12/31/2017 A Voice From the Gallery

Mayor Tom Glas called the December 29, 2017, special meeting of the Alcester City Council to order at 7:00 a.m. with Councilwoman Darla Reppe, Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle, Councilman Dan Haeder, Councilman Lance Johnson present and Councilman David Larsen via telephone and Vickie Larsen in the gallery after which the group recited the Pledge of Allegiance.  City Attorney Chuck Haugland was not present.

This meeting was necessitated because Mayor Glas and Finance Officer Jurrens did not know the difference between a Resolution and an Ordinance and obdurately neglected to seek a definition from the city legal counsel, Chuck Haugland.  Over the past year or two Mayor Glas and Finance Officer Jurrens apparently feel the city is paying out too much for legal advice.  It has been Mayor Glas’ practice to excuse Mr. Haugland from city council meetings about an hour into the meeting while he (the mayor) wings the rest of the meeting on his and Finance Officer Jurrens’ own legal acumen, blithely allowing the council to make legally malinformed decisions.

Come to a meeting and see Mayor Glas clock-watch while Mr. Haugland is in the meeting. (maybe I can get it on tape)  Sadly the council accepts whatever Finance Officer Jurrens tells them regarding any agenda item, whether it lay within her scope of finance officer duties or not.  Many times when City Attorney Haugland is not present, the council gets an ‘explanation’ from Finance Officer Jurrens who has ‘talked’ to Mr. Haugland.  Now there is a theory in law called best evidence or best evidence rule which Black’s Dictionary describes as,

          “…Primary evidence, as distinguished from secondary;  original, as distinguished  from substitutionary…The original of a written instrument is itself always regarded as the primary or best possible evidence…a copy or the recollection of a witness, would be secondary evidence…”[1]

In other words Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland’s opinion  in person is the best evidence, not the recollections or translations of his and FO Pat’s conversations  presented to the council by Finance Officer Jurrens in Mr. Haugland’s absence.

The council ratified the motion to approve the agenda made by Councilwoman Darla Reppe, seconded by Councilman Dan Haeder, with no discussion and with a unanimous vote of five yeas.

The council went on to the second reading of the Supplemental Appropriation Ordinance 2017-12, with no changes or further discussion.  Upon Councilman David Larsen’s motion to approve, Councilman Lance Johnson’s second, the Alcester City Council ratified Supplemental Appropriation Ordinance 2017-12 with a five yea unanimous vote.

At this point Councilman Dan Haeder moved to forego the council and mayor’s meeting pay, Councilwoman Darla Reppe seconded the motion, and with the council’s unanimous vote the council agreed to forego pay for the December 29, 2017, special meeting.

Last item on the agenda was Executive Session.  Imagine that!  Immediately Councilman Lance Johnson piped up to say, “I want to discuss what I found out about equipment in executive session…”  I sat quietly watching Mayor Glas look toward Finance Officer Jurrens a couple of times before Finance Officer Jurrens told Councilman Lance well she needed know more information.  Then FO Pat with a couple other chiming voices responded we cannot go into executive session for equipment eliciting an immediate response from Councilman Lance Johnson, “…well then I move to go into executive session to discussion personnel.” (really transparent move there, Councilman Lance!)  At which point FO Pat provided him with the appropriated South Dakota Statute for personnel.   Councilwoman Darla Reppe seconded the motion, with no discussion the council with a unanimous vote of five yeas approved the move to closed session at 7:03 a.m.  As I exited the room, I stopped to point out to the council they could only discuss specific personnel and they could not discuss equipment or anything else.  I was called back into the council room.   As I entered the room, Mayor Tom Glas called the meeting out of executive session at 7:07 a.m.  Upon the Mayor’s declaration, Councilman Dan Haeder commented they would discuss the contract stuff in the January meeting.  The January regular Alcester city council meeting is scheduled for January 8*, 2018, at 6:00 p.m.

At this juncture Councilman Dan Haeder moved to adjourn, Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle seconded the motion to adjourn, with no discussion the group voted five unanimous yeas to adjourn.

Meeting was adjourned at 7:08 a.m.

