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Council inches forward on new library plan

WORTHINGTON — A trio of topics were discussed during a Wednesday morning special city council meeting.

Among those items, the council approved the city attorney to seek an opinion from the trustee of the E.O. Olson Trust to see if the former outdoor swimming pool site could be used for a new Nobles County Public Library.

0 Talk about it

According to city attorney Mark Shepherd, the E.O. Olson trustee rights are with the First National Bank in Minneapolis.

There have only been preliminary talks with the county and no formal action by the council to proceed with a disposition on whether the council would sell the property to the county. Shepherd was asking the council take a formal position before he would approach the trust and seek what its willingness would be to transfer the land.

Even if the trust would relinquish the rights over the land to be used for a public library, a referendum would still be needed due to city charter requirements.

“We’re not committing the land at this point, we’re only committing to find out if we can use this land for that, is that correct?” Council member Ron Wood asked.

City Administrator Craig Clark said that was the case.

“Given the work it entails to work this through, if the land weren’t eventually used by the library, does it then have other uses other than just the library?” council member Diane Graber asked. “In case we wanted to use that site for something else.”

Clark said it would be specifically for the library.

“I think this site would be a good place for the library,” council member Mike Kuhle said.

The council also approved replacement of the Worthington Police Department’s in-car video system .

Originally the cameras were scheduled to be replaced in 2015. However, the outage problem has become worse, according to Director of Public Safety Mike Cumiskey.

“The current problem is our current video system’s age and reliability with it going down and not having it available for the officers,” he said. “We have very few of the current ones running because they go down, then we send them in ,and it takes months to get them back.”

The technology used to record out of a squad care has improved greatly.

“To give you a little history, it started with VCRs,” Cumiskey said. “Basically, they took a VCR and stuck it in the back of a car and expected it to do everything in every climate. What they did is where we’re at now, and took a DVD recorder and stuck it in a car and expected it to do everything that your DVD recorder does at home.”

The new system will have the newest technology, Cumiskey said.

“This is the next step in the industry is where they’ve gone with these, and that’s what we’re looking for now,” he said.

The system will upload video to a server, which would allow the video to be searchable and the retention schedule can be set. The videos can be put onto DVDs, and those set for court will be in high definition. The others will be compressed to take up less space on the server.

The council approved $71,110 to Watch Guard for the new system. However, $35,000 was set aside in the budget and other funding sources will be used, including $10,000 each from the drug forfeiture reserve fund and the county attorney’s office forfeiture funds.

The council also approved contributions for the employee Health Savings Account plan.