03/15/2021 A Voice From the Gallery

“Without dreams, there can be no courage. And without courage, there can be no action.” 

Wim Wenders

Mayor Dan Haeder called the March 15, 2021, city council meeting to order with the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.  Councilmembers present were Councilman David Larsen, Councilwoman Darla Reppe, Councilwoman Linda Talbott, and Councilwoman Melissa Kay with Councilman Marcus Ireland via telephone.  No city attorney present.

Mayor Haeder called for Approval of the Agenda.

About five minutes into the meeting chiming started. A phone.

At 6:02 p.m. Mayor Haeder opened the Alcester Board of Equalization with just one appeal of valuation.  Karen Huenink was present to make appeal the valuation of the Huenink home.  The council meandered through the process of figuring out the percentage rise in value, the basis used to increase the value, and trying to answer the question, “…how did they know about updates/upgrades to raise the valuation?” (0:12:29.23) to which FOPat answered through building permits and routine valuation hikes.

Agenda Item #5 – Public Input  Bret Doering (0:29:39.20)was present to voice his appreciation and to personally thank our police department for their quick response to the break-in of his car-wash operation.

Councilwoman Darla Reppe (0:31:32.30)reported three issues.  John Wegh (0:31:43.47) local funeral home director contacted Councilwoman Reppe concerning street and alley approach failures to his business.  Councilwoman Reppe went on to report contact with the parents of lifeguards (0:34:28.17) employed by the city were concerned about WSI and lifeguard certification fees.  Most communities pay for the certifications, Alcester pays for one-half of the certification fee.  The fees are reported to be around $300.00.  The council considered the question, if the city wishes to retain lifeguards it would be in their best interests to pay the whole fee but in a contact situation where the lifeguard must work for a specific amount of time once they have certified at the expense of the city.  Councilwoman Reppe mentioned the continuation of an exposed pipe (0:41:23.90) in Lincoln Circle in which a street pipe was exposed and presented a safety issue.

Councilman David Larsen (0:42:55.83) asked a question regarding the garbage route which has presented some safety issues for our older residents who must schlep their garbage cans across the street to have the garbage truck pick up their garbage “to preserve the street”.  Evidently the garbage truck is not ambidextrous, its arm only swings one way.

Agenda Item #6 – Email Scam-  Emails were sent to some residents with Mayor Haeder listed as the sender.  He was not.  Emails requested help using the purchase of gift card.

Agenda Item #7 – Proper Police Department contact procedure. 

Agenda Item #8 – Proposed Street Maintenance – Mayor says be patient, it is not going to happen right away.  Folks prior to 2012 the street department would make their recommendation to the mayor, the street committee would also go out in the spring of the year to evaluate street conditions with those reports compared to previous years treatments and decisions would be made to take care those problem areas on a 3-4 year revolving plan.  Now it is not just the streets but the utility infrastructure under those street which needs attention.  My opinion the city needs to adopt a schedule and a plan of action with funding to repair our streets from west to east.

Agenda Item #9 – Library Board- the council voted to seat Cosette Heman for the three year term given up by Pam Hughes.

Agenda Item #10 – Paint South Dakota 2021- Still needs a chairperson and volunteer crews.  Deadline is April 15th, 2021 for implementation.  Will be placed on the April agenda.

Agenda Item #11 – Surplus chairs- Evidently Alcester EMS is in need of chairs, so the city elected to donate 20 chairs to the organization.

About 64 minutes into the meeting phone chiming continues on and off every minute or so. Again the chiming starts at about 68-69 minutes into the meeting. Yeah Wanda’s phone messaging her. Can we not find a solution to the chiming phone causing interruptions?

Agenda Item #12 – Personnel Policy Manual Changes.  Several observations here.  Human Resource Guru Councilwoman Kay and FOPat have been pushing the merit, longevity and of course the all-time favorite employee evaluation.  Motivation?  Well let’s see, when an employee starts at the top of the wage scale raises are limited to cost-of-living raises.  So after much, much discussion and conversation dealing with personal experiences and expectations from the mayor Resolution 2021-05 amendment to the Personnel Policy was moved to first reading.

Resolution 2021-06 amendment to the Personnel Policy was introduced with a cautionary warning from Councilwoman Darla Reppe who had done some research on the issue.  Councilwoman Reppe had been warned the city should steer clear of any policy change as outline in this resolution because it becomes a major problem. Vote was taken with four aye and one nay (Councilwoman Reppe)

Resolution 2021-07 Amendment to the Personnel Policy, was presented for first reading.  The Mayor asked, “What is the highest annual salary for an employee right now…” (1:29:56.77) FOPat answered, “… it is between the Chief and myself…” (1:30:14.57)  then Mayor Haeder asks, “…what number is that…” (1:30:22.33) and after a long, calculating pause Mayor Haeder paraphrased, “…we’ll call it $50K” (1:31:10.23) Resolution approved for first reading with amendment to percentages cut in half.

Agenda Item #13 – Legal – Settlement Cap for SRTS Lawsuit against City of Alcester, McLaury Engineering by Christensen.  Cap of $10K by city or rather city liability insurance(01:43:37.40) Mayor Haeder says, “…I don’t feel bad about them (Alcester liability insurance carrier) paying…” and like amount to be matched by co-respondent McLaury Engineering.  Vote approved the cap settlement amount with the attorneys to be advised of the vote.

Agenda Item #14 – Reminders and Updates

Agenda Item #15 – Executive Session needed by Councilwoman Melissa Kay 1-25-2.1 Personnel.  Councilwoman Kay instructed Wanda Halverson to stay in the session.  Into Executive Session at 7:49 P.M. and out of Executive Session at 7:55 P.M.

Agenda Item #16 – Adjourn  City Council Adjourned at 7:56 P.M.

Contact City Council

Mayor Dan Haeder                   605-934-2287

Councilman David Larsen        605-934-2434

Councilwoman Melissa Kay     712-557-0689

Councilwoman Darla Reppe    605-934-2602

Councilwoman Linda Talbot    605-934-1849

Councilman Marcus Ireland    605-370-1193