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Hamilton City Court to become court of record

By Michael Howell

Hamilton is joining the municipal bandwagon, following the passage of legislation effective July 1, 2011, giving municipalities the authority to establish Courts of Record by meeting requirements related to making and keeping such records.

Previously, rulings in Hamilton City Court could be “automatically” appealed to District Court, and the case is heard from scratch. Under that scenario municipalities could not recover costs related to the initial judicial proceedings in city court regardless of the outcome.

Once established as a Court of Record, however, cases heard before Hamilton City Court, if appealed, would be heard on the basis of the City Court record and the City would potentially be able to recover costs of the initial prosecution of the case if upheld.

A public hearing was conducted and a resolution to amend the current city ordinance and municipal code so as to establish a Court of Record was approved unanimously on first reading by a 6 to 0 vote.

The Council also held a public hearing and approved on first reading an ordinance amending the municipal code to establish employee compensation by resolution of the City Council, rather than by ordinance, as was previously the case. The vote of approval was unanimous.

POLICE OFFICER HIRED

The Council approved the appointment of Officer Anthony Jenson to the Hamilton City Police Department. Chief Ryan Oster explained that Jenson was hired on July 6, 2010 and that his probationary status expired on July 6, 2011. Jenson now needs Council approval within 30 days of that date to continue his employment as a regular full time officer. Oster recommended Jenson be hired. He said Jenson had been to the state academy and had since received good evaluations during his probationary service. The Council unanimously approved full time employment of Jenson on a 6 to 0 vote.

PADDOCK’S MAJOR SUBDIVISION PHASE 3 GRANTED EXTENSION

The Council approved a one-year extension of the deadline for filing a final plat on Phase 3 of the Paddocks Major Sub-division. The conditions for Phase 3 will not have to be met until January 1, 2013. But a few conditions were also added including filing of a site plan by December 31, 2011, filing of an as-built plan for the first two phases, as well as water and sewer plans for Phase 3.

FIRE HYDRANTS TO HAVE LOCKS REMOVED

The council approved removing locks from the fire hydrants on a vote of 5 to 1 with Councilor Joe Petrusaitis dissenting. Done in the 1990s in response to 9/11 assessments required by Homeland Security that determined it is possible to poison a water system through use of fire hydrants. But here it is a low rated possibility. Only half are locked now because locks only fit on a certain type. Also, a set of steel snips will open any of the locks in a snap.

In other business:

• denied a request from Mr. Burnham for refund of water and sewer fees.

• heard a complaint about a dog attacking a person at the city dog park. The woman attacked suffered fractured vertebrae and cracked ribs. She was concerned that it might happen again to someone else. She said that she does not blame the city as there is a sign warning that the city is not responsible, but the dog owner, whom she has encountered again at the park, doesn’t accept responsibility and won’t speak to her. She was wondering how to approach the person and if the city would help. The parks director will look into it.

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