During a May 26 special meeting, the Redwood Falls city council voted to offer some local relief for those bars and restaurants seeking some assistance as they prepare for outdoor dining service.

That decision included lowering the rental fee for use of picnic tables from the established rate of $10 per day to $35 per month.

When the council met June 2 it discussed that decision, and, according to Keith Muetzel, after one week there had been one local establishment which had rented picnic tables.

After hearing the update from Muetzel, Matt Smith, city council member, offered a new proposal that would provide picnic tables, as well as barricades, from the city for free.

These local establishments have suffered enough over the past few months, argued Smith, after proposing the change. 

The council approved waiving the fees for picnic tables as well as for barricades.

However, a $100 damage deposit will be required, with that deposit returned at the end of the duration of the rental should the items still be in good condition.

The tables may be rented for up to 90 days.

In other action during its June 2 meeting, the city council:

• Approved a change in its policy related to police officer response time. Current policy requires officers with the Redwood Falls Police Department to live in an area that allows for a six minute response time. The new policy will require them to be within a 20 minute range.

According to Jason Cotner, police chief, the six minute response time could mean someone actually lives in the city limits and is in violation of the requirement.

He also added this puts the police department in line with other city departments.

In addition, Cotner speculated that this change could be more attractive to prospective officer applicants in a time when departments across the nation are seeing a drop in the number of people applying for open jobs.