City starts year's official business quickly

The Philip City Council's first regular meeting of 2008, on Monday, January 7th, ended in an executive session concerning employee salaries for 2008. Salaries were established with a three percent increase for employees above the median average wage and a four percent increase for those below the median.

The meeting began quickly. The meeting's agenda, the payment of current bills and the second reading of Ordinance #2007-12, 2007, (supplemental appropriations) were approved.

The South Dakota Department of Transportation plans on filling in the potholes and chip sealing the pavement from from West Pine going west to Highway 14 and on Stanley Ave. Stanley will also receive one and a half to two inches of overlay. The City of Philip will then present a letter of intention that the right-of-way will become city property, rather than state property.

Schmucker Paul Nohr and Associates (SPN & Assoc.) correspondence regarding the school drainage project showed that the cost benefit ratio was not what Federal Emergency Management Agency wanted. Philip would have to prove that the street was damaged before the end of its expected useful life and FEMA designates that a street has an expectancy of 30 years, which this one already has. "The fact that the Catholic Church has already taken care of its water erosion problem does not help the issue of getting FEMA grants," said SPN and Associates head Harlan Quenzer. "Other funding avenues will be looked into. Different options will depend a lot on how long the school is willing to wait."

Jake Fitzgerald, manager of West River/Lyman-Jones Water System wrote to apologize for a mis-statement. He had accidentally spoke that the Missouri River water hook-up should be ready in July, when he meant to say by the end of January.

Annual review of resolutions and appointments for 2008 re-adopted the city's anti-discrimination policy, approved the First National Bank in Philip as the city's official depository, approved the Pioneer Review as the city's official newspaper and approved all of last year's paid holidays for city employees for 2008. The finance officer and the deputy finance officer were approved to purchase Certificates of Deposit as they deem appropriate.

Allocations from Cash Management Accounts are to be allocated with with 59.7725 percent going to the general fund, 3.36400 percent to the special revenue, 16.35086 percent to the water fund, 6.21243 percent to the sewer fund and 4.30017 percent to the garbage fund.

City rates and fees will remain the same as they were in 2007. Penalties, fines and fees will also remain the same except a few pieces of city equipment will have higher rental fees. Police Chief Kit Graham did note that court costs will be $10 higher, but that is not necessarily a fine. The city will follow the state's rates on room, board and mileage whenever applicable.

The city council did approve giving its backing to a proposal of the South Dakota Municipal League to try to get legislation passed on a "nickel a drink" tax bill in the state legislature. If approved, this would create an estimated $4,600 for Philip to be used for law enforcement and court-appointed attorneys.

The 2008 Airport operating license application has been submitted to the SD DOT.

The council amended its professional incentive policy to put a cap on how much time an employee can use in pursuing work-related education. Two examples of such education are the South Dakota Water and Wastewater Association's annual water seminar on February 6th and 7th in Sioux Falls and the Annual Airports Conference on March 5th and 6th in Deadwood. The council also passed a longevity pay proposal for its employees.

The building committee will meet to review the city's tree ordinances.

Petitions for the mayor and council positions in Wards I, II and III can begin circulating no earlier than January 25th.

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