*Waiting for confirmation.  Confirmation received today, meeting is January 8, 2018, at 6:00 p.m.

[1] Henry , Campbell Black, Joseph Nolan and Jacqueline Nolan-Haley. “Best Evidence.” Black’s Law Dictionary with Pronunciations. Abridged Sixth Edition, Centennial Edition (1891-1991). St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Company, 1991. 110. Print.


12/30/2017 A Voice From the Gallery

12/30/2017 A Voice From the Gallery-Part II


          Does Mayor Tom Glas and the Alcester City Council have the authority to ignore, disregard or flout city ordinance establishing a restrictive penny sales tax in order to purchase, direct and obligate second penny sales tax income toward  loans and payment of equipment not associated with Capital Improvement?


          In or around 2005 Alcester City Councilmember with the aid of Alcester City Attorney Charles Haugland, authored, directed and provided for specific, restrictive language in a 2005 Ordinance (Exhibit A2)  establishing a second penny sales tax. Please note additional Exhibits A1 and A3 relating to Exhibit A2, during the same time period were included and provided to the South Dakota Department of Revenue (Sales Tax Division)

This ordinance was brought as the result of a community-wide assessment program organized and promoted by Alcester community leaders, Alcester civic groups and Alcester residents using the expertise of advisors from South Dakota State government, SECOG and South Dakota Municipal League.  This assessment established the need for imminent upgrades and future updates of Alcester infrastructure which include streets and underlying utilities, a new community building with upgraded, accessible city offices as well as other long term capital improvements in the city of Alcester to encourage growth of the community.  The concept behind the establishment of a restricted second penny sales tax provided for a long term interest bearing savings-type fund, consistent income for capital improvements eliminating the need for loans and the accompanying interest and fees involved with those loans.

As you can see from Exhibit A1, Alcester Ordinance 1984-3, amended August 21, 2003, was further amended as of August 1, 2005, to fully comply with South Dakota state law as suggested by South Dakota Municipal League (Exhibit A3).  On August 15, 2005, (Exhibit A2)  Ordinance 1984-3 with August 1, 2005, amendment was once again amended adding a restricted second penny sales tax to be specifically,   “…earmarked, set aside, and restricted to the funding of Capital Improvements…”.

Once this amendment was put into place, pre-determined amounts (I believe approximately $20,000.00 per annum upon motion by Alcester City Councilman and unanimously affirmed by the Council prior to 2011) of collected second penny sales tax funds were to be placed into a separate account specifically earmarked for the community building/city offices project.  In 2013-2014 the community building project account contained an aging balance of $30,000.00 derived from the restricted second penny sales tax.  Second penny sales tax moneys collected above and beyond the pre-determined annual contribution to the community building fund project were directed to capital improvements such as the Lincoln Drive repair from First street to Jefferson Drive, Lee Drive construction, and municipal golf course development.

Sometime in 2012-2013, Mayor Peter Larsen with City Attorney Charles Haugland, SECOG representative Toby Brown and council ordinance revision committee initiated a review of city ordinances for the express purpose to update, up-grade and institute new city ordinances to better reflect the direction Alcester city government and Alcester residents wanted to take the city.  This review continued until May of 2013 when Rick Johnson took over as mayor and a new revision committee was formed.

On June 2, 2014, a draft of revised municipal ordinances for the City of Alcester, South Dakota, was produced and prepared by the South Eastern Council of Governments.  Final Revised Municipal Ordinances for the City of Alcester, Ordinance 2014-2 was globally approved with an effective date of August 6, 2014.


          Since 2013 and more recently, Mayor Tom Glas and the city of Alcester have failed to appropriate and place the pre-determined annual contributions of second penny sales tax moneys for the community building into the special account.  In addition Mayor Glas and Finance Officer Jurrens have failed to follow the restrictions of the second penny sales tax as set out in the 2005-2006 ordinance in that they allowed non- capital improvement expenses to be paid out of the second penny sales tax.

