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No resolution yet in Morrison SRO talks

City, school district about $9,000 apart in cost breakdown

MORRISON – The chances of the Morrison school district starting the new year with an officer policing the halls are getting slimmer.

The city and school district still are trying to hammer out a final agreement for putting the school resource officer in place. Talks have stalled on the cost breakdown for the new position.

The City Council approved a version that called for the school district to pay 70 percent of the cost and the city 30 percent. The officer’s salary and benefits would come in between $66,000 and $77,000, depending on experience. Other expenses, however, also come into play.

“There are associated costs such as equipment and training, and that’s the part we’re working hard on now,” Police Chief Brian Melton said.

The council discussed the issue Monday, but no action was taken on an amended agreement. The school district also met at the same time, complicating matters.

“The police chief was going back and forth and brought back some information from their meeting,” City Administrator Barry Dykhuizen said.

It appears that about $9,000 is hanging up the negotiations. The school district wants to keep its portion within a $50,000 budget, and the payment ratio approved by the council would have the district responsible for about $59,000.

The council meets twice a month and the school district only once, so the city wants to get both sides into the same meeting.

“The council is inviting the superintendent and a school board member to come to a meeting in December,” Dykhuizen said.

Main Street project

The new estimates are in for the Main Street infrastructure project that is being considered by the council.

The most expensive part of the project would be the rebuilding of a 5-block area of Main that would extend from Orange to Clinton streets. A larger water main and new ADA-compliant sidewalks also are needed.

Until now, the city had been looking at estimates from several years ago and guessing as to what inflation has done to the project. City officials say the new estimates came in about as expected.

The street and sidewalk work came in at $2 million, while the water main estimate checked in at about $1 million. There are some variables involved, such as material choices – for instance, concrete costs about $35,000 more per city block than asphalt. The life expectancy of concrete, however, could be twice that of the alternative.

The council’s biggest concern is that this project doesn’t eat up all of the city’s sales tax money.

“We really have to look at the budget, because the council wants to make sure there is still money available for other streets if we do this,” Dykhuizen said.

They want to make a decision by mid-February, so engineers could get to work on the plans.

Hospital expansion

The council approved a stormwater management plan from Morrison Community Hospital.

The hospital, at 303 N. Jackson St., sits on a large hill, and the city requested details on the hospital’s drainage plans in anticipation of its $18 million expansion plan.

The hospital plans to build two large detention basins to handle water flow in the project area.

Next meeting

The Morrison City Council next meets at 7 p.m. Dec. 10 in the Whiteside County board room at 400 N. Cherry St.

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