspension); three complaints investigated (assist with the bank moving, parking issue, two arrested for possession of heroin paraphernalia); two warnings; eight property checks; two arrests made; and no traffic accidents investigated, court appearances or warrants.

Trustee Mike Hintz asked if more information was available on the arrests for drug paraphernalia. Schneider replied that “There are limitations” as to what the sheriff’s department can release to municipalities. Details are often not available until released officially.

The board discussed the village’s police protection options.

“Right now, the village of Cascade covers our police protection,” Schneider explained. Waldo contracts with Cascade to provide 10 hours of poby lice coverage at a cost of $400. (That number of hours is exceeded as necessary; for March, Cascade provided Waldo with 13.5 hours of coverage.)

Schneider said about two years ago, the village had considered establishing a similar contract with the county Sheriff’s Department. At that time, the board decided to remain contracted with Cascade.

Whether the county or Cascade could most effectively provide police coverage for Waldo was discussed. The county would not enforce village ordinances, so that was a factor to consider. Costs were a concern, but it was noted that the two entities would charge about the same.

While the current contract is with Cascade, Schneider said, “It’s not as though the discussion is one or the other. It’s how to maximize both of them.” County sheriff personnel will respond to calls and have a presence in the area, as needed.

Trustee Mark Spitz asked if there were any other options. Schneider replied that Spitz could take on the position of village constable. Amidst light laughter, Spitz politely declined.

Schneider suggested the board find out how other area municipalities handle their police protection. Schneider said Capt. Cory Roeseler of the county Sheriff’s Department would be glad to address some of the questions, including appearing at a board meeting.

Responding to a resident’s concern over the drug paraphernalia arrest, Schneider said, based on his conversations with both Cascade and county officials in the past five years, “There are plenty of drug paraphernalia and drugs in the village. Don’t think that, because you don’t see it, that it’s not here. It’s here. It’s at the park. I’ve personally picked up and discarded drug paraphernalia at the park, the dam, and the cemetery. It’s here, it’s everywhere. If you think that type of activity is not in the village, it is. Is it from people from within the village? It might be. But there’s plenty of activity coming in, from surrounding areas. It’s at every park. It is in every village, in every town. It’s a scary thing, but unfortunately, that’s really what it is, right now. So, keep your eyes open, and if you see something that’s suspicious, let the police know.”

Schneider said the board would take no action that night regarding the village administrator position.

“I did not put that on the agenda today for action, because I do not believe that that is the right thing for me to do, walking out the door. I’ll put everything together, hand it to Gary [Dekker], and that will be the option of the new board and the new president to decide that.”

Schneider recommended Bruce Neerhof for the position, listing Neerhof’s qualifications, knowledge and several ways Neerhof has already benefitted the village. “He is a true professional,” Schneider summed up.

“The description, the resolution, will all be packaged up,” Schneider said. “It will be handed off to Gary, and the new board can take a look at it, decide what you want to do with it.”

Schneider said everything is in place for Ferrellgas to install propane storage tanks in the village. He did not know their timeline, but he believed it would be soon. Hintz said his business had been informed that product could be coming from the Waldo facility as early as June.

Trustee Mark Spitz asked if future board meetings could start with the Pledge of Allegiance. That will be on next month’s agenda.

Brecht administered the oath of office to new board members: Village President Gary Dekker and trustees Chris Nadgwick and Paul Wagner.

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