The 2005 ordinance states (Exhibit A2),

“…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…”

           Prior to the December 4, 2017, regular Alcester City Council meeting, I spoke one-on-one telephonically with Alcester City Attorney Charles Haugland voicing my concerns the city was violating the 2005 second penny sales tax restriction.  On December 4, 2017, and before the meeting was called to order, I presented the council with copies of the August 15, 2005, ordinance which restricted the use of the second penny sales tax for any purpose other than Capital Improvements with that section highlighted.  In addition I provided a definition of Capital Improvement as follows,

“A capital improvement is defined by contract and varying state and federal laws, but generally is defined as a non-recurring expenditure or any expenditure for physical improvements, including costs for: acquisition of existing buildings, land, or interests in land; construction of new buildings or other structures, including additions and major alterations; construction of streets and highways or utility lines; acquisition of fixed equipment; landscaping; and similar expenditures. It may mean any change, alteration, rearrangement or addition to existing facilities. It is also new construction, acquisition or improvements to sites, buildings, or service systems.”[1]

Capital Improvement can have fixed equipment that is attached to the building/asset becoming realty but, should not be confused with capital equipment which among other definitions is mobile, not fixed to real property and produces a commodity.

When the Alcester City Council Agenda (Exhibit C1) item 6 (a)(ii)(a) and (b)-Equipment bond was called in the December 4, 2017, regular meeting, the council having read the document I provided them prior to the meeting discussed how the second penny sales tax restriction would affect the equipment bond.  Alcester Finance officer Pat Jurrens offered an opinion the equipment was capital improvement using the local accounting office as her legal source  after which Alcester City Attorney Charles Haugland specifically discussed how the revised 2014 municipal ordinances repealed the 2005 restrictive ordinance in 2014 ordinance revision under, Title 10, chapter 10.01 Municipal Sales and Service Tax and Use Tax, item 10.0102-Effective date,

“…From and after the first day of January, 2006, there is hereby imposed as a municipal retail occupational sales and service tax upon the privilege of engaging in business a tax measured by Two Percent (2%) on the gross receipts of all persons engaged in business within the jurisdiction of the Municipality of Alcester, Union County, South Dakota, who are subject to the South Dakota Retail Occupational Sales and Service Tax, SDCL 10-45 and acts amendatory thereto.”[2]

and under Title 11, Chapter 11.01 Penalties and Repealing Clause, item 11.0102-Conflicting Ordinances Repealed,

“...All former ordinances or parts of former ordinances in conflict with the provisions of this ordinance or relating to the subject matter of this ordinance, except as stated in this chapter, are hereby repealed; provided  however, that nothing herein shall be construed as repealing any special ordinances, appropriation ordinances, franchise ordinances establishing fees and charges, levy ordinances for the issuance of bonds, or special ordinances of like character, nor shall this ordinance repeal or modify the provisions of any zoning ordinances or any other ordinances requiring a special method of adoption, nor shall this ordinance repeal or modify the provisions of any resolution heretofore adopted by the City of Alcester unless the provisions of this ordinances either, modify, repeal, or amend such resolutions; and all such ordinances and resolutions shall remain in full force and effect…”[3] (Exhibit B1and B2)  

Upon the conclusion of  Mr. Haugland’s comments, I asked Mayor Glas for time to defend my stance.  Mayor Glas refused to allow me the floor for rebuttal saying, “I could make my remarks during my two minute Public Input time” to which I responded, “Public Input would be after the council vote on the equipment.”  Mayor Glas retorted, “We are talking city business!” and I responded to this comment, “I am taking city business!”  This is not the first time Mayor Glas has refused me agenda item access to discuss city business.  In fact, Mayor Glas moved Public Input from item number four or five to second to the last item before adjournment in response to my opinion and discussion of any agenda items which followed Public Input when it was still on the front end of the agenda. (Exhibit C1, C2 and C3)

In response to my remarks, the council decided to delay any action on using second penny sales tax to fund the equipment of a new pick up and a dump truck.   With all due respect to Alcester City Attorney Haugland, I respectfully disagree with his stance the Revised Municipal Ordinances, City of Alcester, South Dakota, Ordinance 2014-2, Effective date August 6, 2014, in Chapter 10.01, section 10.0102 repeals Section 2-Effective Date and Enactment of Tax, Ordinance 2005 dated August 15, 2005.

