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Galt weighs options for new dog park to honor Officer Kevin Tonn

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Posted: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 12:00 am

The city could spend up to $415,000 to honor fallen Galt Police Officer Kevin Tonn with a dog park in his name, although no decision has been made.

Two site options were presented to the Galt City Council by City Manager Jason Behrmann at Tuesday's regular meeting.

The proposal is to build a new dog-specific area at Harvey Park. Depending on size and design, the two options are expected to cost $60,000 or $415,000, respectively.

Councilman Curt Campion, who supports the less expensive idea at C and 2nd streets, recommended the options be sent to the Parks and Recreation Commission for input. Mayor Marylou Powers and Councilwoman Barbara Payne agreed.

"It's a second option we can do quicker and cheaper," Behrmann said, adding that the site is underutilized, as it has no no play structures or irrigation.

Unlike the other option — on 3rd Street — presented to the city council, work at this location could be performed by city employees instead of hiring a contractor.

Vice Mayor Mike Singleton, who originally asked staff to review options for such a memorial, said fundraising could pay for the project.

"I've had lots of people in the community say this is what they want and (that) they will help pay for it," he said.

Tonn, one of the Galt Police Department's K9 officers, was fatally shot in January while investigating a burglary near F Street and the railroad tracks. Police said the suspect, who police later learned was not the burglar, then turned the gun on himself.

Tonn's police dog, Yaro, has since been retired.

Later in the meeting, the city council adopted an ordinance 3-2 to increase the Galt Planning Commission to seven members. Campion and Payne voted against the change.

It goes into effect in 30 days, at which time two new members will be appointed by the city council at large to two-year terms.

There are currently five planning commissioners who each serve a four-year term. However, some council members wanted to increase the number to seven to ensure the commission could still meet if up to three members were absent.

There were no public speakers Tuesday.

However, resident Mike McCune said last week he could not support any additions to the Planning Commission.

"This appears to be a plot to put an individual into the Galt Planning Commission only to help them gain additional visibility to run in the next city council election or push through personal agendas," he said, without naming names. "I want to encourage the Galt citizens to pay attention to this issue. An additional two Galt Planning Commission members might allow irresponsible growth and the possibility to change some contract agreements with current or future developers."

But Powers said she felt that the more people involved in shaping the city's future, the better.

"When I was on the Planning Commission, there were some members who only voted the way their council member wanted them to, and I felt, what was the purpose of even having a planning commission?" she said.

The change could cost an additional $3,800 per year since appointees are paid $25 per meeting. Office and incidental supplies total about $100 per commissioner per year, plus an additional $1,500 for each to attend a state conference.

Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at jenniferb@lodinews.com.

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