Mayor Tom Glas called the March 16, 2020, Special Equalization meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. with Councilman Dan Haeder, Councilman David Larsen, Councilwoman Linda Talbott, Councilwoman Melissa Kay and Councilwoman Darla Reppe present. Once again Councilman Lance Johnson was absent and there was no city attorney present.
*NOTE-I apologise to Michael Bucholz for mis-spelling his name in the title page in the video. I did and do know how to spell his name but missed my error in the proofing process.
After the Pledge of Allegiance was recited, the council began by approving the agenda unanimously.
Agenda Item #4 – AMKO Mr. Mark DeRaney representative made a presentation regarding Alcester’s Sewer bond and the rework to lower interest rate as I understand it. The city council had to vote on Resolution 2020.03 to re-fund the bond at a lower interest rate. The council voted to move forward.
Agenda Item #5 – Equalization Board This is where the council received appeals to property tax valuation. At that point in the evening no one had presented an appeal of valuation nor did it appear there was any discretionary reductions taken by the county at this point. There will be a citywide assessment in 2021 by the county. No action taken.
Agenda Item #6 – Public Input – I mentioned several comments made to me about water meter reading discrepancies in billing. I told the council they need to be aware there are complaints which have been voiced to me. My recommendation is to have residents keep a monthly log of their meter reading and compare it to what their water bill reads, then report discrepancies to the finance office so the finance office can correct the readings or have the meter reading devices calibrated.
Agenda Item #7 – Community Building Project- the project committee met with the architects to cut costs and determine which items would be cut from the blue-printed plans. Items mentioned that were to be cut or deleted: (red areas indicate areas in which cuts and deletions were proposed)
Stairway to basement
No front canopy
Utility room moved from basement to the proposed Fitness Center
Fitness center was on the cutting block but mediation brought it to where the council chamber (conference room)was to be located.
No firm decision on the cuts and deletions was made at this time.
Agenda Item #8 – Hire candidate Parker Dooley as Utility person at $12.00/hour.
Agenda Item #9 – Executive Session called for Contractual matters. When I asked what contract of Finance Officer, I was told litigation. H-m-m Litigation? How is that contractual? Sounded more like lawsuit to me so my next question, is the city is being sued? I received no answer. I wonder if that is what is called, ‘asked and answered’? The non-answer is an affirmative answer?
This executive session lasted from 6:37 p.m. to 7:03 p.m. just shy of a half an hour of executive chit-chat without an attorney present and no public action taken!
Agenda Item #10 – Executive session called for Personnel – Gallery and Finance Officer Pat Jurrens exited the room and Union County Attorney Jerry Miller and Michael Bucholz entered into the Executive Session with the Council. About 30-40 minutes later Union County Attorney Miller and Mr. Bucholz exited the Executive Session. At 7:45 p.m. Alcester Finance Officer Patricia Jurrens entered the Executive session and exited the Executive session at 8:30 p.m. and at 8:34 p.m. Mayor Glas called the council out of Executive Session Personnel.
Grand total of 1 1/2 hour of Executive Session time with no public action.
Agenda Item #11 – City Insurance Review – Finance Officer Jurrens recited the various assets needing coverage of insurance and upgrades in valuations, actual or replacement. Then (49:43:80) Finance Officer Jurrens focused on General Liability Coverage, Professional Liability Coverage and mumbled something about Time Computations (?) which translated to employee embezzlement. Now ‘time computations’ which was unintelligible both in live meeting and on the video brings the question of approval of over-time and comp-time for the finance office and other administrative positions. Administrative positions are not paid over-time. Alcester City Ordinance required approval (on paper) for any over-time for the Finance Office. Yet when I asked Mayor Glas and Finance Officer for access to Mayor Glas’ or City Council approval of any over-time hours for the Finance Office I was told there were no such records. This was in violation of City Ordinance requiring a document carrying the mayor’s signature of approval, the date, justification for Over Time and the number of hours. So in effect I was told the 232 +/- hours of over-time/comp time logged by Finance Officer Pat Jurrens had no documented proof of approval and for which a check was cut to the tune of $4880.00. Is that what we need insurance for? So which one is guilty of embezzlement the original computation or Mayor Glas who had the responsibility? H-m-m?
