City council - constuction and budgeting

The Philip City Council meeting Monday, August 2, was almost totally focused on summer construction and project budgets.

Approved building permits included Greg Ferguson to install a meter and pit for a sprinkler system; Coddy Gartner for Terry Henrie for tree stump removals; Trisha Larson for Kindercottage for a fence; Jason Petersen to level and gravel a rear yard; Philip Health Services, Inc. to move a 13'x13' shed from the hospital to 500 West Pine Street; and Gary Stephenson to demolish houses at 405 Hone Street and 402 N. Wood Ave. and prepare lots for potential construction.

The city has not granted a building permit to Gem Theatre to have a fence. Though originally described as temporary, it will be requested that it now be removed.

The swimming pool replacement project is catching up to schedule. An electrical inspection was scheduled for last Tuesday, the concrete work could begin on the walls. The walls should take about two days of work. The next stage will be putting in piping and stainless steel gutters. Around the end of August, the concrete decking should be going in. "The pool will get a stay-bright finish, which requires 30 days to cure underwater and should eliminate the need to paint," said Matt Reckling, public works director. "With the wet weather, and we did basically hold them up; I think they'll catch up anyway. We are on schedule. The pool should be done by the end of September. They want a two week extension to cover themselves, just in case." The council granted the two week extension.

A transfer has been granted for the liquor licenses owned by The Steakhouse to go to the Incorporated Steakhouse and Lounge.

The council is discussing water and sewer rate increases, so the city can be in compliance with the state utility rate schedule for grant/loan funding eligibility. If the city wishes to succeed in its application for a 80/20 Small Community Planning Grant to offset costs of a wastewater and storm sewer facility plan for the city, then it must more closely fit the grant expectations. Letters of agreement have been ratified with SPN & Assoc. for wastewater and storm sewer facility planning. The grant parameters call for certain minimum water rates to be charged by the city. Presently, Philip's water charges are $20 for 2,000 gallons of water, and .004 cents for each gallon above that. A raise to .005 cents per each extra gallon would be needed to work toward the grant expectations. City Councilman Mike Vetter summed it up, "So what the state is saying is they aren't willing to help us if we aren't willing to help ourselves." Philip sewer rates have not been raised since 1998.

The long-fought-for sidewalk along South Dakota Highway 73 "is not dead, but not necessarily alive," said Finance Officer Monna Van Lint. She related that the South Dakota Department of Transportation might pay 50 percent, but not before maybe the year 2015. Philip's "very rough estimate" would be over $46,000 for a sidewalk from south of town to Highway 14.

A grant application has been approved to design runway lighting at the airport. Runway striping will be done at a cost of just over $3,330, though Philip's share will be less than $900.

City street department crews have been putting asphalt on city streets. They plan to continue, but will not have enough material to do more that just the roughest spots. The city has entered into a contract with the SD DOT to purchase asphalt millings at $3.00/ton. The city budgeted for, and is now looking to purchase a dump truck. The street department is also investigating purchasing a four-stroke vibro-packer (jumping jack).

The first reading of the proposed 2011 appropriations will be September 7. The 2008 actual general fund revenues were $1,044,356. The 2009 actual general fund revenues were $1,094,855. The 2010 budget is $1,318,185, while the 2010 actual yield to date is $458,617. The proposed requested 2011 budget is $1,091,245.

Philip is being kept informed about the South Dakota Office of Tourism's Rooster Rush 2010 program. This is a state program to promote tourism during pheasant season.

The South Dakota Municipal League has partnered with US Communities as a cost saving organization. There is no cost or obligation to the city of Philip.

After an executive session, the council hired Jason Peters as full time worker for street maintenance.

The city offices will be closed Monday, September 6, in honor of the Labor Day holiday. The next regular council meeting will be at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, September 7, in the Haakon County Courthouse Community Room.