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City grants permits and land transfers

The Philip City Council held a special meeting Monday, March 21, first convening as a board of equalization.

There were no filed objections to property valuation assessments received in 2011 for the city. The Haakon County Commission will meet as a board of equalization Tuesday, April 12, at 1:00 p.m.

Kevin Pfeifle, Haakon County director of equalization, presented an annual report and update. Total growth of new property valuations added to the city was $432,952. That translates into $390,090 taxable value. Rita Merrill, former director of equalization, asked, "What do you think of an opt-out for the county? I think it's going to have to happen. When an organization opts-out, they have to specify how much, how long, and how much it will cost everybody."

After the city council reconvened as a regular council, it observed a moment of silence in honor of Lucille Hart, deceased, who was city finance officer from January 1, 1978, to July 1, 1984.

A building permit was approved for Jerry Kroetch to demolish and remove a house, trees and sidewalk at 507 East Dupree. The council approved a Philip Health Services, Inc. geo-thermal project pay request #01, contingent upon approval from Central South Dakota Enhancement District. Wood Avenue and Walden Avenues design plans have been approved by the South Dakota Department of Energy and Natural Resources. Wood Street will remain pretty much the same width on its east side. DENR's renewal application for Jerry Roseth's permitted site for a petroleum contaminated soil land facility has been received. This permits Roseth to accept soils contaminated by fuel and process them on land 16 miles east of Philip.

The council reviewed the 2010 census data. The county population in 2000 was 2,196. As of the last census, the Haakon County population is 1,937. Philip's population has gone down from 885 in 2000 to 779 in 2010. Midland has been reduced from 179 residents to 129. The city of Philip will now look at redistricting wards with the purpose of equalizing each according to population.

A public hearing was held for two petitions presented by Nathan and Brittney Drury, one for the city to vacate a portion of a street and one for the city to vacate a public right-of-way. Councilman Mike Vetter voiced concern that, though it is on a case by case basis, granting this request might open the floodgates for people to ask for similar vacating of public property and that land to be given to those doing the requesting. Mayor John Hart noted that this specific transfer would put the specified property back on the tax rolls. The council agreed to transfer ownership of the north section of land, contingent upon there being a perpetual utility easement with West Central Electric on that property. The council denied vacating the property to the south of Drury's land. After the Wood/Walden Avenue project is completed and any drainage concerns are addressed, then the Drurys may petition again.

The next regular Philip City Council meeting will be Monday, April 4, at 7:00 p.m. in the Haakon County Courthouse community room.