Agenda Item #12 – Adjournment Meeting was adjourned at 8:55 p.m.
Mayor Glas said, “well I guess it is time…” and so the regular meeting of the Alcester City Council was half-glas’d into session with Councilman David Larsen, Councilman Dan Haeder, Councilwoman Darla Reppe, Councilwoman Melissa Kay and Councilwoman Linda Talbott in attendance–who knows where Councilman Lance Johnson was, he sure wasn’t a sittin’ in his seat at the council meeting. Small wonder why the council hasn’t a clue of what is happening per comments made later in the meeting.
Pledge was called, Agenda Approved without change, Minutes approved without change and finally public input was called without all the enthusiasm of “oh, dang she is here”. I responded I had public input.
Agenda Item #5 Input- I announced I had, immediately prior to the meeting, delivered to the Mayor’s seat my formal appeal request of Councilman Lance Johnson’s variance and a FOIA (Freedom of Information Request-South Dakota Sunshine) and I also pointed to the 17 page, fine-print, terms and conditions of the BAMBEE contract as well as an article titled, “Making the Best Use of Your City Attorney”.
Finance Officer Patricia Jurrens said she didn’t have the copy of the appeal and the FOIA and I responded they had been placed at the Mayor’s seat. I commented on the fine print of BAMBEE pointing out the yellow highlighter on the document. Specifically mentioning item #3 where BAMBEE explains she cannot give a legal opinion, Oh deer! It was my impression that legal was the whole purpose of hiring BAMBEE. Now folks BAMBEE requires a $500 audit fee right off the bat, then requires a monthly fee, the combined totals account Mayor Glas’ stated was a grand total of $2500.00 to $3000.00 (01:17:55:63) annual fee for HR advice. HR advice which HAS to be run past our city attorney, who the city council previously insinuated is not trained in HR and is costing the city too much in legal fees! H-m-m the two gentlemen who currently hold retainers to represent the city, list their areas of expertise as Real Estate, Probate, Federal Income Tax, Family Law, Municipal Law, Civil litigation and Criminal Defense which seems to cover territory which has prominently figured in our HR problems recently and still has one doozy HR problem still in the hopper. Somehow I think our retained attorneys cannot ‘handle’ this situation without a conflict question.
I also pointed out the article on, “Making the Best Use of your City Attorney” might be a good read if it is true as Councilwoman Melissa Kay pointed out later in the meeting, (01:22:31:30) “…we only have one or two times a month where we are seated in Council, we do not get enough information and we do not know how to deal with it…” ?
Agenda Item #6 – Executive Session-Contract- and request for Revolving Loan for a local businessman. Council went into Executive session at 6:05 p.m. and came out at 6:17 p.m. with no motion made.
Agenda Item #7 – Legal Updates-
a) Shouse discussion – Now I had to ask what Shouse was, thinking it was a misprint. It was explained a Shouse was a metal house/shed which according to FOPat is just ‘the thing’. Yeah? IN TOWN? Is the illegal garage at 518A Anderson Street now morphing into a metal sh** house? Yet another effort on FOPat’s part to legalize a ‘favor’ for a dirty-handed councilman?
b) Chip Seal – Now we have to amend the chip seal bid to delete the most wondrous, amazing street treatment ‘evah’ and a Fantastic Failure Done our Roads. Given the efficacy of FDR on our streets, we would have had more success papering our streets with laminated BFranklin paper. So now we must pay for City Attorney Tom to apply Anti-Monkey Butt lotion language to FOPat’s and Mayor Tom’s RASH bid contract to FIX our streets! (54:42:43) Get the Red out of our Budget! I warned the council in a past complaint the vandalism to the curb at 518B Anderson Street would create water damage to the street and I was told by Mayor Glas the water ran-off just fine. Check out how he changes his tune (52:55:17)(54:42:43)(55:55.17) about street damage due to cracks in the curb and gutter.
