City council - budget and redistricting

The Philip City Council meeting Tuesday, September 6, began by approving payment of pending bills which totaled $154,471.46. This included salaries and benefits of $36,611.01. It also included a pay requisition of $53,308 for the geo-thermal project, which is being done by Philip Health Services, Inc. though the paperwork is being handled by the city.

Approval for building permits went to Elke Baxter to replace a fence, Bernard Jeska to replace a front steps, Ralph Kemnitz to replace a portion of driveway, Esther Knutson to put up a 21'x21' carport, Lary Osburn to replace concrete walk and part of a fence, Kevin Pfeifle to replace front steps, Beau Ravellette to put in a concrete slab, and Karen Kroetch to move a garage out of the city, move a shed to the west lot and to replace a fence. Charles and RuthAnn Carstensen have three granted permits: at 103 Hone St. to separate water service, add curbstop and meter and repair a drain; at 315 E. Pine St. to separate water service, add curbstop and meter; at 300 W. Oak St. to replace sewer line, add a 7'x12' addition and possible curbstop installation.

The council approved the second reading of ordinance #2011-08, amending the rules on open alcoholic beverage containers and special alcoholic beverage licenses.

A small triangular piece of property owned by Grossenburg Implement has been sold to the city of Philip for one dollar. Outlot 2, portion of Tract C, is being used as a quick turn by semi-trucks. Joe Woitte, Philip location manager for Grossenburg, said that the company is worried about any possible liability if an accident were to happen. Councilman Greg Arthur noted, "They want to get rid of it for the liability, then we get the liability." Councilman Mike Vetter added, "We have the authority to close the road, they don't." A motion to purchase the property carried. The city will either close the gravel road or post it with stop signs.

Dakota Mill and Grain, represented by Les Pearson, has requested a replat of parcels/lots in NE¼ Sec 23, T1N, R20E, BHM & NW¼ Sec 24, T1N, R20E, BHM. The space required for truck turn-arounds was questioned. Vetter summed up the council discussion, "Then we sit tight until he comes back with an official proposal okayed by the Department of Transportation. It should be said that we expect him to pay for it (the replat)."

The upcoming approval of the 2012 appropriations will include $1,500 to go toward advertisements for the annual matched bronc ride. Councilwoman Shirley Chin stressed that she is completely in favor of the bronc ride, but not in favor of the city donating funds to a private entity - donations should come from businesses that benefit directly and indirectly. She questioned if the Matched Bronc Ride is for-profit or not-for-profit.

The city of Philip had donated $5,000 for area celebrations when the matched bronc ride first began. Then, the city donated $2,500 after that, strictly for advertising of the matched bronc ride. The council had discussed reducing the amount $500 per year; now after several years of no change, the council discussed donating $2,000 for 2012. Finally, the council voted to budget $1,500. Vetter said that any actual donation would not have to be that exact amount. He wanted to try this limit for one year, seeing how the event's attendance goes. Councilman Tom Struble voted nay, wanting to keep the amount at the previously discussed $2,000.

The projected expenditures for 2012 total $1,426,390. The projected total means of finance is $1,424,440. The difference will be adjusted before the 2012 appropriations are approved.

The 2011 swimming pool season easily beat out all previous years' attendance. The new pool, which has a zero-depth walk-in and does not have a separate kiddie pool, does not allow for free admission to the kiddie pool as in previous years. The 2011 total was over 6,420 attendees, with the highest previous attendance being 3,750. Total funds raised through passes was over $6,760, with the highest from previous years being $4,660. Maintenance repairs of the pool and deck will be done before next season.

The city has restated its long-standing support of building a sidewalk along South Dakota Highway 73 (Larimer Avenue). The South Dakota Department of Transportation has put the project on its 2015 agenda. The sidewalk will be accessible according to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The council has agreed to a election ward redistricting. This changing of the boundaries of the three wards in the city of Philip was initiated by the latest United States census. The council chose a redistriction option that used the least amount of gerrymandering. Ward I will still be represented by Jason Harry, but will change to also be represented by Greg Arthur. Ward II will still be represented by Tom Struble, but will change to be also represented by Mike Vetter. Ward III will still be represented by Shirley Chin, but will change to be also represented by John Kangas.

The fiscal year 2010 audit has been scheduled for September 13-16.

The water department has for months been fixing leaks that added to the mysterious monthly water loss experience by the city. Last month's loss was at only 7.36 percent. Vetter, who works for West River/Lyman-Jones Rural Water Systems, said, "If you are below ten percent, it's outstanding." WR/L-J has put out a notice to Bad River Rural Water users that the installation of new lines may temporarily disrupt water flow.

The street department is pleased with its relatively new equipment for chip sealing road surfaces. The downtown chip seal work was competed quickly and easily. The city is bidding on the purchase of a 621 Case Loader from Stanley County's bid award. This will include an extended warranty.

The next city council meeting will be held Monday, October 3, at 7:00 p.m. in the Haakon County Courthouse community room.