Contracting numbers ‘nowhere near’ estimation

NB mayor says disbanding  police department might not be a big cost saver

Disbanding the North Branch Police Department and contracting for law enforcement services with the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office might not save the city as much money as initially thought.

At the May 13 North Branch City Council meeting, Mayor Ron Lindquist said a committee composed of him, City Administrator Bridgitte Konrad, Councilmember Trent Jensen and North Branch Police Chief Dan Meyer recently met with Chisago County Sheriff Rick Duncan to go over the finances of contracting with the county.

“The numbers were nowhere near where we thought they were going to be, not even close,” Lindquist said. “So I think a lot of this is in vain.”

He noted North Branch Finance Director Richard Hill is reviewing the numbers, and the council will discuss the issue again at its June 6 work session.

As has been the case at past meetings where the police department was discussed, members of the public stepped up to the mic and voiced their support for the NBPD.

Seven approached the council dais.

“I’ve hardly seen anybody who isn’t in favor of the NBPD,” Doug Brown said. “I think when you have that many people who are supporting what you have, you should probably listen. We don’t want you to make a decision that is going to cost you folks your political jobs.”

Mic Dahlberg said getting rid of the police department would be irresponsible.

“I’m here to stand and protest your attempts to disband our award-winning police department,” he said. “If this is one of your solutions for cutting government and government spending, I oppose this philosophy. Cutting and diminishing essential services in the name of financial savings is mean-spirited and potentially life threatening.”

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