City council opts not to have pool heater

It was a tough decision by the Philip City Council at their meeting Monday, August 3, but the cost of propane to heat the pool was the determining factor in their decision not to accept the gift of a pool heater from the Haakon County Young Women.

Carol Schofield stated a salesman from The Pool and Spa Center in Rapid City had looked at the Philip pool facility. She noted he said there was room for a heating system in the building.

HCYW said they would purchase the $4,000 heater and pay the $1,000 for installation, if the city would pay for the rest. The rest included a vent pipe for $1,500, a propane tank and propane. The cost of propane would run between $2,400 and $3,600 for approximately three months time. Schofield said these figures came from surrounding communities that heat their pools.

Councilman Greg Arthur noted that the council had just finished making budget cuts for the 2010 budget and he couldn't see adding in a new expense. Councilman Mike Vetter agreed, but he also stated what a benefit it would be to the people who swim in the mornings and for the youth during swimming lessons.

Other possible options for keeping the water warm was discussed, such as blankets. Schofield noted that a few years ago there was a blanket for the pool, but the winds would blow it out of the pool.

She noted that she would look into a new blanket and see what other options were available.

Harlan Quenzer, SPN & Associates, Mitchell, noted both the Ash Street and school drainage projects are done. He recommended the city pay the final bill to Ainsworth-Benning on the Ash Street project in the amount of $14,247.53 and the draft change order of $2,707.14.

Quenzer noted that Grizzly Excavating had not paid some of their suppliers yet. He recommended the city not pay them the remaining $33,000.87 nor deduct the $309.56 for the change order until the company has signed the final papers.

Quenzer noted he had spoken to other entities that had used Grizzly Excavating prior to Philip accepting Grizzly Excavating's bid and they have always paid their bills. Quenzer noted his company has started the legal process to insure the suppliers get paid. If needed the remaining unpaid dollars can be used towards those bills. Quenzer stated the $33,000 would not fully pay the amount due, but it would be close.

The council followed Quenzer's recommendation and tabled the payment. Quenzer will keep the council apprised of the progress.

Public Works Director Matt Reckling noted that Action Mechanical repaired the damage to the geo-thermal line at the school. He added that he had obtained the easement for a powerline to the proposed new warning siren.

Philip City Finance Officer Monna Van Lint updated the council on correspondence regarding the bike path along Highway 73. She said the South Dakota Department of Transportation has denied any Statewide Transportation Improvement Program, stimulus dollars or grant dollars. She said the state has recommended the city resubmit the request through the enhancement grant program, keeping with an eight foot width.

Van Lint noted that most of the area is in the DOT right-of-way, but some addition easements would have to be obtained. Quenzer noted that the highway was not centered in the middle of the right-of-way. "It wanders all over," he said. Some of it is too far to the west and some too far to the east.

One foot would be the most needed in extra easements. He was directed by the council to find where easements would be needed. The council also asked Gay Tollefson, city attorney to draft a contract for the easements. After all the easements are obtained the city will resubmit the request.

Branden West reported on the Matched Bronc Ride that was held in June. He estimated the crowd at 2,500 people. He said that the $600 profit may not look impressive, but the event brought in a lot of money to Philip businesses and the groups that had concessions.

West noted that many announcers are talking about the event at other rodeos. He predicts the event will continue to grow and hopes to add more sponsors each year.

David Butler, city police officer, noted that there were not any problems with the crowds. Butler and Tollefeson noted that the security people worked well with the local law enforcement. She added that about eight or nine individuals were arrested for underage drinking.

Permits approved included Christine Andrus, 26.8'x24' addition, Ralph McQuirk for Tammi Carstensen to excavate and repair water line, Coyle's SuperValu, excavate and repair parking lot and roof repair, First Lutheran Church, remove old garage and level parking lot, Joe Gittings, 12'x12' shed, Esther Knutson, 12'x16' shed, United Church, 10'x12' shed, Scotchman Industries, replace 4'x12' sidewalk. The council approved for the Haakon School District 27-1 to excavate and replace water line from curbstop on Philip Avenue to barium treatment plant on the condition that the school obtain an easement from the landowner on which the curbstop is to be placed.

The council tabled a decision on G&G Excavating's request to dump septic tank waste in the city's lagoons. Reckling noted that the company's truck could hold up to 1,800 gallons, but felt that would be in excess of road weight limits. He estimated that the biggest loads would range between 1,200 and 1,300 gallons.

Council members and Van Lint questioned as to what other towns do, how would the dumping be monitored and what fee would be charged. The answers will be discussed at the September meeting.

The council approved minutes from prior meetings and the payment of bills. The second readings of Ordinances #2009-06 and #2009-07 were approved. Department reports from the police, rubble site, street, water and swimming pool were reviewed. They approved to pay for the renewal of Van Lint's notary public status.

The council was reminded that the first reading of the 2010 proposed budget for the city is September 8, 2009, the South Dakota Municipal League annual conference is October 6 to 9 in Watertown and that the city office will be closed on Monday, September 7 for Labor Day.

The next city council meeting is Tuesday, September 8, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. in the Haakon County Courthouse Community Room.

the council as a whole. Councilwoman Shirley Chin said, "I don't want a band aid. We need a complete new pool done this fall or next spring, whichever way works best." John Kangas said, "A lot of work can be done this fall. We don't have to specify tonight which reserve or method." Michael Vetter said, "Our $125,000 in reserves (some earmarked for a new city office building) is a good starting point." Monte Palecek, Tom Struble and Greg Arthur were in agreement.

Hart said, "If we are going to do this and someone is going to make money, I would like it to stay local with our bank. If we are going to cut other aspects of our budget in favor of the swimming pool, what services are you cutting? Donations, loans, taxes - don't underestimate those people who want their families to be able to swim in a community pool."

Vetter said, "The reality is, whether we get donations or not, the people will pay for it either way."

The council voted unanimously for a new pool and to get as much work started as soon as possible. Hopes are for the construction to be completed before the 2010 swimming season.

As the audience left, the council finalized its budget meeting.