Department to explore options for police vehicles

Photo by Chad Koenen
The Henning Police Department will be retiring its pickup truck from its fleet. The truck was in need of repair and the city council opted to purchase a different vehicle instead of making the necessary repairs. The police department office is located in the community center.

By Chad Koenen


The Henning Police Department could soon be getting a new vehicle to add to its fleet. The department’s 2010 truck was reported to be in need of repairs, and rather than taking a chance at fixing it, the council approved selling the vehicle at an auction. 

During its regularly scheduled meeting last Monday, the Henning City Council heard from Henning Police Chief Mike Helle about error codes that are registering on the truck. Helle said the best care scenario was the city could fix the issue by replacing the timing chain at a cost of approximately $2,500. 

Henning City Councilman Jim Haberer said if repairing the timing chain didn’t solve the problem, the city would need to replace the engine, at a cost of approximately $10,000.  Since the truck is left running all the time, Haberer said the engine has much more use on it than the 80,000 miles that are recorded on the vehicle.

Rather than replacing the engine on a truck that was already nearly 12 years old, the council opted to sell the truck at an upcoming auction. Helle will bring back several proposals for purchasing or leasing a new vehicle at a later time. 

In other news

• At the time of the meeting, the city received two completed applications for the position of utility supervisor and one for the maintenance person. 

• Approved a Minnesota Public Facilities Authority drinking water revolving fund loan application for the Inman Street utility and street improvements. As part of the application, the City of Henning estimated the loan to be about $580,000, or the as-bid cost of the project. The city also approved a similar application for the main wastewater lift station improvement and Inman St. utility and street projects for $1.020 million, or the as-bid cost. The county is expected to share approximately $960,000 of the cost of the main wastewater lift station and Inman St. utility project.

• Heard the fire department will be holding a training session at a home by a city transformer on March 19. Helle said the fire department will begin the training around 7 a.m., and portions of Balmoral and Marshall Ave will be blocked off to accommodate the training exercise. 

• Heard the monthly Willow Creek report, which stated there are currently 22 residents at the facility, including 15 residents on full services. Executive director Lisa Augustus said the city continues to try to get caught up on past due elderly waiver. Henning Mayor Darren Wiese said some of the overdue elderly waiver dates back to July 2021, but the deputy clerk continues to make calls and resubmit the paperwork to attempt to get caught up on the past due amounts. 

• Discussed using funding the city received to battle the COVID-19 pandemic to offer an additional per hour pay for employees at Willow Creek who picked up additional shifts during a recent surge in COVID-19. The council instructed Augustus to put together a document showing who worked extra shifts, or had to take unpaid time away from the facility, during the recent COVID-19 spike in the region.

• Discussed how to properly account for lawyer fees in the city’s budget and expense. The question revolved around how to account for questions with the city’s attorney’s and what department each expense should be put in throughout the course of the year. The city council said it will review the legal expenses each month and help the city clerk/treasurer put the expense in the right account.