113th City Council called to order

The regular June meeting of the Gettysburg city council was moved to Monday, June 8 due to the election held the previous week on June 2. Held online via Zoom, it was the last meeting of the 112th city council, which adjourned to introduce the new 113th council. 

The votes from the city council election were canvassed declaring the results, with the mayor having no opposition, Bill Wuttke will continue in that office for four years. Also unopposed were aldermen Brad Frost in Ward 1 for four years, Adam Roseland in Ward 3 for four years, and Philip Nagel in Ward 2 for a two year term. Eric Ellwanger was elected to a four year term in Ward 2. 

The election was approved by the council, and the 112th council was adjourned. The 113th council was opened, with a welcome by Mayor Wuttke and the oath of office taken by the new council member. 

Philip Nagel was appointed as board president, with Adam Roseland as vice president, with a unanimous ballot cast for both. 

Nagel reported that an emergency mitigation plan was posted on the city’s website and facebook page which gave the community a month to get online to review. It was also reported that the volunteer fire department was making plans for a July 4th celebration and asked for a special license one day special event license to sell beer at the park, since they would not need it for the car show.

Council member Kelly Archer said the car show was cancelled because they didn’t feel they could social distance, so questioned if the firemen having a social event with a dance didn’t seem like it was following recommendations and guidelines regarding the coronavirus. He  said both a fishing tournament and car club event were cancelled due to the virus, but Nagel said the firemen did want an event.

Mayor Wuttke said if there is an outbreak between now and then, they can cancel, but the fire department wanted to have an event. It was also said that people don’t have to come if they are not comfortable. 

It was asked what the CDC recommendation was, and Wuttke said with the recent rioting across the country, that has gone out the window. Council member Fran Van Bockel said the 10 person rule has been lifted, but wondered what the small gathering number was. Nagel said outdoor gatherings are different, adding that the CDC will change their mind 10 times before the event goes on, but hopes a lot of people will attend. He told the council that the community support has been tremendous with large donations, and people are wanting to get out. 

The council was also reminded that they gave their blessing to the school for graduation, and graduates were allowed to have a class photo. Roseland said people need to behave responsibly. A motion was made for the one day special event license for the July 4th party, and a meeting will be needed to approve or deny it prior to the event. 

New business

EMTs

Nagel said the city’s protocol is that anyone certified as and EMT must be on board for a year and take three calls. It was explained that is a $725 expense for someone new to get on as an EMT, and it’s a large out of pocket expense which requires waiting over a year to get reimbursed. He told the council he would like to see the city pay for that to help recruit new EMTs.

Van Bockel, who has worked with the ambulance service, explained how that worked, and talked about the increase in cost and hours required to complete the class, and would like to the council to consider changing it. Nagel also said he would like the council to pay for it up-front, but likes the rule that also protects the city from people leaving. It was asked if a contract could be entered into with the city, so if an EMT would fail to complete the year, they would be responsible to reimburse the city. It was decided to have a contract written up enter into with EMT for one year service and three runs.

Zoom meetings

Nagel said the zoom meetings have been great for the community to participate, and asked that they would continue for easy community access to the meetings after they are back in meetings at the city office. Shane Wager who provides computer consulting services was asked how that could best happen and continue for the community.  

There was a discussion about people wishing to address the council or being included on the agenda, and whether that could be done online or if it would require being physically at the meeting. Archer pointed out that an online meeting provided the chance for good input from the community while discussing the Covid-19 concerns, and Van Bockel stressed the importance of using technology moving forward to allow access for attending the meetings online. 

It was stated that if council members attended the meeting online, they could not participate in executive session. Van Bockel said there are programs out there that are secure and specifically used for meetings, and told the council that the school board goes into executive session, so there are ways it can be addressed. 

After a discussion on the importance of public access to meetings, Nagel motioned to hire Wager to install a camera and microphone to post future council meetings online, without the public restrictions. 

Police report

Chief of Police Dave Mogard, said Kenny Johnson has assisted the department by trapping and disposing of skunks and asked that he be reimbursed for doing that.

The removal of the Vail building in downtown Gettysburg was discussed by the board, and it was reported there are letters dated from 2014 regarding its removal. The front of the building is coming apart, so a fence needs to be put up for safety purposes if it is left standing. There will be more discussion about the possibility to condemn the building, with the comment made that at this point “it’s a hazard.” It was also suggested that the health officer might need to get involved. 

A drone demonstration was presented at the fire hall and Chief Mogard said he is working on getting grants. 

Code enforcement letters were sent out, and there was a report of bushes obstructing the alleys that have been a problem for several years. It was discussed to let the maintenance department address it and assess on property taxes with a deadline of the 15th. 

July 16 is being considered for the annual animal clinic. 

He talked about the auditorium being opened as a shelter during storms.

In other council discussion, maintenance supervisor Russell Anderson gave a report on updates with the AWOS system at the airport, grants to assist with the project and for west nile mosquito control, and the swimming pool. 

The minutes from the meeting are published on page 9 of the News. They are also available online at www.pottercountynews.com and www.sdpublicnotices.com

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