Zimmerman Council: Night to Unite, Equipment Trade, Facebook, Body Cameras

by Heather Reinhart
Contributing Writer
The Zimmerman City Council was asked April 17 to support a community event component to annual Night to Unite festivities in August.

The council also learned at its meeting on Monday the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office is initiating a process to consider use of body cameras, the Fire Department is considering adding a Facebook presence and public works is preparing for its mowing season.

Public Works Director Dave Johnson said his department would like to look into the possibility of trading in a New Holland tractor and a John Deere 1445 to buy four or five more usable pieces to meet the city’s mowing and snow removal needs.

The current New Holland Tv6070 was purchased in 2014 and has proven to be too large for many uses.

“It’s been kind of sitting in the garage,” Johnson admitted, adding that it’s simply too big for most jobs and only has 275 hours on it.

The John Deere 1445 commercial mower, blower and broom unit was purchased in 2000. It is now 17 years old and has 2,500 hours of use. The tractor is used heavily year-round, but Johnson and his team would like to replace it due to age and condition. They would like to look into trading in both pieces to acquire a newer piece of equipment with accessories that will meet all their needs.

Johnson said he’d like to look into purchasing a new 2015 John Deere 5115M tractor, John Deere 1585 commercial mower, John Deere 72-inch mower deck and a John Deere R280 disc (ditch) mower. The estimated cost, after trading in the other two pieces of equipment, would be roughly $13,000.

“It’s quite a bit smaller but will still do all the things we need it to do,” Johnson said of the 5115M tractor as compared to the New Holland they’d be trading in.

The City Council gave Johnson permission to pursue the issue. He is expected to return to the next council meeting with his findings.

Insurance premiums down in Zimmerman
Also on Monday night, the City Council heard a presentation from Randy Hadaway of Liberty Insurance regarding the 2017-18 insurance coverage renewal. The total package premium of $70,090 is 4 percent lower than last year’s rate of $72,614. The workers compensation premium of $21,971 is down 35 percent from $33,755 a year ago. This brings the grand total for 2017-18 to $92,061, which is an overall decrease of 13 percent from last year’s rate of $106,369.

Hadaway said that keeping the claims down has helped keep the rates down.

Park Board seeks support for citywide event on Night to Unite
Representatives of the Zimmerman Park Board were sought council support for creating a citywide event for Nite to Unite, which is coming up on Tuesday, Aug. 1. In addition to the neighborhood events that occur every year, the Park Board would like to hold a public event at Lions Park. The City Council gave its support for the event and the Park Board will continue to discuss options. Ideas being tossed around include having a fire truck for kids to tour, bean bag games, a disc golf tournament, volleyball games, food vendors and a bounce house. They will be reaching out to local businesses asking for their support of the community event.

Body cameras, Facebook site eyed
In other matters, the board:
•Heard a law enforcement report from Patrol Capt. Bob Stangler, who said the county is in the beginning stages of looking into body-worn cameras. He said there is a lot of work to be done, but the county is starting to consider it. Public hearings will come down the road, possibly this fall.

In his report, Stangler noted that there were 201 traffic stops in the month of March, which is up about 80 from normal. He attributed the rise to a couple of new people on staff that had just come off field training and have had a few more stops than usual while getting acclimated to the job.

•Reviewed the Fire Board Report, which included discussion about creating a department Facebook page as a tool to provide information to the community. The department would also like to purchase a thermal imaging camera for Engine 2 and would like to replace grass rig 3. The current rig would be traded in, with the balance paid from donated funds from the Relief Association.

•Mayor Dave Earenfight reminded the board about the upcoming Passing the Bread Food Distribution, which will be held April 29 from 9-11 a.m. at the UMA Building.

He said that last month, 72 families (214 people) received 4,802 pounds of food. This came at a cost of $3,000, which is paid for through contributions from Zimmerman and Princeton area community members, businesses, private donors, fundraisers and grant awards.