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City to review emergency snow alert laws, shared city/county law enforcement

The Philip City Council held their first meeting of 2010 on Monday, January 4.

Annual resolutions were quickly approved. The council adopted the anti-discrimination resolution, named the Pioneer Review as the official newspaper to be used by the city, approved paid holidays for city employees, named the First National Bank in Philip as the city's official depository and authorized the finance officer and deputy finance officer to purchase Certificates of Deposit as they deem appropriate.

After a short executive session, the council agreed to raise all city employee salaries, across the board, a straight two percent for 2010.

Along with approving the payment of December's bills, the council held the first reading of Ordinance #2009-20, which approves supplemental appropriations to pay for recent emergency snow removal.

The council reviewed and approved the 2010 rates and fees of renting city equipment. It also reviewed and approved the 2010 penalties, fines and fees for legal infractions. None have been raised or lowered in several years, and remain the same for 2010.

The open hours for the rubble site will remain at an on-call basis during the winter. As of May 1, the summer hours will be 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on the first, third and fifth (if there is one) Friday of each month, and on the second and fourth Saturday of each month.

Further details were added on the upcoming bidding request for the swimming pool replacement project. All potential bidders will be sent an alternate bid addition for cast-in-place construction, which may-or-may-not be the route taken by the council. The opening of bid proposals will be January 20 at 3:00 p.m. in the Haakon County Courthouse Community Room.

LP propane bids went to the lowest bidder, Midwest Cooperatives, at $1.59 per gallon.

Discussion on if the city should adopt a snow alert policy will be continued next meeting. Matt Reckling and Rick Coyle prefer the ability to plow snow "from curb to curb, pushing toward the center, on at least the main drags," but cars parked by the curbs make this impossible. "Or, do you want us to do as we have been doing, pushing the snow to the sides until everything is at least open to traffic, then going back?" Citizens would have to park vehicles in their driveways, in alleyways or some other place off of the streets.

In handling the snow twice, the city snow removal crew is now doing double duty with time, equipment and fuel. Concerns of adopting a snow alert policy include how to determine when it would be implemented - by inches of snow already fallen, by weather forecasts, by advertisements on television snow alerts, by calender dates. How would violations be handled?

Nick Konst, Haakon County Commissioner, visited with the city council about looking into the possibility of sharing law enforcement. Sheriff Larry Hanes is not planning on running for re-election next term. The county is required to have a sheriff.

About 10 years ago, the idea of shared law enforcement was researched and "didn't pencil out at all in cost, time or area coverage," said Police Chief Kit Graham. A city/county law enforcement board would have to be established. How many law enforcement officials would be required to cover all of Haakon County, with Philip and Midland on an on-call basis? Would current employees be kept? Mayor John Hart asked, "What does the citizenry want?" The city will do the research, though the idea was not enthusiastically viewed by the council.

The City of Philip will host the 2010 South Dakota Municipal League District 8 meeting on April 22. A location and caterer will have to be determined.

The South Dakota Department of Legislative Audit has not scheduled the City of Philip for an audit for 2009. Nevertheless, a contract is in place with Wohlenberg, Ritzman and Company to conduct the 2009 audit.

The next regular city council meeting will be at 7:00 p.m. Monday, February 1, in the Haakon County Community Room.