Police task force to meet in Columbus

Paul Rignell
Columbus Reporter

Columbus city leaders have taken a new step toward reviewing the city’s options for police protection by setting a task force meeting for May 1.

Elected officials including Mayor Dave Povolny and Councilmember Jessie Messina are expected to join Planning Commission members Andy Anderson and Garth Sternberg in comprising half of a task force. As of the April 24 City Council meeting, staff had confirmed two other residents as participants. One is a Brooklyn Park police officer.

Mayor Povolny said April 24 that he hopes also to bring the security director from Running Aces Harness Park onto the task force, along with another Columbus resident who is known to be working for police in a south metro city.

The Columbus council voted 3-2 last December to extend a contract with Anoka County for policing through 2014, but a review of increased fees last fall prompted city officials to look into other options.

In the new contract, county deputies will boost their minimum presence in the city starting in July from eight to 10 hours daily, including weekends. However, there are provisions for the city to pull out after 2013 if the county should come forward with further proposed increases that would exceed 5 percent of this year’s payments.

The Columbus public safety task force will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 1 at city hall, 16319 Kettle River Blvd. The meeting is open to the public.