In the 2014-2 Revised Ordinances, section 10.0102 confirms and continues the two percent (2%) city sales tax on municipal retail occupational sales and service upon the privilege of engaging in business within the jurisdiction of the Municipality of Alcester and is silent and mute on any intended, specific repeal of previous restrictions placed upon the second penny sales tax.

Nor does the 2014-2 Revised Ordinances, section 11.0102 Conflicting Ordinances Repealed apply since 2014-2 is in agreement with the August 15, 2005, ordinance establishing a second penny sales tax.  In addition the 2014-2 Revised Ordinance further states,

“…that nothing herein shall be construed as repealing any special ordinances, appropriation ordinances…or special ordinances of like character…and all such ordinances and resolutions shall remain in full force and effect…”[4]

Section 2 of the August 15, 2005, (Exhibit A2) ordinance provides for a special restricted funding of Capital Improvements from the second penny sales tax which has the same effect as an appropriation ordinance for a specific purpose and can only be dispersed for Capital Improvements.  In addition and in line with statute, the motion made by the Alcester Councilman to set-aside approximately $20,000.00 per annum from the second penny sales tax to fund the construction of a community building was unanimously ratified by the Alcester City Council and remains in full force and effect as provided by the clause, “…special ordinances, appropriation ordinances…or special ordinances of like character…”

As a direct result of the Mayor and Finance Officer Jurren’s failure to follow Alcester City Ordinance as it relates to the second penny sales tax restrictive ordinance, the city has failed to maintain ordinance generated Capital Improvement funding causing a catastrophic shortfall in street maintenance.  As a direct, punitive result of this failure on the part of the city to follow ordinance, the city council has passed Resolution 2017-09 (Exhibit D) which allows the city to extort an annual maintenance fee for the repairs and maintenance of street surfaces of lots fronting and abutting a public street.


          Over the past months Alcester Mayor Tom Glas along with the Alcester City Council have spent almost $500,000.00 on equipment purchases through loans which debt service coverage obligation is from Alcester’s municipal second penny sales tax.

Based upon my research and reading of Alcester municipal ordinance, equipment purchases such as pick-up trucks, dump trucks, street sweepers and skid loaders cannot be funded in part or entirety from the restricted Alcester municipal second penny sales tax moneys.

It is my opinion Mayor Glas and Finance Officer Pat Jurrens have over-reached and violated Alcester’s Sales Tax ordinance, specifically but not limited to the Capital Improvement restriction placed upon the second penny sales tax.

I request the Office of Legislative Audit investigate this matter and based upon facts I have presented in this complaint, find the city has indeed violated its own sales tax ordinance.  I respectfully request the Office of Legislative Audit direct Mayor Glas and the City of Alcester cease all non-Capital Improvement purchases using the Alcester Municipal second penny restricted sales tax moneys as payment and void all past and present equipment payment obligations from the Alcester restricted second penny sales tax.


Vickie A. Larsen

[1] USLegal.com, definitions, USLegal.com/c/capital-improvement, 1997-2016

[2] Revised Municipal Ordinances City of Alcester, South Dakota, Ordinance No. 2014-2, August 6, 2014, Page 77, prepared by the South Eastern Council of Governments.

[3] Ibid., 79

[4] Ibid., 79


NOTE:  Exhibits have not been included

12/30/2017 A Voice From the Gallery

12/30/2017 A Voice From the Gallery-Part I

       Mayor Glas opened the December 21, 2017, special city council meeting with Alcester council members David Larsen, Lance Johnson, Julia Sundstrom-Lyle, Dan Haeder with the recitation of the pledge of allegiance at 5:00 p.m.  Councilwoman Darla Reppe arrived late due to confusion with the time of meeting start.

Prior to the meeting Vickie Larsen placed abridged copies of her Complaint to the Office of Legislative Audit at the seats of Mayor Glas, Councilman David Larsen, Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle, Councilman Dan Haeder, Councilwoman Darla Reppe and Councilman Lance Johnson*  Since Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland was not present, a full copy was delivered to his office on December 22, 2017.