Agenda Item #9 – Nuisance Update – (13:08:07) Arlene’s Cafe sidewalk drainage solutions. The city sat, wasting council time on discussing this issue and its ‘fix’ solutions. This is private commercial property NOT belonging to the city of Alcester. While there is certainly an issue with water draining down-stream from the city owned bar and city responsibility for the property, the simplest solution is to routinely clear the space between the City owned building and the adjoining Arlene’s Café property of snow BEFORE it gets to the sidewalk. Messing with an apparently sound sidewalk on the east side of Iowa street is unnecessarily costly. The two entities can share the cost of removing the alley snow, leaving each entity responsible for the snow clearance of the sidewalk fronting each property as provided by ordinance.
Agenda Item 8 – At this point 6:30 p.m. the time for scheduled bid (17:41:90) opening for the auditorium property. Mr. Scott Hansen representative of Alkota Cleaning Systems was present (26:40:00) for the opening. Mayor Glas opened the lone bid received, which offered $120, 000.00 for the building/and property and which was well below the appraised price on the auditorium of $260,000.00. And so the great debate/discussion began over a bid contract which the council failed to read and understand their own terms and conditions for bidding. When the council put our auditorium up for bid, they lacked the foresight to make alternate plans for holding city council meetings, they lacked the foresight what to do if the bid is substantially lower than appraisal, and what is the lowest bid we are willing to take for our building. Judging from the discussion,
“Our council Hindsight is 20/20 and our Council foresight is legally blind.” (Inspired by the quote of Benjamin Graham)
How many people would put their homes up for sale without a clue where they were going to live after promising an immediate possession sale?
Questions were asked of Tom Walsh who was also present (29:26:77) with regard to the Golf Course Community Building. The council opined they cannot possibly make a decision to accept the Alkota Bid until they KNOW IF AND WHEN the proposed Community Building Dream Gaffe project is consummated. Mr. Walsh gave an update from the architects of the golf course project. In a past meeting when FOPat was ‘splaining’ the project to the council she commented that, “…the architects projected the cost of the community building high…” It appears that COOP Architects project costs missed the boat ’cause the reported bid info shared on March 2, 2020, meeting was “the bids came in SIGNIFICANTLY HIGH-something nearer to $1 Million+ over. FOPat commented they, “…just couldn’t figure out where the costs came from…” (00:00:00) Dear Sweet Auntie Em, this is our finance officer who cannot figure out expenses? Folks the items involved in this bid HAVE to be commercial grade not Sh**House grade or Residential grade. More discussion to take place at the March 16, 2020, special meeting set for 6:00 p.m.
Agenda Item #9 – Nuisance(continued) – Council touched on 204 Ofstad, 208 West Fourth, Dog License Compliance. City Attorney Tom Frieberg to clean up Dog Licensing ordinance language to compel our Police Department to act as dog catchers. Councilman Dan Haeder made an analogy concerning dogs-at-large, citing a tragic car/truck crash on I-29. The crash cause summary per news reports was a northbound tractor-trailer with a pup trailer abruptly braked to avoid two dogs crossing the interstate. A Mazda following the tractor-trailer rear-ending the pup trailer. The operator who was wearing seat belt was pronounced dead-on-scene with no injury to the tractor-trailer driver.
Councilman Haeder’s analogy (40:53:57) using the crash, inferred dog owners were culpable because the dogs were running-at-large. Errors in that analogy include such circumstances as: 1- Dogs could have been deer. 2- what exactly was the Mazda driver doing, what was the speed of the Mazda (posted limit 80 mph), how close was the Mazda following the tractor-trailer, were there contributing road conditions, 3- There is no ordinance dogs in Alcester must be caged, just that they are controlled, their vaccinations are current, they are spayed/neutered and have a city license which proves the appropriate documentations has been provided to the city, the only apparent concern for at-large-dogs relates to menacing behaviors, 4- As I understand motor vehicle liability relating to rear-end collisions, is the failure to have one’s vehicle under control is a cause for citation for failure to have control. Tragically it was the failure to have the vehicle under control which ultimately caused the death. There is no justification for licensing dogs in this analogy and no justification for attributing a tragic death to a pet owner.
