Alexandria City Hall and the council chambers will soon take a leap into the digital age.

The Alexandria City Council agreed to accept a $171,482 bid from Tierney Brothers of St. Paul to install a new audio visual system that will move the city from its existing analog system to a digital platform that will improve compatibility with the current technology standards now and into the future.

The upgrades include five new 75-inch high-definition displays that will improve the viewing angles for both the audience and council members.

A new audio system will also be added and include hard-wired and wireless microphones.

Additional features include live streaming capabilities of meetings, web conferencing, new cameras, a presenter’s lectern and a control booth to help streamline meetings and allow individuals to present content to the displays.

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The cost of the project will be covered by the city’s share of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES Act.

Following are other items from the Sept. 14 meeting not covered in other council stories.

Police officers at two schools

The council approved a security services agreement with Alexandria School District 206.

The district agreed to pay the city $118,062 for providing a three-quarter time police officer at both Discovery Middle School and the Alexandria Area High School for the 2020-2021 school year.

The officers will be at the schools for six hours per day from Sept. 8 through June 4, 2021. Additional officers will be furnished during the hours of heavy traffic as determined by the police department.

The agreement is the same as last year, except for one change: The agreement will terminate if a pandemic or other issue forces the schools to close. If that happens, the district will pay the city a prorated portion of the $118,062.

Special event permit

The council issued a special permit for the Alexandria Youth Baseball Association’s Pulled Pork Feed on Friday, Oct. 23, from 4 to 7 p.m. It will be a drive-through event at Knute Nelson Field.

Drivers will use Fourth Avenue West to Elm Street to pick up the meals and continue to Fifth Avenue West. Rob Peterson with AYBA said they’re hoping to get volunteers to assist with the traffic flow.

Basketball court donation

The council officially accepted a donation of $14,900 from the Matt Kjelland Memorial Foundation for the purchase and installation of the six new basketball hoop systems and two signs at the Matt Kjelland Memorial Courts near Veterans Memorial Park. The city agreed to maintain the hoops and signs moving forward.

“This was a great partnership to upgrade the basketball courts,” Bill Thoennes, park director, noted in a memo to the council. “These courts have been getting some very good use and we have received some very positive remarks from the public and players on the improvements to the park.”

Deerwood Drive hearing

The council scheduled a public hearing on the assessments for the Deerwood Drive street improvement project.

It will take place on Monday, Oct. 12, at 7:30 p.m. during the City Council meeting.

At its Aug. 24 meeting, the council approved a total of $64,382 in assessments or $8,048 per lot, on the eight lots that will benefit from the project.

The project has bounced up and down for about two years before work began this summer to pave the 1,830-foot gravel road – one of the last gravel roads in the city. It will be 22-feet wide with an 8-foot wide tar trail for pedestrians on the west side of the street.

It’s located between Highway 29 North and Scenic Heights Road.

New building inspector trainee?

The council may soon begin the process of recruiting a building inspector trainee.

It hinges on whether the city’s application for a two-year grant will be approved by the Department of Labor and Industry. The grant would provide $130,000 to cover $65,000 per year salary and benefits.

The total estimated cost is $149,542.

If the city’s application isn’t approved, the city won’t proceed with the trainee position.

Financial depository request tabled

The council tabled city staff’s request to add a financial institute/investment broker, Moreton Capital Markets of Excelsior, to the city’s approved list of designated financial institutions that the city, the two city liquor stores and ALP Utilities may use.

Council member Bobbie Osterberg wanted more information about the company’s background and how the city decides which financial depositories to use.