Council covers several topics in July meeting

The regular meeting of the Gettysburg city council was held on Monday, July 2, with discussion covering everything from street projects to ordinances and lots in between. 

Council member Adam Roseland questioned the minutes of the previous meeting, saying in the paper it was reported that the council recommended no pool employees use the pool after hours. That was not his personal recollection, and thought the question was bringing guests after hours. It was recalled that there was discussion about guests, but clarified that the council does not allow lifeguards to use the pool after hours. He asked that be made clear in the record, and with that change, the minutes were approved.

There was a question about the city’s bulk mailing permit, and why stamps were purchased rather than using the bulk permit. It was explained that late bill notices are preferred by the post office to be stamped.

Airport bids

Todd Goldsmith of KLJ Engineers told the council they had four bids for the airport project and the low bid went to Sharp Enterprises, Inc. at $396,210.50. The engineer’s estimate was $367,243, so it was over the estimate, but was found to be acceptable. It was recommended to award the project to Sharp pending receipt of the FAA grant. Council member Dawn Nagel, who serves on the airport committee, asked if the city’s legal counsel was involved in looking through the contract to make sure the city is protected. She was told that was why the engineering firm was hired and it was approved by the council at the last meeting pending the grant approval. Goldsmith said the project total cost, including everything from contractors to design to construction admin to testing, is what the grant application is for. The city’s portion is $24,464, the state pays the same portion, and the Federal FAA picks up the balance which is $440,309. All of it is subject to review by the FAA and state aeronautics office.  

The elevator street project was also approved to move forward.

Water Development District

Lynnette Eckert of the Central Plains Water Development District told the council she had good news, and was bringing them money rather than asking for it. She told them a little about the CPWDD, saying they cover Potter, Hughes, Sully, and Hyde, which is where they get their money. She also said that having the city maintenance supervisor Russell Anderson on their board has been a nice addition. 

Mayor Bill Wuttke was presented a check from Eckert for $37,000 for the city of Gettysburg’s water drainage project. She said she was given a tour of the project and she was very impressed, saying it should help the community in a lot of different ways, including health issues and mosquito control.

Animal control ordinance

Council member Kelly Archer said there are people who would like to move forward with allowing chickens in town, and the council needs to provide direction to the city attorney to move forward. Archer and Nagel discussed possible amendments to the ordinance, and had talked about not allowing roosters in town and a limit of six chickens which would potentially give half a dozen eggs a day. It was asked about having a fee for the chickens, which is done in other communities. Archer told the council that they need to either write the amended ordinance or say no, and questioned why it takes the council six months to decide what to do. The council asked for some options on the ordinance so it could be reviewed and a draft could be amended at the next meeting.

Police report

Chief of Police David Mogard gave his monthly report to the council saying he had two accidents, 15 traffic stops, six citations, four arrests, assisted the county six times with UA and PBTs on the 24/7 program, had 53 calls for service, with 21 of those regarding fireworks wondering what time they are supposed to stop, and four medical.

Dispatch

He said he’s had some issues with Mobridge 911 dispatchers, giving the example that the ambulance was called out but he was not called. After talking to dispatch he was informed that they didn’t feel he needed to know, but he said they are to let him know every time the ambulance is called. He added that the dispatcher was not new to the department and he had talked to her in the past about the same thing. He said that the sheriff has had the same problems, and he did not know what the next step should be. A member of the council said that they call the fire department for an accident but forget to call the ambulance, or they call the ambulance and not the fire department so there is no traffic control. It was asked if there is some confusion on who should be dispatched. The mayor said the city has no say in it since dispatch is hired by the county. It was said that they have talked to the county and they have been trying to address it. It was reported that the sheriff has met with the director in Mobridge, and added that the Gettysburg Police Department gets calls for Hoven and Lebanon which should be calls to the sheriff.

Equipment

Chief Mogard told the council that he was able to find portable, rechargeable emergency lights online to help at emergency scenes. It was agreed to purchase two for $800 a piece for each squad car.

They had also talked about surveillance equipment for city buildings. A plan needs to be put in place for the next meeting and decide what is needed to do.

Chief Mogard said he is looking to replace the Ford, saying now it is still worth something but is afraid if it is kept too long they won’t get much for it. The vehicle has 50,000 miles on it, which are all stop and go city miles. Ordering a vehicle could take about six months to get, and he suggested a Tahoe to consider as an option because it sits off the ground and works better for South Dakota weather. He will check with the local dealer to see if something is available.

Pet Clinic

There were some scheduling conflicts for the pet clinic event, and last year there was an issue using the exhibit building at the fairgrounds. City auditor Daniall Ablott said they felt that it was enabling pet owners to break the ordinance by registering pets so late in the year. So far this year, with all the notices in the paper,  they have 95 pets registered, and last year they had only 71 registered. There were 41 pets registered at the animal clinic last year, so the city made around $68. As of this year, of those 41, there are only 10 that haven’t been registered, so their feeling is that although it’s a nice service for the community, it would be better to have it in January when the pet registration ordinance is due. Locations around town for the wintertime option were also considered. 

