Breckenridge Mayor Russ Wilson swore in two new officers to the Breckenridge Police Department Monday, Oct. 7 during the city council meeting. The oath of office was taken by Gage Miller and Jackson Kriel.

Miller was hired as a full-time police officer. He is from Sauk Rapids, Minnesota, enjoys family time and hunting, and is an active member of the Army National Guard.

Kriel was hired as the new detective sergeant to replace recently retired Natalie Butenhoff. He is from Alexandria, Minnesota, and enjoys spending time with family, golfing, fishing and hunting. Kriel comes with previous law enforcement experience from Wahpeton, North Dakota.

“I expect great things from Jackson, as well as from Gage,” Breckenridge Police Chief Kris Karlgaard said. “You have the entire support of the city of Breckenridge.”

Chief Karlgaard presented Miller and Kriel with badges in front of their family and other officers.

In other news, the council approved change order number 12 for the water treatment plant. Public Service Director Neil Crocker updated the council on this change.

“This here specific change order puts finality to the bike path, where that had to be elevated. Two years ago CSI (Central Specialist Inc.) and Interstate Engineering actually did the work to get the bike path elevated to reach the same elevation as the driveway going into the new water plant. And so those two entities have not yet been paid, this resolution gets them paid for making those changes,” Crocker said.

The driveway into the water treatment plant goes directly over the Highway 75 pedestrian trail. This had to be raised to coincide with the rest of the site because this path needed to comply with the proper handicap-accessible grade slope.

CSI did more work to correct the slope, costing an additional $59,151.33 in materials along with $6,163.50 in engineering services from Interstate Engineering.

A change was made to the bills and claims of the Breckenridge Public Utilities to account for the water treatment change order number 12. With this change included, the total amounted to $372,183.48. This resolution was approved by the council.

A resolution for the City of Breckenridge to continue engaging in the Opioid Class Action Notice was approved.

Breckenridge, along with other cities and counties across the U.S., is included in this class action. This is a lawsuit against manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of prescription opiate drugs that seeks reimbursement for money spent addressing the opioid crisis.

City Administrator Renae Smith spoke with Wilkin County Attorney Carl Thunem on this issue. It was Smith’s recommendation to continue engagement with this class action rather than the city council addressing this issue themselves.

“As a whole, the chemical dependency issue is becoming bigger and bigger, not just drugs, but alcohol,” Chief Karlgaard said. “I would have to go along with what our advice of our city attorney’s is on this matter.”

Building Official Joel Hoistad provided an update to the council on the dumpster in front of the Legends building on Minnesota Avenue. The dumpster will be there for another week and then will be removed. A 20-yard dumpster will be out front of the building for a maximum of 11 days starting Monday, Oct. 14, for the asbestos abatement.

The next city council meeting will be held at 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 21.

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