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Shatto discusses sheriff’s letter with council

By Staff | Sep 21, 2016

Estherville Police Chief opened Monday night’s Estherville City Council meeting by responding to statements Sheriff Mike Martens made at the Sept. 6 Emmet County Board of Supervisors meeting about dispatch services unpaid by the Armstrong Police Department.

“I wanted to stay out of the middle of this because it’s really between the City of Armstrong and Emmet County,” Shatto said. “What should be happening is that the Emmet County Board of Supervisors and Armstrong City Council should be in court, or sit down like men.”

At issue is the cutoff of dispatch services from Emmet County to the Armstrong Police Department due to the City of Armstrong’s lack of payment of five percent of the dispatcher’s salary as their share of the expense of law enforcement communication’s service. The Armstrong Police Department had access from Kossuth County dispatch until those services, too, were cut off.

Shatto explained as a matter of public safety, the Estherville Police Department will provide from their system driver’s license and registration information as well as other information an officer requires for safety when going on a call.

“Estherville Police Department will do the ethically, morally right thing and protect any officer out there,” Shatto said.

“If an officer goes on a call and no one answers, no one knows where he is, if he’s injured or killed, I won’t allow that to happen to any officer if we can help,” Shatto said.

Council member Dave Seylar said, “This seems like a perfect situation for arbitration.”

Shatto said his purpose in providing his update was to keep the Estherville City Council in the loop, since Sheriff Martens stated it was improper for the Estherville Police Department to provide information to the Armstrong Police Department at expense to the taxpayers of Estherville.

“The sheriff has dragged this entity [the Estherville City Council] into this process,” Shatto said.

In the two years Shatto has served as chief of police, Shatto has “promised to come to [Martens] with any issue, and I have always come to talk to him at his desk.”

Shatto said he wanted to make relationships between the departments better after 25 years of strained relations between the police and sheriff’s departments.

“I’m disappointed to have not been given the same courtesy,” Shatto said.

Addressing the issue of funding, Shatto said, “[Our system] is being funded by taxpayers of the whole county through 911 fees, they’re paying fees on their phone systems for 911 service, but none of the fees are coming from the general fund of the City of Estherville. I disagree that we’re taking anything away from the Emmet County Sheriff’s Department. There’s some mention that we’re committing a theftand I disagree with that.”

City attorney Jennifer Bennett Finn provided additional information regarding the junk vehicle abatement of Homer Greene. Greene was cited under the city’s junk vehicle code for the 1991 Geo Metro parked in his driveway that was not registered for 2016. Greene was required to either move the vehicle indoors or update its registration. Greene said he did not drive the vehicle and it was not in distressed condition. Greene said he had no issue with the citation itself. “If I’m wrong, I’m wrong,” Greene said. “But it’s fair to anyone receiving notice to have written notice and to have it include the code it’s violating.”

Finn said Greene would receive a subsequent notice in writing, and have an additional 15 days to abate the nuisance or request an additional hearing on the new citation. Estherville Police Captain Paul Budach served Greene with a new notice immediately after the public hearing on Greene’s abatement issue.

The council also addressed the nuisance abatement at 803 N. Fourth St. The council authorized the city attorney to proceed with the abatement of multiple items and refuse sitting outside the dwelling.

Mike Karels of Northstar Agency provided the city council with a bid tabulation for auto, property, and liability insurance, including worker’s compensation. Council approved the bid.

A public hearing on the tentative sale of the south 15 feet of lot 6 in Carrico Heights to Kevin Woodley and the north 15 feet of lot 7, adjacent to the same property to Brian and Penny Clayton was held. The sale was approved.

The council approved revised grant guidelines for the Excel! Estherville Housing Grant. The expanded guidelines will allow developers to build homes under 1,500 feet.

“People have been requesting smaller scaled homes,” city administrator Penny Clayton said. The homes will all require an attached double garage, Clayton said. The council adjourned to explore the simulator at the criminal justice department at Iowa Lakes Community College.