Elkhart Lake to provide police service in HG

by Emmitt B. Feldner
of The Review staff

ELKHART LAKE – The Elkhart Lake Police Department will be expanding its coverage to the village of Howards Grove for the next three years.

The Village Board Monday approved a three-year contract with Howards Grove for the department to provide up to 10 hours a week of patrol service and ordinance enforcement in the village 10 miles to the east.

The contract must still be formally ratified by the Howards Grove Village Board.

Police Chief Michael Meeusen outlined the details of the contract for the Protection of Persons and Property Committee, which recommended approval to the full board.

The department will send a part-time officer to Howards Grove for nine hours a week, while Meeusen will be in that village an average of an hour a week for administrative duties.

Howards Grove will be paying $45.42 an hour for the service, along with paying insurance and providing a patrol car. Meeusen said Elkhart Lake would see a profit of just over $10,000 a year on the service, in addition to revenue from fees on fines paid to the combined municipal court of the two villages.

Village Administrator/Clerk/ Treasurer Jessica Reilly said the village will receive a $10 fee on every fine paid from Howards Grove.

She noted that Howards Grove had been paying $40 to $50 an hour for patrol service from the Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Department before terminating that contract several years ago.

Meeusen said his department provided some patrol service earlier this fall in Howards Grove utilizing grant money through the “Click It or Ticket” program.

“They had more comments and more people calling to thank them for us being there than they did with the Sheriff’s Department,” Meeusen told the board Howards Grove officials related.

“So it wasn’t a money issue for them,” he added.

Meeusen assured the board that the service to Howards Grove will not result in any reduction of service in the village of Elkhart Lake.

“We’re never going to leave the village (of Elkhart Lake) with nobody. Our village comes first,” Meeusen pledged.

The contract is for three years, he said, “So we don’t have to come back to you every year for approval.” Either party can opt out of the contract at any point with 60 days notice, Meeusen added.

He said the Howards Grove Village Board is expected to act on the contract at their first meeting in December.

The committee also authorized the police to keep their 2012 Chevrolet Impala car as a training vehicle and for the boat patrol.

Meeusen said the department would usually trade the car in for a new patrol vehicle, but it does not have enough value to make a trade-in worthwhile.

The board approved the $6,885,910 2018 village budget. The budget includes an increase in the property tax levy to $1,366,785.

Although the village property tax rate will rise 1.6 percent to $4.49 per $1,000 of property value, Reilly said the final total tax rate will be down more than a dollar for village residents. She cautioned that the final rate will go up slightly once it is adjusted for tax incremental finance districts.

The board agreed to advertise for applicants to fill the vacancy left by the retirement of Trustee Steve Kapellen (see picture and story on page 3).

A deadline of Dec. 1 was set for applications so that the board can make an appointment at their Dec. 4 meeting.

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