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Nevis Council finalizes law enforcement proposal

NEVIS - After weeks of wrangling to negotiate terms of a law enforcement services agreement with the county, Nevis decided to stick to its guns - basically, the original proposal.

At a second special meeting convened this month, the council honed a firm and final offer: $65,000 per year for a Hubbard County deputy working 40 hour per week.

The proposed amendments to the agreement state if the deputy is to serve the city and the surrounding area, the city will not be responsible for overtime.

If the agreement is dissolved, the Nevis squad car will be returned to the city. The city currently owes $6,366 for the vehicle.

The city will deposit $3,000 in a city account for future replacement of the squad car; the funds will not go directly to the county. If a new vehicle is needed, the cost will be split between the city and county.

The city, the council concurred, will not be held accountable for union wage increases, which, according to council member Karl Dierkhising, could amount to an additional $4,000 per year.

Members also balked at the "open door" reimbursement policy being proposed by the county.

The agreement states the first year amount is predicated on estimated annual costs. "Future actual costs may vary, depending on level and types of coverage elected by the city, as well as future labor, fuel and other operational expenses," the draft states.

The amount payable by the city would be adjusted to reflect the county's actual cost, which drew council criticism from the onset.

"This section is too unpredictable and open ended," the council agreed.

"An officer "needs time in the school, to work weekends and check on businesses," mayor Ray Melander said. "We have had the flexibility of saying work when you need to," he said. "Now we will be working with a cooperative agreement with the county.

"This should be considered an experiment," Melander said. "Bottom line is if the county board finds (the city's proposal) unacceptable, we will move on."