Room tax may decrease, be used for promoting downtown PRESCOTT – At the Jan. 10 regular Prescott City Council meeting, Police Chief Eric P. Michaels presented his department’s end of the year …
Room tax may decrease, be used for promoting downtown
PRESCOTT – At the Jan. 10 regular Prescott City Council meeting, Police Chief Eric P. Michaels presented his department’s end of the year review, which showed an increase in overall calls for service from 2020 to 2021.
“Last year, calls for service were 5,797, and to give an idea of what that compares to the years before, our closest year was 2019 with 5,604, otherwise it was 4,962 in 2020 and 3,786 in 2018,” Michael said.
Other statistics were given included types of crimes that were reported, such as one robbery, seven aggravated assaults, six simple assaults, 18 OWIs and zero formal complaints against the officers and police department.
The police department was understaffed and was four people short during half of the 2021 year, Michaels said; however, the department is on track to be fully staffed after a newly hired officer finishes training in April 2022.
The K9 unit squad car has been ordered by Cernohous Chevrolet. It will be stored until the department has a K9 unit dog and the position for a K-9 officer is filled. The posting for the position closes Jan. 31.
“Back when it was approved at the end of the year, we had the squad car ordered for the K9 unit because it was originally going to take eight months to get here. I got a call about two weeks ago and they moved it up and it is all ready for us,” said Chief Michaels.
Following his report, the council approved the Police Department Union Contract for 2022, with all funds for wages currently in the 2022 budget. The following items are changes or adjustments to the union contract:
•A 3.4% wage increase for all officers
•A $1 per hour increase for all officers serving as Sergeants
•A $1 per hour increase for all officers serving in a Field Training Officer (FTO) position
•Fixed language in the contract that potential allowed overtime without 80 hours being reached in a Work Week (Section 14.01).
•Added the availability of Compensation Time for up to two shifts at 11.5 hours for a total of 23 hours.
•Changed Article 15 regarding clothing to more clearly define clothing to be reimbursed.
•Added Article 25 regarding the establishment of a K9 Unit
•Added Article 26 regarding Lateral Transfers This one-year agreement is based on the City undertaking a Compensation Study in 2022.
CRT bonfire The council approved a bonfire request from the Coulee River Trails group for an upcoming event that will take place on Jan. 17 at Magee Park. The group requested permission for two bonfires, which the council approved while giving notice of the current provisions that are in place under open fire policies.
Some of the provisions include “the fire pit cannot be more than three feet in diameter,” “the flame cannot be more than three feet high,” and other similar safety precautions that must be taken by leaders at the event.
The board then discussed the current room tax that is in place within the city of Prescott. The tax is in place as a collected tax on all transient lodging 30 days or less; the way it works is that paid overnight guests book lodging at an overnight facility, they spend their money in the local economy, they pay that extra room tax on top of the lodging bill and the money is used by the city for tourism initiatives.
City Administrator Matt Wolf gave a presentation about the current tax policy and the prepared changes that are suggested to be made.
“The chamber reached out and talked to us about how we could potentially use those funds for marketing Prescott for tourism,” Wolf said.
The proposal is to change the current 8% room tax to 5% room tax to match the local average of around 5%. The council decided to match River Falls and move it to 6%; further action will be taken and discussed with the Prescott Area Chamber of Commerce.
•The Public Works Committee will next meet at 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 28.
•The Parks and Public Property Committee meeting is slated for 5 p.m. Monday, Jan 17.
•The Ordinance Committee meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 24.
•The Personnel Committee will meet at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 2. More information and agendas are available on the city’s website.
•The city did not receive any candidates running for Ward 1 Alderperson, so write-ins will be counted in the upcoming April 5 election.
City Clerk Jayne Brand said, “We did not get any nomination papers for Ward 1, so if anyone is looking to run as a write-in for that ward, we need them to come in and fill out write-in papers for you to be counted in the election.”