Councilman Lance Johnson moved to approve the agenda as presented with Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle seconding the motion.  Councilman David Larsen having read the Complaint to the Office of Legislative Audit, began discussion with a request to add public input between agenda items #3 Agenda approval and #4 Equipment Bond because the council was proposing another large expenditure of money on equipment.  After a bit more discussion, Councilman Larsen moved to amend the Agenda with the addition of Public Input between Agenda Approval and Equipment purchase agenda items, Councilman Dan Haeder seconded the motion to amend and with no further discussion Council members, David Larsen, Dan Haeder, Julia Sundstrom-Lyle and Lance Johnson voted unanimously to amend the agenda and agenda placement.  The council went on to approve the agenda with the amendment attached with a unanimous vote of the quorum of four.

Public input was called and I responded to questions whether the Office of Legislative Audit had any authority of the Alcester City.  I replied yes, the Office of Legislative Audit did have authority.  I explained I visited with Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland prior to December 4, 2017, meeting to express my concerns after which discussion we agreed to disagree.  I then knew my options.  In the December 4, 2017, meeting I pointed out my belief the city had violated the restriction placed upon the second penny sales tax.  Mayor Glas and Finance Officer Pat Jurrens disagreed and were prepared to go forward obligating second penny sales tax income on yet more equipment.  So my course of action was already plotted as evidenced by my complaint.  I explained if they persisted in spending the second penny sales tax on equipment in defiance of the ordinance restriction and were found in error, the city would have to replace all moneys spent in violation and would have to come out of the general fund or the first penny sales tax.  The council conceded they should re-think the excessive (my term not theirs) equipment spending.

Agenda item-Equipment purchase was called.  Discussion was lively and the
most real discussion I have seen to date. The council began dissecting Mayor
Glas’s and Finance Officer Jurren’s plan for adding more financial stress to the
residents of the city. The council looked at delaying the pick-up truck purchase for
a year, they questioned the use for the dump truck and looked at other methods
they could implement to get the dump truck work done. By this time
Councilwoman Darla Reppe had arrived and she mentioned she had been
approached about the equipment spending specifically the ‘fancy’ police truck.
Councilman David Larsen asked the question, “…would the employees be upset
with delaying equipment purchases…” to which Councilman Lance Johnson
opined, “…we’ve spent a fortune for employees in the past year…” Not the most politic public comment I’ve heard in a while, usually Councilman Lance reserved those genre of comments for Alcester law enforcement. No action was taken regarding equipment Purchase.

Executive session was called for:  Community Center SDCL 1-25-2-4 to
discuss contracts. Imagine that, ’cause for numerous months when the
community building agenda item was called there was always No update! In
addition Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland was not present to take part in the
‘contract’ discussion. So who was going to offer a legal opinion, Finance Officer
Jurrens, the bookkeeper or Mayor Glas, concrete extraordinaire? So what
contracts, with whom, how much is it going to cost the taxpayers of Alcester and
will ‘we the people’ have some sort of say or will we be left to silently suffer some type of
Jumanji edifice gracing our community? I mean we already have a pseudo city
administrator avatar that looks just like the city Finance Officer. No action taken
in open session.

Property management-Oh my goodness Mayor Glas is on a tear. “…the city needs to clean up…we do not have enough enforcement!…Our code officer is not getting the job done, why I hear…” and “…we need bigger fines…”we need volunteers to help the elderly-disabled clean up…”. In my opinion Mr. Mayor, clean up the city offices, get rid of the clutter passing for ‘decor’.  The city office is where we conduct business and needs to look professional NOT give one the impression he has just dropped through the Pinterest Rabbit Hole just as he passes through the city office doors! So Mr. Mayor clean up your own office doorstep before ya’ll start writin’ tickets on the rest of us! Oh and
contrary to finance office gossip, main street businesses are NOT exempt from
Property Maintenance regulations.

