05/05/2016 A Voice from the Gallery

A Voice from the Gallery



“…it is dangerous to be right in matters where those in positions of power are wrong…”

Jean Marie Arouet Voltaire


Mayor Tom Glas opened the May 2, 2016, regular meeting of the Alcester City Council with the, “Pledge of Allegiance”. Councilman Mike Burke was absent. The council approved the meeting agenda with the following amendments: Diane Neu from McKellips Insurance, Police Chief Chris Doty for executive session (personnel) and Dale Pearson who received a commendation for his service in the water department. Note-there was a discussion between Mayor Glas and City Attorney Chuck Haugland (who reclaimed his seat at the council table from Finance Officer Jurrens) regarding an update on the dispatch lawsuit with Union County which(per discussion) would be delivered later in the meeting. Motion to approve the agenda as amended was made and affirmed with five yeas.

Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland gave an update on 202 Broad Street tax deed. According to City Attorney Haugland per Myron a tax certificate can take up to six years through service, response and redemption process and apparently the Ives’ filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy in September 2014 with a five year bankruptcy plan. Essentially Chapter 13 allows persons with regular income to implement a plan to redeem by paying all or a partial payment of their indebtedness through an installment payment plan. Apparently lots involved in the 202 Broad property were not listed in the bankruptcy inventory of assets which makes discharge of indebtedness on those undeclared assets void and a clear merchantable title cannot be delivered. Previously Mayor Tom Glas expressed a desire to obtain the property, demolish the buildings and erect a steel building for city, police offices and garages for police vehicles and a wish-list-get-around-car for the Finance Office. So the Mayor wants a $2 million remodel the auditorium with another $300K +/- for a steel city-police office building never mind lost property taxes on 202 Broad and the loss of valuation for those residential folks whose property would lose value with a steel building next door to their residence. Zoning ordinances?

During the discussion of the clouded title for the Ives property Councilman Dykstra asked the question, “… can we get a quit claim deed…?” Are ya kidding? Real Estate 101 teaches optimum title is a clear merchantable title,

 “…title to real property that is clear and free from encumbrances, litigation and other defects and that can be sold or mortgaged to a reasonable buyer or mortgage…”

“Merchantable Title Law & Legal Definition”, US Legal, http://uslegal.com/m/merchantable.title, retrieved May 5, 2016.

as opposed to ‘Quit Claim’ deed, a legal method which transfers any title, claim or interest a grantor has in the premises but does not guarantee the title is valid. So I could for the sum of $100.00, sign a quit claim deed on 202 Broad, giving up my interest in the premises. However my quit claim deed does not quiet the title at the city level, county level or any lien holder. So why suggest Alcester taxpayers accept a clouded title, Councilman Dykstra?

Mayor Glas called for a motion of adjournment of the old council with adjournment affirmed.

At 6:21 p.m. Mayor Glas opened the new meeting with Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland administering the oath of office to elected and unopposed council seats. Ward II seat declared open due to Mike Burke’s failure to file a petition. Remember that Councilman Mike Burke was absent? Yup he sent a message he would like to be councilman for Ward II but apparently it was a bother to show up in person. Mayor called for nomination of Mike Burke, for Ward II. Councilman Lance Johnson moved to accept Burke for Ward II council seat. Mayor Glas failed to call a motion for nominations to cease, but did call the vote. Burke was seated for a one year term.

The question to update as of May 5,2016, the Ward map to reflect the true and correct description as set in the Revised Alcester Municipal Ordinances 2014 was called. I warned Mayor Tom Glas and the council on March 21, 2016, and April 4, 2016, of a ward map defect. The council insisted on following 2012 map stating I was wrong.  I proved the council wrong however their obduracy cost East Park Avenue voters their ability to cast absentee votes or the ability to run for Council seat in Ward III. Mayor Glas received a motion by Councilman David Larsen to table the question which was affirmed by five.

Union County Fairground clean up and re-seeding question. Union County holds a 99 year-type lease on property owned by Alcester city, Union County commissioners have once again sublet the property to the elevator to dump/store corn and soybeans without permission of the city.   Councilman Mark Dykstra questioned who they should contact. Unbelievable! Councilman Mark Dykstra’s appointment agenda to Ward III was as advocate for the farmers who thought Mayor Larsen was mean to them because Mayor Larsen protected a municipal asset by insisting spoiled grain be cleaned up, grass reseeded and Union County Commissioners must get Alcester City approval before they sublet. Councilman Dykstra you forgot that?

Executive session was called at 6:52 p.m. for Alcester Police Department personnel.   Alcester City Attorney Haugland was excused.  At 7:13 p.m. Mayor Glas declared the council in open session upon which a vote was taken to hire Dylan Nelson as Part-time police officer. Apparently the council is again micro-managing the police department. Hiring a part-time officer lies within the purview of the police chief with the wage per hour already set within the fee schedule by Alcester City.

An HRC Update was given by Councilwoman Kama Johnson, reporting switches have failed in the four-plex, creating a possible hazard so the HRC elected to replace all switches for $739.48. Mayor Glas opined, ‘this shouldn’t have happened…they were improperly grounded… they should have been inspected…I (Mayor Glas) had to rewire my house” What South Dakota Electrical inspector checked your DIY electrical Mayor Glas? Glas, a member of the HRC during the construction process kept busy side-walk superintending throughout the four-plex construction. So Mayor Glas, how did You miss ‘faulty’ wiring?   I believe the project was signed off by a state electrical inspector.

According to Councilwoman Audri Carlson regarding auditorium remodel, “…the bid (structural engineer) was not appropriate…”  Folks, taxpayers should vote on the question of auditorium remodel. This is a commercial building, not a DIY project.

At 8:04 p.m. the meeting adjourned without Mayor Glas remembering the dispatch lawsuit update.