08/24/2017 A Voice from the Gallery

        (continuation of August 7, 2017, regular city council meeting commentary)

Agenda Item 10 City Employee Updates included:

10(a)  Lonnie Johnson’s report on street work including the chip sealing, repairs on 3rd street and Union and siren batteries (?)

10(b) Waste water was the tour of the sewer plant.

10(c)  Swimming Pool Update on the round success/failure of swimming lessons.  It is to be noted here on the July 5, 2017, agenda Item 15(c)(ii) appeared Diving Board Repairs due to a catastrophe at the pool when a large male bounced a bit too hard  and the board collapsed.  The council was notified, yet the board is still in place with cones placed around it and as of this filing the damaged board is still in place.  This is a liability for the city and has been since the event happened and it was not removed!  There is a legal thing that happens when the city has been notified of an event which would endanger persons or the public and the city fails to remedy or cure the liability, council members could be held jointly and severally liable.

10(f)(v)  Alcester Bar Air conditioning Unit replacement Quotes.     Folks, Madam Woolworth had an A/C failure.  According to FO-Pat, Madam Woolworth’s wires are arcing, her wires are hot and smell like they are burning but nobody seems to have a definitive causal answer so in lieu of a definitive answer the council elected to replace the air-conditioning unit with commercial 5 ton and 3 ton, roof top air-conditioning unit at a price tag quote of $10,800.

The city receives lease/rent of just the building somewhere between $1200-$1300 per month for an annual income of $14,400-15,600 on the bar.  At $14,400 income less $10,800 debit for Madam Woolworth to ‘keep her cool’ Alcester residents will only make $3600 this year and that figure does not account for any other expenses the city has paid out this year.  It is TIME get rid of the alcoholic albatross.  Sell the bar!  Sane, bottom-line economics dictate the city sure could use the  money to fix the streets, the residents not get hit with a street maintenance tax and get the bar back on the property tax rolls again.

10(f)(vi) Special Maintenance Fee for Street Maintenance/Repairs.         Yup, there it is!  What happened to the round-robin zones of street repair that were in place when Rick Johnson took over?  Prior to Rick Johnson’s election and the subsequent election of Tom Glas, Alcester used a four to five year schedule of street repair.  Each year zones similar to our voting wards were scheduled to received chip seal treatments.  For example Year 1 a zone in West Alcester would be sealed, Year 2 a zone in Midwest-Alcester would be sealed, Year 3 a zone Mideast Alcester would be sealed and Year 4 Eastern Alcester zone would be chip sealed with the next year starting on the west side again so all streets would receive treatment every four to five years.  Now the streets are a disaster because Mayor Johnson failed to budget and Mayor Glas failed to budget.  It is the Mayor who works with the Finance Officer to create a budget and the it is the Mayor who presents the council with a suggested budget and the council reads it, hopefully asks questions and votes to accept or deny the presented budget.

Unfortunately street repair was not high on the Finance Office bucket list or Mayor Glas’ what-ever list.  So now (we) according to FO-Pat (I presume we means Fo-Pat and her sock-puppet Lampchop Tom)  have decided the good people need to pay extra street repair taxes because someone made a harmless-error, a term used when the powers-that-be explain their screws-up which costs people money, jail time or loss of reputation and the powers-that-be have no intention of correcting the error and making their victims whole.

Fo-Pat suggests a fee of $1.00 per frontage foot.  So let’s discuss the frontage foot, please consider South Dakota Highway 11 and all of those frontage feet.  What about them?  Those folks can logically argue they owe nothing because the city does not maintain SD Highway 11.  H-m-m.

Oh and let’s not forget the alleys.  Yup, folks the alleys.  Sometime ago the city council approved black-topping the alley on First Street between SD Highway 11 and Dakota Street and the alley on First Street between Dakota and Iowa.  These alleys have tractor-trailer trucks delivering to businesses.  There is an alley on third street, between Dakota and Iowa that has no businesses so not business deliveries by heavy trucks BUT  in last week or so this alley was black-topped from third street to a point about two-thirds of the way North ending approximately at the northern lot line of 306 Dakota Street (finance office employee?).  Now the word is, one resident paid a share of this alley black-topping and the city paid the rest of the cost.  I saw no city approval or action on black-topping a city alley in the past meetings.

Who approved this?


What happened with the quote process?


When was the council advised?


Where is the money coming from?


Why is the City black-topping alleys, when we have been told we do not have the money to finish seal coating the streets of Alcester and when FO-Pat and Mayor Glas want to institute a buck-a-foot fee on the residents of Alcester to pay for street maintenance and Folks this sounded like a forever-and-ever-Amen Fee that could go up in cost!

Sometime ago, around the time the Edifices to Garbage were being foisted upon the residents I suggested the city charge the regular fee, sell rolls of biodegradable, clear, green garbage bags to the residents to fill with garbage and place at the curb, bags which would be picked up by city employees (establishing two more part-time city jobs) who would place these bags into a central roll off container that Loren Fischer could collect.  Eliminating running a heavy garbage truck twice down every street and damage to our fragile streets.  As usual I was ignored.  Funny thing, the folks who come in to repair our streets suggested the very same thing.  IMAGINE THAT!

Let your city government know what you think, ask for an agenda, Come to a meeting (Wednesday, September 6, 2017, 6:00 p.m.), telephone your representatives Ward I; Councilwoman Audri Carlson, Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle, Ward II; Councilman Dan Haeder, Councilman David Larsen and Ward III; Councilwoman Darla Reppe and Councilman Lance Johnson or call Mayor Glas, call the city offices 934-2851 or write a letter to the Editor of the Alcester Union-Hudsonite.