I am happy to announce the city will be contacting the South Dakota State
Trapper to take care of the coyote infestation rather than let some citizen Wyatt
Earp wanna-be doin’ target practice at the Alcester City land-fill. W-a-a-hoo!

Now we have arrived at the whole purpose of the meeting, uh-m-m, yeah,
right. At the conclusion of each fiscal year, the city must rob Peter to pay Paul so-to-speak. Finance Officer Jurrens must ‘borrow’ moneys from accounts that STILL contain money to prop up the over-drawn accounts.**  This is called a Supplemental Appropriation Ordinance and not to be confused with a Resolution. You see a Resolution takes one reading with publication while an Ordinance takes TWO readings with publication. Now the importance of this, is Finance Officer Jurrens who admitted she did not understand the difference between an Ordinance and a Resolution took a short cut by scheduling only ONE reading. The importance, is the city HAD to schedule a third December meeting to do the Ordinance correctly. Now the city council agreed to forego payment for this corrective meeting, however the council should not have to eat the cost and inconvenience of this third meeting had Finance Officer Jurrens just sought the advice of the City Attorney instead of relying on her own legal ‘expertise’.  The Council voted on the first reading of the Supplemental Appropriation Ordinance and scheduled a meeting on December 29, 2017, at 7:00 a.m. to fulfill the required TWO readings.

Due to lack of dual control and risk management issues, our local audit accountant recommended monthly spot checks of the city books as a risk management tool.  The council has chosen to take turns doing monthly spot checks.  As encouragement to the
council, good ol’ Mayor Glas says, “…I have done this and it is very easy to do…”
This is sadly amusing in that during the discussion on coyote trapping, Mayor
Glas ask three times in the course of about five (5) minutes how much the bounty
on coyotes was and each time the answer was $20 a head. Dear sweet aunt Tillie
it is like having Mr. Magoo check out the fine-print on a $100K contract!

Last item on the agenda was 2018 contracts SDCL 1-25-2-(4) which is
Preparing for contract negotiations or negotiating with employees or employee
representatives. The council voted to go into executive session presumably to
discuss contract negotiations. This is interesting since the city attorney was not
present and the only NON-Council member in executive session with the council
members was Finance Officer Pat Jurrens who does not operate under a contract,
and while she has on occasion attempted to tell the City Attorney what legal advice
he should be handing out, she is NOT a lawyer. The council spent from 6:18 p.m.
to 6:53 p.m. discussing ‘contracts’.

Meeting adjourned at 6:54 p.m.

* See part II for abridged text
** Contact Alcester City office for the text of the 2017 Supplement Appropriation Ordinance

12/06/2017 A Voice From the Gallery

The December 4, 2017,  regular Alcester City Council meeting was called to order by Mayor Tom Glas with council members Audri Carlson, Julia Sundstrom-Lyle, Darla Reppe, Dan Haeder, David Larsen and  Lance Johnson and gallery reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Councilwoman Darla Reppe moved to accept the agenda without change, Councilman David Larsen seconded the motion, and with no discussion the group accepted the agenda with a unanimous yea vote.  It is interesting to note here that the council members approved Mayor Tom Glas’ agenda with public input in the number seven (7) spot which denied any citizen of Alcester from voicing their opinion on any issues prior to public input much less the purchase of  a 2018 pickup at $27,518.00 and a dump truck at $47,500.00 with their tax dollars.

Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle moved to approve, without changes, the minutes from the November 6th and the November 13th Alcester City Council meetings, Councilman Lance Johnson seconded the motion and with no discussion the group voted unanimously to approve the minutes.

Next on the agenda involved legal updates which dealt with the Austin Schuller academy agreement language, letter to consent to annex, voluntary annexation for the city shed property which included a resolution to annex by mayoral filing of written annexation and a resolution to change Alcester Corporation limits to reflect the annexations with both resolutions passing unanimous and a resolution to change the numbering of the indecency and nudity Ordinance.  Explanation was to change the number of Ordinance 7.0508.1 effective date of 12/14/2005  and Ordinance 7.0508.2 effective date of 12/14/2005 to 5.0105A and 5.0105B respectively to bring back the more restrictive language in those 2005 ordinances to the present code.  Interesting, very interesting.

