City of Philip being sued; to be S.D. Capital for a Day

Oaths of Office ... Mayor Hart was first sworn, then Philip City Council Members (from left) Tom Struble, John Kangas, Michael Vetter and Shirley Chin took their oaths of office.

by Del Bartels

The City of Philip City Council's regular meeting on Monday, July 7, had the fullest agenda in a year.

The City of Philip is being brought into a civil suit by Emily Kroetch. Originally believing her property was outside of city limits, she thought city ordinances such as mowing requirements did not apply. Extensive research showed that the land is within city limits. Kroetch now wishes to be let out of city limits so she may raise livestock such as goats.

In reply to lawsuit complaints, the city did discharge a mixture of river water and sewage onto Kroetch's property. "The lift station could not keep up," said City Works Supervisor Tom Lesselyoung. "To stop backup into peoples basements, we pumped onto a part of her property. Sewers had already backed up to the downtown area. It was a legal emergency situation." Councilman Dan Walker said, "In a situation like that, you do what you have to do to save a lot of people's basements."

Also in reply, the city will soon replace an adjacent barbwire fence with a more suitable fence. City Attorney Gay Tollefson commented, "The on-going law suit to get a lawn mowed has cost the city a lot money, a great amount of money." Not wanting to set an unmanageable precedent, the council denied the request to let the property be taken out of the city limits.

Concerning the preliminary Jim Avenue project, a recent survey revealed that several structures are actually on public right of way. Delaying action until any future curb and gutter is to be put in, the council reviewed the options of a possible land exchange or vacating and narrowing part of the street.

The City of Philip has been chosen as South Dakota "Capitol for a Day." The event will take place in August at the Philip High School, though an exact date is still to be determined. The council authorized $5,000 to finance the event. "This is a big deal where we get to put on our best colors," said Finance Officer Monna Van Lint. "We hope for a huge turn out for the supper and public discussion, at least 400 to 500 area residents plus the 60 or more Pierre officials. We can showcase Philip, but this is also an opportunity to ask questions."

All of the 15 building permits and flood plain development permits were accepted. Councilman Monte Palecek joked, "Seeing how many permits there are, you'd swear they must be free." Permits are free. Councilman John Kangas said, "It's a good deal. At least we have everyone's attention and cooperation in getting permits."

Mayor John Hart and the council extended thanks and appreciation to Dan Walker for many years of service as a Council Member of Ward II. Walker entered the council in 1994 after winning a three-person election race. "You hate to see things go, but you always want new ideas, energy and people in the position," said Walker. "People have to step up and see why we sometimes say Yes and sometimes say No. Don't be afraid to get involved."

Oaths of Office were given by Mayor Hart and Council Members Shirley Chin, John Kangas, Michael Vetter and Tom Struble. Vetter was appointed by the mayor as the Ward I Council Member since no petitions were filed. Tom Struble was appointed to Ward II to complete the term opened by Walker's resignation. Council members elected Vetter and Kangas, respectfully, as Council President and Vice President for 2008/2009.

Victor Franklin and Bob Thorson asked the council to review the city ordinance prohibiting mailboxes in the boulevard. These two contract delivery operators do not wish to initiate or solicit putting up mailboxes, only to allow everyone the choice of free mail delivery or a post office box. Council members will consult with their constituency.

Other addressed items include:

•Sales taxes collections for through June 2008 are $173,934.

•A Special Events License application was approved for Philip Festival Days, August 1 through August 3.

•The business district will host a sidewalk sale on July 19 in conjunction with the Farmer's Market kick-off day. There is also a proposal for a city-wide rummage sale.

•As of immediately, the pool policy handbook will read to allow up to two guardians in street clothes to accompany children at poolside without being charged an entrance fee. Also, life guards from Kadoka will be hired at $60 per day to fill in scheduling gaps at the Philip pool.

•Border States Paving has been issued a temporary permit to withdraw water from Lake Waggoner.

The next regular council meeting will be at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, August 4, in the Haakon County Courthouse Community Room.