W’bago names new police chief

WINNEBAGO – Winnebago City Council has approved hiring Mike Beletti as the new police chief. He has been on the police force for about two years.

The position opened up when Chief Bob Toland retired, effective Nov. 30.

“The last two chiefs were hired from within,” noted City Administrator Chris Ziegler.

Toland submitted a letter of recommendation for Beletti as well.

The council had three options: promote from within (designating the new chief), posting internally (opening it up to anyone already on the force) or posting the position externally.

“After weighing the pros and cons, it seemed like the best choice for us to keep Mike,” Ziegler said. “He’s well-respected in the community and [has] shown real strong leadership capabilities.”

Beletti’s promotion leaves a full-time opening on the police force. The council has chosen to fill it by posting the position internally to part-time officers. The position can be posted externally in the future if necessary, Ziegler said.

In other action this week, the council requested proposals for lawn-mowing services. An existing three-year contract is up at the end of the year.

The area to be mowed covers just less than 24 acres, and the job requires $1 million in liability insurance, Ziegler said.

Packets are available at City Hall and the deadline for submitting a proposal is Dec. 2.

Going back to an old topic, the council heard information on a proposed skate park. Ricky Paz submitted a letter to the council urging adults to make the skate park a reality for youth who enjoy in-line skating, skateboarding and BMX biking.

Paz collected 131 signatures on a petition, and $5,346 has been raised to create the park.

The city of Delavan had donated a couple of ramps and fencing, but the ramps deteriorated over time and had to be thrown out. The city still has the fencing.

The skate park first came up in 2010, Ziegler said, when former City Administrator Austin Bleess secured a grant.

The skate park has been discussed by committees over the years.

“We need 85 to 90 percent of the funding in hand,” said Ziegler, noting that Paz is pursuing in-kind donations.