Agenda Item 6 – City Employee Updates, sub A, sub II a) and sub II b) which dealt with 2018 Pick-up purchase at $27,518.00 and Dump Truck purchase at $47,500.00.  Prior to the beginning of the meeting I had passed out to the Council copies of the 2005 Ordinance which established the 2nd penny sales tax restricting all proceeds of the second penny sales tax to Capital Improvement with an accompanying definition of capital improvements and fixed equipment.

As the council began discussion on the purchase of the pick-up and dump truck, Councilman Lance Johnson and Mayor Glas stated the city needed to stop the excessive spending, the city could not afford the pattern of spending they had embarked upon.  Both gentlemen opined the very same sentiment,

“…put a stop to spending and  borrowing…”

in the November 13, 2017, council meeting, yet they did not vote against the spending or veto it.  This time they slowed down to do more research on the  questionable use of the 2nd penny sales tax on this equipment before they would vote on the issues.  The issue is scheduled to be addressed in the December 21, 2017, meeting at 5:00 p.m.

Folks,  the council has the choice of ignoring the ordinance restriction or they can take a chance and bull-doze ahead with spending another $80K+/- of taxpayer money that was earmarked by ordinance for a community building and other capital improvements such as street repair and rebuild.  I am sure west-side Alcester property owners would appreciate new streets and utilities upgrades on their side of town, not to mention the appreciation in their property values.

I asked for time to explain my position at this point, to explain why the city did not have the ability to use the second penny sales tax for equipment purchases.  May Glas told me, NO, I had to wait for public input”!  I persisted in ‘gaining the floor’ for participation in the discussion on the ordinance violation on the basis public input was AFTER the vote.  Again Mayor Glas told me, NO, they were discussing City Business!”, to which I responded, I WAS TALKING about city business”.  Mayor Glas again told me, “NO”!

Agenda Item 6, sub A, III was Street Department Lonnie Johnson’s proposed chip seal schedule 2018-2023.  This was an effort to get back on track for the well-being of our streets.  During the Rick Johnson and so far into the Tom Glas administration, regular street maintenance was literally abandoned.  Mayor Glas stated,

“I don’t see the need for chip sealing because most of the gravel washes away and into the gutters and drains…it is just a waste of $10K…”

Next up on Agenda Item 6 Finance Office was sub E, I, a) A CBDG loan to Home Away from Home for $10K at 2% for 7 years.  This loan had been approved November 5, 2015, and wasn’t dispersed until November 1, 2017.  The city has been managing the CDBG fund as ‘incentives’ for new start-up business, business expansion and businesses coming into town.  The key term here is incentive.  Financing of the full amount had to be secured through a lending institution and the CDBG loan from the city was to be a single point percentage as an enticement.  I questioned this amount, but I knew I would have to wait for public input.

Still under Agenda Item 6 Finance was the appointment of a Library Board Member to replace retiring Library Board member Mrs. Connie Larsen.  The Library Board is made up of three members from the city and three members from the school system.

Agenda Item 6-Finance Office was the Ward I Vacancy.  Alcester City Councilwoman Audri Carlson resigned her council position in Alcester City Ward I effective upon adjournment of the December 4, 2017, meeting.  Councilwoman Carlson explained due to changing circumstances, her personal responsibilities and commitments needed to take precedence in her life at this time.

Executive session was called to discuss contracts SDCL 1-25-2-4,  Councilman Dan Haeder moved to go into executive session (closed) to discuss contracts, with the motion second coming from Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle and with no discussion the council voted unanimously to close the meeting to the public at 7:08 p.m.  The council re-opened the meeting at 7:33 p.m. with no action taken in the public forum.

The date for the Special meeting in December was set for December 21, 2017, at 5:00 p.m. to discuss budget appropriation and to address no action items from the December 4, 2017, meeting.  Motion to set the date came from Councilman Dan Haeder, Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom seconded the motion and with no discussion the group voted unanimously on the 12/21/2017 meeting date.  The date for the January 2018 meeting was set for January 8, 2018, at 6:00 p.m. with a motion from Councilman Lance Johnson, a motion second came from Councilwoman Darla Reppe and with no discussion the council voted unanimously to set the January regular meeting date at January 8, 2018, at 6:00 p.m.

