11/16/2017 A Voice from the Gallery

Mayor Glas opened the November 13, 2017, special meeting of the Alcester City Council at 5:00 p.m. with the pledge of allegiance with the following council present:  Mayor Glas, Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle, Councilwoman Audri Carlson, Councilman David Larsen, Councilman Dan Haeder, Councilwoman Darla Reppe and Councilman Lance Johnson with Alcester City employee Lonnie Johnson and city resident correspondent Vickie Larsen present.

This issue was to have been addressed in the November 6, 2017, meeting but as I understand, the figures were not ready from the finance office and Butler had a time limit on the sales offer of Wednesday, November 15, 2017, so the citizens of Alcester get to pay for a special meeting.

Agenda item #3 approve agenda.  The November 13, 2017, agenda was approved without discussion and unanimously.

Agenda Item #4 2018 Bond .  Council members began discussion on a 2018 equipment bond  and the accompanying spreadsheet* provided by Alcester City Finance officer Jurrens. As you can see Mayor Glas’ and Alcester Finance Officer Jurrens wish list tends to be spendy.  Check out the numbers for yourselves, the following spread sheet shows the figures FO Pat handed out to the council.  During this discussion, Finance Officer Jurrens told the council the bond payment would come from and through the second penny sales tax.

*   Spreadsheet Alcester 2018 bond comparison  Folks, the second penny of municipal sales tax was restricted to capital improvement only.  The 2005-2006 city council wanted to restrict this penny of sales tax to initially pay for a new city community building and that council did not want the proceeds to go for equipment.**2nd PENNY SALES TAX ORDINANCEPlease note the last sentence in Section 2, “…The second one percent (1%) shall be earmarked, set aside, and restricted to the funding of Capital Improvements within and for the City of Alcester, Union County, South Dakota…”

 This restriction bars the use of the second penny sales tax for any equipment.  Per definition of Capital Improvement where capital improvement is defined as non-recurring expenditure for acquisition of existing buildings, land or interest in land…construction of streets, highways, utility lines…acquisition of fixed equipment (which are assets which are usually attached to and important to the building’s function)

           Agenda item #5 As the council considered the question of equipment purchase Councilman Lance Johnson stated,

“…put a stop to spending and borrowing!…”

which was echoed by Mayor Glas and Councilman David Larsen.

Finance Officer Pat Jurrens continued to press her agenda by announced two loans involving the second penny sales tax would be paid off in 2019 freeing up $23K to $25K of second penny obligation.  She announced the bond payment would be paid out in two semi-annual payments for ten years at an interest rate of 4.5% to the Premier Bank proposed purchaser of the bond and out of the second penny sales tax.

Councilman Lance Johnson opined,

“wait on purchase of other (wish list) items until 2nd penny obligations paid…” 

With ALL that said, Councilman Lance Johnson STILL moved to proceed with the purchase of the Butler 2015 CAT 242D at $39,900.00 using the (-$7000.00) trade-in on the 2001 skid loader owned by the city, second came from Councilman David Larsen culminating in a unanimous vote of aye.

Agenda item #5c  Councilman Lance Johnson then moved to approve using the trade in option value of $7000.00 Butler offer reducing the total cost down to $32,900.00 rather that the auction risk. Second came from Councilman Dan Haeder with no further discussion the Council voted unanimously to accept the lower sure thing trade-in value as opposed to putting the 2001 unit up for auction risking a lower auction price than the Butler officer of $7000.00.

Agenda item #5d Councilman David Larsen moved to surplus the 2001 skid loader with the second coming from Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom -Lyle and with no further discussion the council voted unanimously to surplus the 2001 skid loader owned by the city.

Agenda item 6 Executive session-none.

Agenda item 7 Adjourn the meeting.  Motion by Councilwoman Darla Reppe, second came from Councilwoman Audri Carlson, no discussion with a unanimous vote of aye..  Meeting adjourned at 5:30 p.m.

I was asked today the limits of the city’s ability to spend our tax dollars.  Mayor Glas and Alcester Finance Officer failed to place public input on each agenda item requiring such a large expenditure.  The public has a right to express an opinion on purchases involving the large money purchases such as brand new street sweepers, skid loaders, streets and items of similar monetary outlay.  The other remedy to unrestrained spending is referral.  The public can refer such purchases and bring it to a vote of the people!  These current purchases using the second penny sales tax could stop the use of the second penny sales tax dollars to pay off the equipment bond.

LET YOUR CITY COUNCIL KNOW YOUR OPINION, CALL THEM DIRECTLY, WRITE THEM LETTERS, WRITE MAYOR TOM GLAS AND TELL HIM TO REIN IN HIS FINANCE OFFICER.

Alcester Councilwoman Audri Carlson         Alcester Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle,

Alcester Councilman Dan Haeder                  Alcester Councilman David Larsen

Alcester Councilwoman Darla Reppe            Alcester Councilman Lance Johnson

                                                          Mayor Tom Glas