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BREITUNG TOWNSHIP

Town board to hold public open house on policing needs

Stephanie Ukkola
Posted 6/2/21

BREITUNG TWP- At their May 27 board meeting, members of the Breitung Board heard from the Tower-Soudan Police Committee on their progress assessing the community’s policing needs. So far, the …

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BREITUNG TOWNSHIP

Town board to hold public open house on policing needs

Posted

BREITUNG TWP- At their May 27 board meeting, members of the Breitung Board heard from the Tower-Soudan Police Committee on their progress assessing the community’s policing needs.
So far, the committee is generally not in favor of having local policing, citing costs, liabilities, lack of resources for officers, and the likelihood of turnover. Before the committee comes to any final recommendation, they will hold an open house for community members to learn more about the data and share their thoughts. The date of the open house is not yet set but will be announced in the Timberjay.
Breitung Supervisor and police committee liaison Chuck Tekautz asked the other board members what their ideal policing scenarios would be, considering they would be making the final decision. Chairman Tim Tomsich said he would like to see a hybrid of local police with county support and supervisor Greg Dostert agreed.
“If we had a local officer at 40 hours (per week) and supplemented with county we could have the best of both worlds,” said Tomsich.
Deputy clerk and committee member Renee Pearson voiced her concerns about the St. Louis County Sheriff patrols sitting at the bridge in Tower, rather than patrolling the communities. “That doesn’t do us any good, paying them $70 an hour to sit there for hours,” she said.
Tekautz said that four-wheelers and motorbikes have been speeding through town on a daily basis and that it could be a result of less policing.
“Slowly but surely speed is increasing,” he said.
He reminded everyone there is a 15-mph speed limit for recreational vehicles in town. Maintenance director Tom Gorsma said motorized vehicles are not allowed on bike trails and he is in the process of installing signs on the township’s paved trails.
Tomsich said there are two applicants for Breitung Police Chief and one for full-time officer. No action will be taken at this time.
In other news, the board:
• Heard from Gorsma who reported that he and his crew have been busy reseeding, maintaining the ball field, and picking up garbage. He thanked the anonymous community member(s) who picked up garbage off Junction Road.
• Heard that demand for camping at McKinley Park is high and that it’s booked solid for most of the summer.
• Declared that COVID restrictions for township buildings were being discontinued. As of June 1, Clerk Dianna Sunsdahl will have office hours from 8 a.m. to noon and treasurer Jorgine Gornick will be in from noon to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday.
• Read the amendment to the Outdoor Wood-Burning Furnace Ordinance, passed it, and will publish a summary.
• Approved the purchase of an upgrade for a thermal imaging camera for the fire department at a cost of $5,495.
• Tekautz and Dostert will check the township for blight.
Heard that the township’s drinking water is safe and passed all quality checks.

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