Agenda Item 7-Public Input was finally called.  I responded with an explanation of the 2005 Ordinance restricting the 2nd penny sales tax to only capital improvements and its effect on the council’s decision to spend money based upon the second penny sales for equipment.  The effect this would have is all moneys to be spent on the Street Sweeper, the Skid Loader, the 2018 pick-up truck and the Dump Truck that were to be taken from the 2nd penny sales tax would instead have to come out of the general fund or the first penny sales tax which would have a profound effect Alcester’s bank account.  FO Pat voiced her opinion that according to the city accountants , the city could used the second penny sales tax for equipment, further explaining the definition of Capital Improvement to which I disagreed.  It would be easiest of the city rethinks their position on the violation of  the 2nd penny restriction but if not,

“we the people can take it into our own hands”

I asked my question about the CDBG loan.  When the CDBG Loan program was set up it was to act as an incentive and the applicant had to have funding at a financial institution.  IF the city financed a majority of the funds on a particular project with a financial institution hold the FIRST lien against the collateral, the city comes in at a POOR second to the primary lien holder.  Kind-of-like when the city gave the Deems a CDBG loan for liquor and using the liquor as collateral.  Now that was a super-nova idea, let’s use a liquid collateral with no recourse to recover funds loaned!

Still no gallery packet for the folks to follow along and for which ordinance provides.  Why are ya draggin’ your heels Mayor Glas?

My last item was the courtesy copy of a letter addressed to Jerry Miller, Union County Attorney which I received from a fellow citizen who wished to remain anonymous.  I told the council usually when I get a letter addressed in the manner this letter was addressed, someone was well and truly irritated with me.  I explained, not so with this letter, the author of this letter was irritated with them.  I read them an excerpt from the letter,

                   “…I also would like to point out that the City Council has decided to change the way they do business by barring the public from the discussion on all matters which they already voted on till the last item on the agenda, in other words.  They talk about the agenda item, like raising fees for streets or raising the water rates, then they vote and move on to the next item on the agenda, after all that is done they open the meeting for public comment and then adjourn.  I believed we live in a Democracy and not a dictatorship.

          I would include my name, however the City Council has and will retaliate against me or any complainant by send threats to people over such things as sidewalks, or curbs or grass notices with threats of arrests or citation…Sincerely… A very concern resident of the dictatorship of the City of Alcester SD”

 I told the council I was not yet able to confirm with Mr. Miller that he had received this letter.  Alcester Finance Officer Pat Jurrens spoke up and confirmed that Union County State’s Attorney Jerry Miller had indeed received the letter but they were unable to answer it because it was anonymous and they did not know how to get in touch with the complainant.  Sir Complainant your letter has been received and I am here to acknowledge the veracity of your statement concerning retaliation by my own experience.  Mayor Glas diligently has and still flatly refuses me agenda item access to discuss any city business issues.  Folks this is not the first person to contact me about how citizens are treated or mis-treated by the Mayor or city personnel from window-peeping to relegating input to the last items of the night and effectively operating a closed meeting.

WINDOW PEEPER DOG LICENSE.jpgDuring Public Input Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom -Lyle shared a concern about unleashed pets at large, Councilman David Larsen complimented the City Christmas decorations.

Agenda Item 8- HRC  It was shared that two members of the HRC were concerned about the HRC signage size and visibility on Hwy 46.  H-m-m is there an echo here.  Didn’t I bring that up several meetings ago and was roundly put down?  Folks, size does matter when one is traveling at 65 mph!

Agenda Item Adjournment-  Councilman Lance Johnson moved to adjourn, with the second coming from Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle, with no discussion the council voted unanimously to adjourn.

Folks call or contact Mayor Glas, Tell him we want Our Voice, No More Closed Meetings and No More Spending!  Listen to us,  “We the People”!