Philip City Council concerned with construction and summer

The Philip City Council meeting on Monday, June 1, addressed construction concerns, or with lack of construction concerns.

In old business, Public Work Director Matt Reckling reported that replacement of the 1,000 gallon water meters is going well. Some larger ones remain to be done and no valves have been fully tested yet.

Concerning the retro-reflectivity sign replacement, the supposed grant has turned out to be for only $300 toward sign decals only. Mayor John Hart said, "If it's too good to be true, it usually is." The city is now looking into joining with state bids to find the best deal. The traffic signs, street signs, posts and everything else is now estimated at around $9,000.

To settle an issue brought up by John Kangas, the council voted to not bring in any additional backfill or topsoil behind Kangas' house. A water line ditch has settled over the years, after the city had originally brought the area back to original condition. The land is county property, though the waterline was a city project that was completed years ago, and with several more tons of topsoil brought in last summer. If records show that reseeding of the area was not done, then the city will see to that this summer.

The council was hesitant to start a precedent about settling of ditches, sinkholes and drainage problems on private property or on county property. "This is a big can of worms opening up. If we do it for one, we are going to have to do it for all," said Councilman Greg Arthur. Hart asked, "Do you guys want to go back several years? Where do you draw the line?"

Hart reported on the progress concerning needed Lake Waggoner Dam repairs. Senator Tim Johnson's office is looking into getting the project done by the National Guard. Hart said, "There are no promises, but it's better than what we knew two weeks ago."

Building permits were granted to Andrea Carley for a 15'x15' concrete patio, Mark Foley for a 12'x25' deck replacement and a six to eight foot addition to a concrete driveway, Ron and Nancy Haigh to remove concrete retaining wall and level their front yard, the Haakon County Young Women for a 10'x24' concrete slab at the Kiddie Park, Lee Ike Neville for a sewer line replacement, Kent and Shelia Olson for a 75 foot curb and gutter and to repair the curb radius, and Corky and Zoni Thorson for the replacement of a sidewalk, fence, decking and a concrete cover for drainage.

Dale Morrison was granted a variance for sidewalks and a 10'x20' concrete block east of his shop. The council then discussed implementing a fee for variance requests to offset publishing costs.

The council approved an employee health insurance increase of six percent effective July 1, 2009.

A special event permit was granted to the Haakon/Jackson County Fair Board for July 31, 2009, for a street dance between the 73­- and Saloon and The Steakhouse.

The Ash Street improvement project and the school drainage project are being watched and are generally on schedule.

A pedestrian/bike path along Larimer hill is still being discussed. This stretch of Highway 73 that passes through a residential part of Philip has no sidewalks. Any federal stimulus funding that might possibly go toward such a project will most likely be part of a transportation package to the state of South Dakota. The council discussed that state officials know the state may have a liability problem. The city is trying to maintain the area. A stimulus package would probably have government regulations of the bike path fitting specific width requirements. No official word has been received from the state nor the federal government.

The new warning system siren has been delivered. An exact location for installation has not been determined. Some residents have complained about this, not wanting to be disturbed by the noon and the 10:00 p.m. curfew whistles. 

The Philip Police Department will hire two additional officers during the Friday and Saturday evenings of the Festival Days weekend.

The city swimming pool admission prices will remain the same. A family will be charged $100 for season passes, an individual's season cost will be $55 and daily admission will be $3. The pool will open June 8, with regular hours from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and exclusive adult swimming from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. A free swim day, sponsored through a Forty and Eight donation of $150, will be on June 20.

Swimming lessons will be $15 per child per session. Two sessions will be offered, though the exact dates are yet to be determined. Possible training reimbursements may be granted to lifeguards and swimming instructors who work at the pool one or more seasons. If the projected lack of personnel of mostly high school students doesn't change, the pool may have to close for the season as early as August 16.

The council approved the purchase of two new computers for the city finance office. The office will be closed Thursday, June 11, for personnel training. City offices will also be closed Friday, July 3, in honor of the July 4th holiday.

The Philip City Council's next regular meeting will be Monday, July 6, at 7:00 p.m. in the Haakon County Courthouse Community Room.