He had inked his impending retirement several months before the November meeting of the Onamia City Council, but at that meeting, he made it official: beginning at the end of February, 2022, Onamia Police Chief Bob Matzke said in a written statement that he will conclude his 25-year term in law-enforcement with the city, 22 of which were as police chief.
With his ensuing retirement in mind, Matzke recommended that Amy Mattison, a full-time officer in the Onamia police department, be appointed the next chief. The Council agreed this seemed like a good choice and immediately began discussion as to how this transition might take place. They decided to name Mattison “Chief Designee” for three months until Matzke’s term ends. A salary for Mattison was agreed upon by the Council and she will be in transition mode from December through February.
Meanwhile, the Council said they will be looking to fill Mattison’s full-time position on the force, since she is scheduled to be gone from Jan. 8 through Feb. 8 because of military training duty.
Prior to the chief’s announcement, Teddy Olson was welcomed aboard and sworn in by the mayor as the latest member of the police staffed. Olson, who works full-time for the Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Office, accepted an offer to become a “casual officer” with the Onamia department, meaning he agreed to be a fill-in officer when needed by the Onamia force.
As part of Matzke’s presentation, he also told the Council that the Drug Take-Back Day was a success, with 26 pounds of drugs turned in.
The Council then took comments from several citizens in the audience. One couple asked the Council to explain the situation with regard to the upcoming building of a water-treatment plant adjacent to their property. The plant scheduled for ground-breaking this coming summer, will occupy the present location of the two tennis courts in a city park located near the shores of Lake Onamia. The couple shared concerns about noise from the new plant, lighting that may surround it, the status of the tennis courts and the use of the remainder of the park. The Council assured the citizens that the water-treatment building will not make excess noise, will be well lit inside the building, but will not have bright lights outside that interfere with joining residences, that the remainder of the parking, including picnic shelter and recreational equipment would be left in tact and finally promised to find a new home for a tennis court in the city limits.
Another issue was addressed by the Council when a new home-owner in town was requesting that her home, which is located on property zoned commercial, be granted a conditional use permit (CUP) to operated as both a commercial business and a living residence. The Council took the advice of their Zoning Commission who recommended a CUP be issued the resident with several caveats, including agreed-upon parking area and space on her property from which to run her business and issues such as lighting and storage.
Several small items on the agenda were then mentioned, including an invitation to the general public to gather outside City Hall at 6:30 p.m on Friday, Nov. 26 for the annual “Christmas Tree Lighting” program.
The Council then reaffirmed that Onamia City Hall will again be designated as the area polling place when elections occur.