By Megan Spees
MONTROSE – Although the search for a new police chief continues, the City of Montrose recently hired two more reserve officers to assist Officer Kent Brisby.
The city council agreed in September to pay Jason Dinwiddie and Brad Roberts $11 an hour. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office also provides extra law enforcement through a 28E agreement with the city.
The sheriff’s office handled 21 Montrose incidents during September, according to a report given to the council at Thursday’s meeting. They included a report of a fallen tree (county engineer notified), three traffic violations (warnings issued), lights left on at a local business (no problems), a traffic stop regarding the improper use of a child restraint (warning issued), an occupied parked vehicle (no problems), fraud report, noisy neighbors (warning issued).
Others included an alarm call at a local business (no problems), two calls regarding odors in the area (nothing found), removal of a person from a residence, a report of a boat docked at the river front, an intoxicated person (warning issued), vandalism to a vehicle (no permanent damage), youth loitering near St. Barnabas Chapel (they were identified and sent home) and stolen appliance from a rental unit (under investigation).
The incidents also included phone harassment (suspect contacted and advised to stop calling), theft of money from a residence, three unidentified male juveniles reportedly walking through town early in the morning, animal complaint (dog gone prior to deputy’s arrival), medical call (possible committal by the family) and theft of medication from a vehicle.
Construction of a new Jehovah’s Witness meeting hall at 929 Main St. is set to begin Friday, according to City Clerk/Treasurer Celeste Cirinna. A 50- to 75-person crew will work every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through November to build the facility.
Because the meeting hall’s parking lot will be built over a sewer, the council approved a contract with the Jehovah’s Witness Church that transfers responsibility for sewer line repairs to the group. City Attorney Robert Johnson has requested a legal description and easement for the property. Cirinna said she’d contact the architect to get something in writing.
Council member Mary Van Pelt, chair of the Economic and Community Development Committee, said one nuisance property was cleaned up Thursday with another to be taken care of the following day. Newberry Towing hauled away junk vehicles and Justin Westermeyer cleaned the yard.
Property owners who are served with nuisance abatement service will pay for the cleanup via property taxes.
Tom Buckley of the Lee County Conservation Department and Julie Schilling of the Lee County Health Department encouraged the council to consider backing the agencies’ building project that will cost an estimated $3.9 million to $4.5 million. The facility at Heron Bend – located three miles north of Montrose – would be centrally located for use by all county residents, be handicap accessible, and afford plenty of space for the departments’ wellness and education programs.
Mayor Bob Reid and several council members voiced their support of the project.
The council also:
Set Beggar’s Night for 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30.
Approved the purchase of two steel safety ramps for the old school gymnasium. Public Works Director Michael Hoenig said he got a $450 estimate for the equipment. The city is making minor improvements to the gym that will ensure the safety of walkers, athletic groups and others who use the building.
Advised Hoenig to use the $760 remainder of a 2010 Federal Emergency Management Agency grant for placement of rip rap on the Seventh and 10th Street culverts.
Advised Judy Brisby, who manages the Ivor Fowler Community Center, to refer to the council anyone who requests the use of the center for business purposes.
Passed a resolution for a certificate of completion and final acceptance of agreement work on the Scenic Byways gateway sign.
The next council meeting is at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1.