During Tuesday’s meeting, the Becker City Council heard from County Attorney Kathleen Heaney, updated lot pricing, and approved a contract for asbestos removal on city property.
Annual Attorney Report
County Attorney Kathleen Heaney joined the council meeting as a guest presenter. She gave her annual update.
The County Attorney prosecutes the petty misdemeanors and misdemeanors for the city. In 2022, the attorney’s office prosecuted 785 cases on behalf of the city. Heaney’s office collected $11,078.70 for their services, collected from fees from those prosecuted. This averaged around $14 per case. The number of cases was higher than in 2021.
“...[O]ur work is cyclical,” Heany said. “It goes up and it goes down, but we never lack for things to do.”
Her office continues to work through the backlog of cases that built up during the pandemic. The county has added additional calendars of court time to help get through the backlog.
The number of cases involving juveniles has increased. It is not as high as in pre-pandemic years, but the cases are serious in nature, involving some “pretty egregious behavior,” as Heaney put it. She and her office are looking into how they can allocate more time to address these serious cases involving children.
Methamphetamine is the drug that Heaney sees most often involved in the cases she prosecutes. Fentanyl is making a rise in the county as well, which is very concerning.
She finished by noting that the BPD was very cooperative in working with the attorney’s office, and Heaney thanked them for that, as she knew some of her colleagues did not have that same luxury.
The city has some land that is available for purchase. To stay competitive, the city decided to update their pricing for these lots for sale. The price will be increased to one dollar per square foot of industrial park land and four dollars per square foot of commercial land. They noted that the prices would still be negotiable for potential buyers, but they wished to make the pricing consistent across the city.
In May of 2022, the city acquired 212 acres of land, which included a house which has been abandoned for many years. The house was found to have asbestos. Council approved a contract with ECCO Midwest, Inc. to remove the asbestos. The city intends to do more with the house (be it remodeling or bulldozing) but needed to remove the asbestos first to remove any liability when continuing work on the house.
In Other Business, the Council:
• Approved plans and specifications on Project #4 as part of the business park expansion;
• Accepted two donations in the amount of $500 from Bihlum Chi, LLC (Martin Estates Apartments) to the police department and $3,000 from the Becker Lions Club for the Snuffy’s Landing Project.