10/18/2021 A Voice From the Gallery

Mayor  Haeder called the October 18, 2021, city council meeting to order with the Pledge of Allegiance.  Council members present were Councilwoman Linda Talbot,  Councilwoman Darla Reppe, Councilman David Larsen, Councilwoman Cyndi Peeples. Councilman Lukas Dreisen and City Attorney Sam Nelson.

Agenda Item # 3 Approval of the agenda was called (01:16.93).  There was discussion of a change/addition to the agenda but was not acted upon.  Judge for yourselves folks. (01:30.70)  Does adding an executive session to Agenda item 10(f) constitute a change?  I think it does.  Note Mayor Haeder’s reaction to this news (01:56.07), it is the Mayor job to set the agenda.

Agenda Item #4 – Public Input – was called (03:03.27) with two responses.  Vickie Larsen (03:05.40) presented items of interest Pig Ordinance, Crosswalk at Lincoln and Jefferson, Redistricting, No city video on city website, city website not current, water cost raises may be in error due to previous rural water loan and Mayor Haeders remarks regarding wasting time. (04:57.70)

Reporter Gordon Richard (05:22.17) asking for the official date of opening of the Alcester Community Center.

Agenda Item #5 – Council vacant seat candidates.  None

Agenda Item #6307 Iowa Street nuisance – Legal updates (06:39.07)

Agenda Item #7 – Redistricting of District #16  Motion was received to prepare a Resolution for no change to the District 16 Boundaries.

Agenda Item #8 – Chairpersons updates of departments. (15:34.40)

a) Street Department- Councilwoman Linda Talbott gave an update on the desire to bid at Auction on a used snow plow/truck.  (16:42.13)  Bookkeeper Jurrens butted into the discussion to display her expertise of “Cats, Macs and Sterling Snowplows” Oh My!  Bidding ends October 28th. 

The Mayor Haeder diverted from the agenda to discuss upcoming reviews of employees.  Folks here is your chance to voice your opinion on employee performance and behaviors.  Contact the Mayor.

b)  Cemetery – no report

c)  Water/wastewater –  (25:10.93) The city failed to pass water quality due to Toxins present.  Another test will be performed.  This test uses (25:49.30)  a bioassay using the Daphnia Magna’s  super sensitivity to toxins in monitoring water quality.  Daphnia Magna, Order Cladocera is a fresh water crustacean carrying the common name of water flea solely due to its appearance and jerky movement through the water resembles that of a land flea but has no biological connection to the Flea, Order Siphonaptera.

d)  Police  Update –

e)  Library Update – Handicap button arrived for installation for handicap access.

f)  Golf Course – slow to no patronage.

g)  Finance Office – Flitting like a flea doing “construction things”.  Why and with what ‘expertise’?  (37:17.47)

Agenda Item #9 – (38:06.87) On Call Pay  Police Chief Austin Schuller presented his claim asking for his unpaid on call time of  $1.36 per hour compensation for his on call status. Folks as the council tried to grasp of paying their chief of police what was due him and I suspect what was withheld from for Police Chief Christie by Finance Officer Jurrens and Mayor Haeder.  Listen carefully to the discussions at (51:41.80), (55:47.77), (1:01:56.80), (1:03:04.47), ( 1:03:25.23) and (1:04:15.87).  Now pay special attention to finance office assistant Wanda Halverson.  Where does Wanda get off comparing her duties of filing, sweeping and shopping with the duties and obligations of law enforcement? 

          I would quote from the 2020 city personnel policy, “Policy 5:  Hours of Work – 5.6 ON CALL TIME:  ‘Police Department:  The Chief of Police  (not the mayor, not the finance officer nor Wanda Halverson)will schedule on-call time.  Officers who are on-call will comply with the same standard of care and conduct as the on-duty officers.  While on-call, officers will remain within 15 miles of the City of Alcester, and avoid situations where they would not be able to receive and respond to calls from dispatch.

          Officers who are on-call will respond to calls for police services as quickly and as safely as possible.  When responding to calls for police services, officers will consider the nature of the call, the need for immediate assistances, road conditions, weather conditions, traffic conditions and other circumstances that may pose risks to public safety.  Response times will reflect these conditions.'”

Agenda Item #10 – Community Center (1:14:17.37) Note the motions to hire personnel, pay for equipment purchase of TV, Grills, Griddles and stand.  Then we get to the conundrum of the great Coke Sponsorship.  (1:30:13.63)  Quid Pro Quo?  As I researched this ‘wind-fall’ I found this involves an application.  So who filled out the application?   I noted Coke had a Covid type sponsorship which FOPat seems to gravitate toward.  Anyhow, when she said the magic number of  $135,000.00 +/- to be delivered in two installments of $67.000.00 just reached up and grabbed Mayor Haeder by his spend-nerve.  Now folks there is a contract Coke requires for participation, a rather lengthy, provocative and naturally favors Coke.  Alcester city attorney Sam Nelson read the contract and expressed his concern over several items contained within the contract language. 

          Needless to say, here is where the unapproved agenda change comes in.  City Attorney Sam wanted to ‘talk’ in Executive Session and so the Motion so Councilman David Larsen could listen to a ten minute explanation of Attorney Sam’s concerns.  The council went into Executive Session at 7:34 p.m. and was back out at 8:02 p.m. some 30 minutes later.  So at (1:35:00.07) the motion was called to allow Mayor Haeder to sign this great sponsorship deal upon advice of city attorney Sam Nelson’s opinion of form and manner.  Yup the council voted to blindly allow Mayor to sign us up for gosh only knows what. 

Agenda Item #11 – Finance Office 

City Offices will be closed on October 22, 2021, so our Finance Officer and her minion may ‘work’ on cleaning and prepping the Great Alcester Albatross for its first event. (1:44:54.40)  Before that event can take place the place must be inspected to satisfy fire code.   H-m-m  (1:45:54.83)

Agenda Item #12Executive Session  Not needed

Agenda Item #13  – Adjourn  –  Meeting adjourned at 8:16 p.m.

Folks it is past time for the removal of Ms. Jurrens as finance officer!  Her review is imminent, let the council and mayor know how you feel.  We have lost two Police Chiefs due to her interference, we have lost at least three council members who worked for the people and now we are in danger of losing more law enforcement due to the lamentable lack of controls over the finance office.  We have a large number of residents who cannot afford the fees, street taxes and water fees levied against them and who have no one to speak for them. 

          We now have an albatross wrapped around our collective necks, with a business plan designed apparently to just break even or if we are really unlucky goes bust leaving us with an empty event center with no community in it!  We have allowed the city to run competition to several businesses in the bar and restaurant fields which effectively shuttered those businesses.  With the shuttering of those businesses we lost sales tax revenues, when we allow stand-alone garages in residential zones (i.e. a $25K garage instead of a $100K home) we lose property tax revenues and property values, when we cannot attract businesses to town we cannot offer jobs and our homes lose their value.

Contact City Council

Mayor Dan Haeder                             605-934-2287      605-770-7929

Councilman David Larsen                  605-934-2434

Councilwoman Darla Reppe               605-934-2602

Councilwoman Linda Talbot              605-254-3074

Councilwoman Cyndi Peeples

Councilman Lukas Driesen

Patricia Jurrens                                  605-934-2517