Lonsdale considers record management with Rice County and franchise with Greater Minnesota Gas

Wade Young

Montgomery Messenger

The Lonsdale City Council tabled two issues at its meeting Thursday, Aug. 25, to join its police record management with Rice County and to consider a franchise with Greater Minnesota Gas Inc.

In the first order of business, Rice County Sheriff Richard Cook asked the council to consider bringing its record system to Rice County, a move that would upgrade and improve the record management for the city.

In addition to Lonsdale, the county is also looking to bring Morristown and Dundas into the fold. Cook said a central location that would enter police data consistently would, in the end, help officers do their job, eliminating inconsistencies that happen now.

“An officer could enter the name Richard Cook one time, Dick Cook another, and Richard E. Cook another time,” said Faribault Police Chief Mike Lewis who was at the meeting with Sheriff Cook. “If you don’t enter the names consistently, it creates problems for officers when they stop people in the street, knowing whether or not they have the right person.”

Cook acknowledged that another reason he wants Lonsdale on board is because of the rate of growth in the community.

“Let’s face it, you’re the fastest growing community and you’re generating a lot of information out there,” he said.

Lonsdale Chief Jason Schmitz said the city is currently backlogged with getting information logged into the system. This was echoed by Cook when he said, “We just don’t have an accurate representation of what’s going on,” he said.

Cook said if the city wanted to try the new method for a year, they would have the option to return to local data entry, at the cost of significant upgrades to city equipment that is compatible with county systems.

The council said they would discuss the issue again at its meeting on September 8.

Greater Minnesota Gas

The council decided also to seek more information a request by Greater Minnesota Gas Inc. for a franchise agreement in the city. Mayor Tim Rud said he had concerns about safety issues and recommended the company’s officials meet with Lonsdale Fire Chief Don Novak who would present a written report to the council.

“I’m not opposed, I just have concerns and would like to see a staff report that they’re comfortable with the proposition and safety standards,” Rud said.

GMG Vice President of Governmental Affairs Tom Tellijohn spoke about the issues the council had the last time the company requested a franchise.

“I understand that various issues were raised, and the City did not feel that they were adequately addressed at the time,” Tellijohn wrote in a letter to the council.

Tellijohn continued to address issues that the council had previously, including, rates, safety, high pressure versus low pressure, shutoffs, and local presence.

GMG already services territory within Lonsdale due to an annexation of Wheatland Township. The challenge for GMG is they are obligated to obtain a non-exclusive franchise from the city in order to legally operate its system. Statutes also require that the city recognize the utility’s right to serve the affected area by granting a franchise.

Other business

In other franchise business, the council approved the application for a cable communication system franchise that would add high speed internet, cable access over IP lines and a telephone bundle package through Lonsdale Video Ventures.

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