Perhaps instead of licensing cats and dogs, owners of domestic pets voluntarily register their pets with the city without license or cost and we avoid the Mayor Glas’ and the city council’s castration of our city police department into dog catchers which distracts our police department from their very real job of enforcing the drug laws, domestic abuse laws, embezzlement laws, false 911 reporting and liquor violations. Anybody on meth or over-reaching political authority is far more menacing than Fluffy or Lassie any day of the week!
7:03 p.m. Alcester City Attorney Tom Frieberg left the meeting.
Agenda Item #15– Executive Session called at 7:03 p.m. for interview of two candidates for Utilities person. Out of Executive session at 7:52 p.m. with no decision voted upon or action taken.
Agenda Item #11 – Streets- Most important issue was the city asking for advice from Engineer McLaury. Now I personally have a problem with this because Mr. McLaury in all his engineering prowess during the SRTS issue caused the illegal vacation of alley behind to two residential properties from 4th street to 6th street, the earthen dam design caused AND CONTINUES TO CAUSE flooding of the property at 301-4th street along the east side of the alleyway, required a significant change order which ultimately cost the taxpayers of Alcester an project over-run of $20,000.00 ’cause he could not seem to figure out the ADA restrictions and requirements while maintaining his bid quote. Now FOPat wants to reward him with another shot at our tax coffers?
Agenda Item #18 – Finance Office
b) HR Services – California BAMBEE (01:17:03) Ask to see the copy of the terms and conditions of BAMBEE I provided to the city. The council has presented BAMBEE, yet none of the council seems to have read or investigated this subject adequately to make AN INFORMED DECISION.
*PLEASE NOTE Finance Officer Jurrens cannot seem to get a simple agenda done properly. She cannot seem to go from 18 (a) to 18 (b) to 18 (e) without screwing up and leaving out 18(c) and 18 (d). Now folks I make proofing errors, but I do not get paid $46K to get a simple agenda correct!
*e) District meeting – Vermillion March 19, 2020. Now you have heard about HR BAMBEE and how according to Councilwoman Melissa Kay, “…we just do not have the information, the experience or the know how about HR…” District meeting is where you can get this information, SDML to whom you pay a membership dues is another source of information, Alcester City Attorney to whom you pay a retainer for HR information and council-folks it is part of what you were elected/appointed to do. Readers check out the video (01:39:58:63) and (01:41:23:00) see how many council members attend the district meeting. Oh do not FOPat it where you sign up and only show up for a hour.
You want to have information, demand your finance officer get it to you in time for you to read up on the subject matter BEFORE council meeting. IF your finance officer cannot get the job done or get the information to you in a timely manner-FIRE HER BUTT! In addition do not accept her ‘translation’ as accurate, it is YOUR responsibility to verify all information. I email information from time to time to the you, or lay it at your place at the council table. I put it in front of you so when I reference it, you can pick it up and read it at brain level. I do not place this information on your chairs so you must absorb the information through your emergency exit!
Agenda Item #18 (?) Alleged payment for a Website- HOORAY Now payments made to the city, the golf course, the pool and etc. can be made to the city via the Official Website.
WE DO NOT HAVE TO HAVE THE CITY OFFICES AT THE GOLF COURSE COMMUNITY BUILDING ‘CAUSE ALL PAYMENTS CAN BE MADE THROUGH THE OFFICIAL ALCESTER WEBSITE PAYMENT PORTAL. WE CAN ACCESS AGENDAS, MINUTES, FORMS AND ALL OFFICIAL NOTIFICATIONS THROUGH OUR OFFICIAL WEBSITE YAY!
Agenda Item #18 (f) Updates and reminders-One item not under the updates and reminder is the 2019 Election Issue, according to my source the complaints have been investigated and the reports are sitting in line on the prosecutor’s desk for execution.