Friend City Council voted not to open the city pool for summer season during its Feb. 4 meeting. 

The council voted this way in order to save money for the new city pool project, tentatively set to open in May 2021. 

Kristen Milton of the Friend Pool Committee gave an update on the project. The council approved Kirkham Michael to perform a topographical survey on the site within the coming week. 

Carrothers Construction of Illinois was hired as the construction manager at risk. They will be on site and responsible for hiring subcontractors for the project.

The council reviewed thank-you notes from the city employee appreciation dinner last month and approved Eakes Office Supply for document management services. 

Along with that, council members discussed the option of using an issued electronic tablet to view documents and to use for invoice approvals that can be viewed anywhere. Action was tabled until tablet prices can be checked. 

The council approved adding more Windstream internet services around the city, with more poles being installed in various locations. The project is set to begin within 90 days of the council’s approval. 

Public works supervisor Billy Baugh gave his monthly report, saying the two recent hires are working great. He also requested a city-wide clean up day to be April 26. 

Friend Police Chief Shawn Gray also gave his report, saying 40 calls have come in since the beginning of the year. 

He also presented quotes for a new police cruiser as one of the two vehicles has overheated and had mechanical issues. Gray said he is leaning more toward a pick-up truck, but nothing was decided. 

The council also talked with Gray about a possible expansion of the police department office, inside the same building they are located in now at 235 N. Maple St., but no action was taken. 

The council reviewed a proposed policy for a ride-along program for the department to take place. Anyone over the age of 16 is welcome to participate. 

“It allows for transparency for the department and allows students to see if they have interest in (police work) as a career,” Gray said. 

Because the council was not sure if it would be covered by its insurance company, action was tabled until next month. 

Jake Clouse brought forward a request for golf carts from the Friend Country Club and Golf Course to be allowed to be driven more than just to and from the course, as well as possible use from sunrise to sunset. 

“They would operate now like a vehicle, like yielding to vehicles and following traffic signs,” Clouse said. 

Clouse presented potential registration fee options and what policies from other local towns look like. 

The council discussed liability options and a fine structure that could be set with Gray. 

“We obviously have people driving them more than to and from the golf course,” Mayor Jewels Knoke said. “At least if we mandate that they have insurance, it would be paid for.” 

Action on the item was tabled. 

The council also tabled approving the Friend Community Hospital monthly report, so members could take a closer look at its financials. 

Brian Himmelberg and Jim Ryan of the Community Redevelopmemt Authority presented end-of-the-year cash statements and gave a tax increment financing update. 

Himmelberg said the projected TIF revenue coming in for the next four years is an estimated $695,000. He also said the committee is looking at redoing residential areas and has a few projects underway. 

The council approved a $3,000 city contribution to the annual Friend Fourth of July celebration. 

The next Friend City Council meeting will be March 3 at 7 p.m. at City Hall. The meetings are open to the public.

hope@sewardindependent.com

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