Nagel said that the bigger picture when working with kids in the community is that it is supporting the 4H and FFA programs because they can get health certificates that they can use at the fair. The livestock regulations are more strict, so moving it to January would lose that benefit to any kids in the community involved with those programs. She said that during last year’s vet clinic, at the end of the day there was a lot of other livestock that came in to work with the vet for health certificates. 

The picnic shelter at the park was suggested as a location for the pet clinic, offering shade and open space, and it was questioned if that would be a good place to have animals who may not like one another, such as dogs and cats, although some thought that would be better than having them in a building together. It was then questioned if it is okay with people bringing livestock into town to see the vet. It was suggested to do the small animal/pet clinic at the city park, and relocate afterward to the fairgrounds for the livestock and large animals, so it could be the same day but at different times. That way the city would not need anyone there for licensing or registration. The clinic will be advertised when a time is set with the veterinarian. *See page 6 for details*

Code enforcement

Chief Mogard showed pictures to the council of property with code enforcement issues, saying that a few of them are considered health issues. Some property with fences or a house with different colors was questioned by the council, saying that would be the property owner’s choice and not something that should be the responsibility of the city to monitor. Chief Mogard said he shared these pictures because they are in the code enforcement book considered as a nuisance, and supposedly bring down the value of the neighbor’s house. 

It was pointed out that in the past the council has talked about the fact that there is no ordinance set up that allows them to tell people how to paint or not paint their house, but a health hazard is another issue. Chief Mogard said the health officer from the hospital is meeting with him this week to review property.

Maintenance

Anderson told the council he would like to purchase a sewer camera, which costs $10,216. The last time a crew was brought into town to do that type of work it was thought it cost close to $40,000. After discussion, it was determined that it would be beneficial to the city to have the equipment.

He updated the council on the drainage project, telling them that pipes are in, and they are half done graveling. He said that a recent rain measuring .30” ran through the east original pipes, and within eight minutes there was water coming down the west pipes, which previously would take hours for the volume of water to get there. He also said the water is going to move faster so should back up less. Anderson explained that before they were so flat with only an eight inch drop from the concrete to the road, but now they have 38 inches of drop, which will help to get rid of the water quicker. In theory it should work, and they’ll find out when it rains.

He reported that an airport inspection took place recently and turned out great.

A street sign project has gone out for bids and the state is looking for a supplier to make the signs. It was asked if there is anything that can be done for the street signs that are circling so they could be stationary and pointing in the right direction, with the emphasis being for emergency response and getting help to those who need the service. It was commented again that it would help if the numbers were on the houses and if dispatch would give the right address or contact the police department.

It was questioned if the speed sign on the east side of town is not charging properly and sometimes doesn’t seem to work at night. There was also discussion about lowering the speed limit on some of the streets closer to school, which will be put on the agenda to discuss in more detail at the next meeting.

There were complaints about cars parked on the wrong side of streets, or parking on both sides, making streets too narrow in some residential areas. It was suggested talking to homeowners to make sure their visitors don’t plug the streets with parked vehicles.

Finance officer report

Finance officer Daniall Ablott reported that she was working on the budget to get it as complete as possible before her last day on July 13, so all the new finance officer will need to do is plug in updated expenses and print it out so it is ready for the council. She said she is trying to leave as many notes as possible for the new officer.

A motion was also made to accept Ablott’s resignation, with thanks from the council.

The council adjourned to executive session to discuss personnel. 

After adjourning from executive session, a motion was made to hire Allen Robbennolt as the new police officer.

Round table

Nagel asked if there was any information from the elected officials or finance officers workshops that were attended. Ablott reported that the finance officers workshop was very interesting and they brought some of the information back to Anderson and Mogard about dealing with different personalities based on generations and how to motivate employees. They also talked about code enforcement and changes to liquor laws. Notes and power point presentations are available. Nagel also offered her appreciation to Ablott for her time with the city and extended best wishes on Ablott’s new endeavors.

Gettysburg Whitlock Bay Development coordinator Kara Williams will email the council some information on some of the properties discussed during the meeting regarding code enforcement. She also received information on the company that did the awning at the fire department, and it looked like it needed new fabric. She will check on the cost.

Chief Mogard said that courtesy of the SD Highway Patrol the police department got a $4,500 radar system at no charge that cost $112 to  be installed. They also got a $3,000 light bar and a $1,200 switch to control it for $250, at a savings of around $6,000.

Council member Fran Van Bockel complimented the car show, saying it brought a lot of revenue to the community.

Mayor Wuttke said he visited with several people at the car show from class reunions who said how nice the park was looking, so he had a lot of positive comments.

The meeting was adjourned, and the minutes are available on page 13 of the News. They are also online at www.pottercountynews.com and www.sdpublicnotices.com

It was asked to move the August meeting so it will not compete with the county fair. It will be rescheduled to Wednesday, Aug. 8 and is open to the public.

-Molly McRoberts

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