At their meeting Monday night, June 8, 2019, the New Richmond City Council unanimously approved new Ordinance 534 amending Section 50-289 of the city's municipal code expanding the definition of tobacco products, including "nicotine products" and deleting the requirement for tobacco leaf to be present.
"We've had some issues with enforcement with tobacco with the increase in vaping especially with our youth in New Richmond. A review of our old ordinance stated that tobacco leaf had to be present. With vaping, there is no tobacco leaf," Police Chief Craig Yehlik said.
Requiring the presence of tobacco leaf in a product to qualify underage use as an offense made citations and prosecutions for vaping difficult. The new ordinance removes that qualification.
"We are seeing it with children under the age of 18 possessing the vaping products and nicotine oils," Yehlik said.
The revised law will enable police to address the increase in vaping by those under the age of 18 beyond school district property to throughout the community. It is also intended to make the prosecution of offenders more efficient in court.
"This is geared toward making sure that we have the ability to enforce our ordinance with respect to any product that contains nicotine," said City Attorney Nick Vivian.
Council members also joined the New Richmond Regional Airport Commission and School District of New Richmond in approving the long anticipated Land Use and Program Agreement for the Student Opportunities with Agricultural Resources program.
Confusion over the actual lease for the property and the Land Use agreement led to the measure being tabled at the city's June work session.
City Administrator Mike Darrow clarified the distinction between the two agreements.
"The Land Use and Program Agreement isn't the lease. This is the overarching policy if you will. It describes the land use and comes up for review May 30 of each year. As long as the program is consistent with the land use plan as reviewed by the Airport Commission, the program is good to go," Darrow said.
The actual rental is a standard lease agreement and one of many held by the airport. The current lease will be good for 11 more years.
"All of the current leases at the airport expire in 2030 and then we'll reup for 20 years," explained Airport Director Mike Demulling.
The review of the lease will be presented as an addendum to the Land Use Agreement and presented to the council at a later date.
• The council approved the appointment of Best Western Plus Manager Kim Dimick to the Tourism Committee to fill the seat vacated by Judy Roettger.
• Mayor Horne reminded the council that members of the National Guard 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry have been scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan and the Ukraine. Local members were scheduled to depart from the New Richmond Armory at 6 a.m. Wednesday, July 17.