By BILL SHEA
Some personnel and vehicle needs of the Fort Dodge Police Department were addressed by the City Council Monday.
The council approved the hiring of three new police officers to fill vacancies on the 40-member force.
Kelly Midtling, a Webster City police dispatcher, is one of the new hires. Her husband, Andy Midtling, is a Fort Dodge firefighter.
The other new members of the department are Cody Harris, a deputy sheriff in Monona County, and Alex Winninger, a corrections officer with the Webster County Sheriff's Department.
Police Chief Tim Carmody said that because Harris is already a certified law enforcement officer, he will begin the department's in-house training program next week. He said Midtling and Winninger will complete a 15-week course at the Iowa Law Enforcement Training Academy in Johnston starting later this month.
The council also purchased some vehicles that the new police officers will eventually drive.
Two Dodge Chargers were bought from Shimkat Motor Co, in Fort Dodge for $45,978.
A Ford Explorer was purchased from Fort Dodge Ford Lincoln Toyota for $25,803.
All three vehicles will replace older ones.
In another public safety move, the council approved the list of candidates eligible for the fire chief's position as certified by the city's Civil Service Commission.
The candidates are Michael Heim, fire chief in West Burlington; Capt. Steve Hergenreter, Fort Dodge Fire Department; Kent Hulett, former fire chief of the Chippewa Fire District in Lake Hallis, Wis.; Brian Nickerson, division chief and fire marshal in the Los Alamos County Fire Department in New Mexico; and George Spencer, fire chief of Yakima County Fire District No. 4 in Washington state.
City Manager David Fierke will interview the candidates and submit one to the council for approval as the next fire chief.
Whoever is selected will replace Fire Chief David Luers, who will retire by the end of July.
Also on Monday the council gave final approval to vacating part of a street cul-de-sac in the Fort Dodge Industrial Park to make way for a new Fed Ex Ground package distribution center. The elected officials also sold the property to the Fort Dodge Betterment Foundation, which owns the industrial park, for $50.
The council also took a step toward providing property tax breaks for the construction of new homes and the rehabilitation of existing ones. The council gave initial approval to declaring the entire city a consolidated urban revitalization area in which those incentives will be available.
''I believe this is making a step forward for Fort Dodge,'' Councilman Don Wilson said of the incentive plan.
The incentives allow property owners to gradually assume the higher tax burden created by the new construction.
Councilman Dave Flattery participated in the meeting by phone.