07/05/2017 A Voice from the Gallery

Mayor Glas called the July 5th, 2017, meeting to order at 6:03 p.m. with council persons; David Larsen, Audri Carlson, Julia Sundstrom-Lyle, and Dan Haeder present.  Council persons Lance Johnson and Darla Reppe were absent.

Keith Vandon Bosch, owner of Alcester Quickstop formerly known as DJ’s Express was present to obtain a liquor license.  A hearing was set for July 13, 2017, to expedite the licensure.

Update on 911 lawsuit.  A motion for summary judgment  against Union County was filed by the municipalities of Alcester, Beresford, Elk Point, Jefferson and North Sioux claiming unjust enrichment.  Union County was attempting to single out and charge the residents of the above named corporate municipalities for 911 dispatch services without parity for dispatch services on rural residents and Dakota Dunes.  Alcester Mayor Peter Larsen was the initiating force which united the Mayors of Beresford, Elk Point, North Sioux City and Jefferson to fight the unjust fee the Union county commissioners were attempting to levy on each person within the corporate city limits of each municipality.

Meagan Fischer was present to ask the city to allow her to raise the height of her privacy fence from six feet to nine feet.  This would be a zoning violation according to our code.  Councilman David Larsen moved to allow the individual offset of zoning, Alcester City Attorney Haugland explained there would have to be a zoning change not just a variance.  The motion died from lack of second and the question was to be placed on a future agenda.  It is interesting to note here Mayor Glas’ was most concerned with the shape and size of the posts on the fence, not the a violation of city code–predictable!

Angela Hansel was present to complete a variance* which would allow her to build a shed encroaching into the alley on the eastern edge of her property.  Councilman Dan Haeder moved to abandon that portion of the alley in favor of the Hansel’s shed.  City Attorney Haugland opened the question for public input.  I shared my opinion that we would be establishing a precedent which may have unintended consequences and the council should think carefully before granting this request.  Councilman Dan Haeder quickly responded with the comment, “I feel we have spent enough consideration and done our due diligence”.  At the end of Councilman Dan Haeder’s due diligence remark the vote was called and the abandonment of city property was granted by a 4 yea vote.   The question to grant a variance allowing the Hansel’s to encroach was called with a motion from Councilman David Larsen, a second from Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle, no discussion and a vote of four quorum unanimous granted the variance.

Next Agenda item is one of great interest to ALL residents of Alcester.  Finance Officer Pat Jurrens and Mayor Glas decided the city should take the garbage billing away from Loren Fischer.  FO-Pat and Mayor Tom want to rewrite the current 1996 ordinance to allow FO-Pat to bill for garbage pickup because there are people who are using dumpsters or taking their garbage elsewhere.  According to the FO-Pat chitchat ’cause Mayor Tom did not feel up the explanation, each household/business within the city limits would be charged by the city for commercial/residential garbage pickup from the tipping fee, to the garbage can rent, dumpster rent, and garbage.  Those sharing dumpsters presumably would be charged individually at commercial dumpster rate and the dumpster tipping fee rate.  Apartment complexes appear to be in line for each apartment being charged a garbage fee which presumably include the tipping fee, the garbage can fee, and at presumably the $20-$25 garbage fee not a commercial rate.  It is unknown how the Assisted Living apartments would fare.  Of course we would not have the online ability to check our billing history, ’cause we still do not have a official city website with that link or information on it.  Former Finance Officer Mike Kezar told FO-Pat and Mayor Tom this was attempted in the past and failed miserably!  Feel free to contact your finance office, Mayor Tom or any of the council members for more information.

City employee information, the city street department has run out-of-money for patching our streets. During Mayor Peter Larsen’s tenure as Alcester City Mayor, the streets were on a rotating schedule with a specific number of streets budgeted for repair and chip sealed each year so that at the end of the schedule, all city streets had been repaired in a timely manner.  Under Mayor Rick Johnson the schedule was abandoned, the must have street $$$ patcher was purchased (and ultimately found lacking and still in inventory), streets were favored with a cursory patch here and there when the machine was working but the patches failed. This lack of attention and lack of budgeting has continued under Mayor Glas so now Alcester streets are a disaster.  It is not the fault of our street department guys, they can only work with what they are given.  It is the failure, inattention and crass inexperience of our past two mayors.

Oh Folks it gets better (not really).  Fo-Pat and Mayor Tom want to institute a special assessment.  Yup you got it, a speshal assessment!  This is where FO-Pat and Mayor Tom reach into your wallet and just leave ya’ll with just ne-kid leather.  The theory of this Special Street Maintenance FEE is residents in specific, designated areas will be assessed a not-to-exceed $2.00 per foot street maintenance fee to repair their street, the curb and gutter and whatever else that the nomenclature street maintenance  could mean ’cause according to FO-Pat all the cities are doing it.  Really?  Take a good long look at all those car-toons drawn on the street in front of your house, what are the odds that you are in a designated area for the FEE!

HRC update-the HRC Four Plex is for sale-  Appraisals and realtors are being groomed, so far Jensen and Weber are being courted for handling the sale.  Mayor Glas stated the city should not be in the building ownership business.  H-m-m.  When the HRC was formed in Alcester it was with the idea to sell the Four Plex once it was established, creating a sort of renewal/upgrade plan for the various empty lots and abandoned, derelict houses in town making use of the Governor’s houses to update the older parts of town.

Upcoming meetings:

  • July 13, 2017    7:30 A.M.   Council meeting**
  • July 18, 2017    5:00 P.M.   Budget committee meeting**
  • July 18, 2017     8:30 P.M.   Planning and Zoning**


*the council asked Alcester City Attorney to aid in the variance application                              on the behalf of Angela Hansel contrary to Councilman Lance’s rant about paying for legal advice for private citizens who wanted their water bill statement each month and the FO wa denying them.

**set at July 5, 2017, council meeting but subject to change