04/18/2022 A Voice From the Gallery

Once again folks, Let the council know what you think.

The  April 18, 2022, meeting was called to order by Mayor Dan Haeder with a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance by Councilwoman Darla Reppe, Councilwoman Linda Talbott, Councilwoman Cyndi Peeples, Councilman Lukas Driesen, Councilman David Larsen and Alcester City Attorney Sam Nelson.

Agenda Item #3(01:05.77) Approve agenda unanimous vote.

Agenda Item #4(01:37.23) Ward II vacancy – no one wants to have Pat on their back.

Agenda Item #5 – (01:51.47)  Sealed Bid Openings for the Metal Clad Building and the Rheem Air conditioner.  Regan Homandberg submitted a bid of $1200 for the building and was accepted.  No action on the Rheem Air Conditioner.  (06:50.47) FOPAT addresses the city attorney for advice on the Rheem air conditioner, isn’t that the Mayor’s job?

Agenda Item #6 – Public Input – none

Agenda Item #7 (08:04.63) Affordable Housing – FOPAT (08:13.17) says, “…ok I talked with Harley at SECOG…” regarding the fee for the feasibility study.  Indicating a grant agreement could be entered into with a matching amount to what the city would be paying.  By the way  Madam FO Ms. Harley Ferguson of SECOG is a profession colleague, not a “Ladies Night Out” familiar!  (10:06.33)  Councilman David Larsen queries, “…How long will this take?…” with regard to the feasibility study.  Folks I took a class in which we had to do a feasibility study, factors considered were economics, technical, legal and scheduling for the success of the project depending upon the cost and return on investment and a plan B for unanticipated factors of implementation.

          Similar to what should have happened with the Alcester Community Center, but does not appear to have happened.  Things which should have been explored such as details of the project, product, service and business plan.  What is the local market, what is the broader market, what is the marketing strategy in detail?  What are the staffing needs, scheduling and timeline for completion and launch.  Financials, how much money budgeted and how much real money involved.  (11:20.50) Motion was made and passed for the grant application with (12:14.60) Motion to approve Resolution 2022-01 for matching funds and ending with (12:46.83) approval of study fee match.

Agenda Item #8 (12:55.23) Legal Updates   (13:56.67) South Dakota Statutes covering the nuisance cause of action.  In other words the legal justification for condemning property which I believe is covered in SDCL Chapter 21-10, more specifically 21-10-3, 21-10-4, 21-10-5, 21-10-6 and so on. 

          Interesting point here as I was researching the Nuisance Statutes was 21-10-25.4 dealing with water pollution or land overflow not affected by protected status such as the repeated flooding of a private residence as a result of poor engineering and 21-10-26 Logging slash definition which semantically could be applied to wood arising out of tree trimming.  Kind of like what the Mayor has in his back yard, logging debris consisting of tree tops, limbs, cull logs and other separate vegetation which would house rats, mice and other vermin. 

          (15:42.10)  Councilman David Larsen asked about city reimbursement if (the city) had to pay for clean up, legal costs and liabilities.  City Attorney Sam replied (15:56.33) upon the court determination of nuisance the city could appropriate the property and sell to recoup demo costs, taxes, liens and or any interests accrued.  Now folks think about it, you are looking at a vacant lot with no house on it or just a dilapidated garage would you purchase a lot valued at $5243 with no house or just a garage but with say $20,000.00 demolition cost, back taxes and legal fees of goodness only know how much.  Oh and don’t forget the building permit to put something back on the property.  So for the sake of argument and rounding, the city would be asking you to subsidize their choice to spend somewhere between $25,000.00 to $30,000.00 for an appraised lot worth only $5243.00 or less?  So in answer to Councilman David Larsen’s question will the city be reimbursed for their clean up costs, their legal costs and oh yes let’s not forget the loss of tax revenue for unknown number of years, Nope, no way, not worth it! 

Agenda Item #9 – Wastewater Facility Upgrade  (0:18:33.80)  FOPAT makes the statement, “…UH my personal recommendation would be is…I would…looking at doing this in a relatively quick time…”  As FOPAT states this is her personal recommendation, not a financially based recommendation but her Personal recommendation.  I do not know about you folks but I place absolutely no value in her personal recommendation.  I do, however, wonder why that map (0:20:48.87) she handed out to the city council, “…to refresh their minds…” does not appear on the city website and contrary to giving the public access to all materials (excepting those dealing with executive session material) dispensed to the council.  How can we ask intelligent questions on something we are being kept in the dark about?  (0:21:21.50)  Oxymoron when asked why can’t the water be laid with the sewer.    FOPAT says, “…you can’t use sewer money for a water line…”  So tell us how are sewer bills figured?  Aren’t those figures derived or based upon water usage?  (0:26:40.33) Councilwoman Darla Reppe asks, “…so we don’t have all the money, does this mean our water bills will go up again…?”  Short answer, Yes your water bills will go up again.  Folks call Mayor Haeder at 605-934-2287, 605-770-7929 or ask FOPAT at 605-934-2517.  Apparently they have all the answers along with a death grip on our pocket books. 

Agenda Item #11 – Police Department (0:36:23.17)  Truck decal upgrade.  Present decal is cracking and shedding.  Question of truck wiring and corrective measures. 

Agenda Item #12 – Library – summer hire. 

Agenda Item #13 – Committee Chair Updates – (0:48:37.00)  Chair reported no report but FOPAT reported she had a complaint about a wastewater back up (0:48:55.10), Mayor Haeder promotes Tide Pods.  Note white powder pods probably should not be used because they pack-up and cause blockages of the sewer system.

Agenda Item #14 – Golf Course and Community Center. (0:55:26.43)  Hire of an outside worker.  (0:57:24.93)  14B Councilman David Larsen comments of meetings with Employee Mike Croy regarding request for raise due to increased responsibilities in job description.  (0:59:08.13) Councilwoman Linda Talbott wants to talk about the raise issue in Executive Session 1-25-2.1 Personnel under Agenda Item #16.  Council discusses this for a minute or two and agrees to push the executive session discussion into Agenda Item #16.

Agenda Item #15 – Finance Office – (1:00:21.57)  Assistant Finance Officer position was offered and the person wanted some time to think it over.  No action taken.

Custodian Hire, LeAnn Haisch at $11.00 per hour.

Agenda Item 15D  Motion to pay Quam, Berglin & Post for the audit.    (01:03:39.00) Audit cost spread:  $4250.00 out of general fund, $2125.00 out of Water Fund and $2125.00 out of Sewer Fund for a total $8500.00?  (01:04:30.40)  Councilwoman Linda Talbott asked the question, “…how much has that gone up…?”  FOPAT answered, ” …over the last three years, $500.00 year…”  Then the question was asked, WHY?  (01:04:55.20)  FOPAT answers, “…I haven’t asked…”  Really?  (01:05:20.97)  Council before you take a step as suggested by FOPAT and City Attorney Sam, revisit the past.  The council did change auditors for a cheaper auditor.  Yeah well safe to say, “you git what you pay fer” (01:05:43.20)  Let’s take a trip back in time, FOPAT.  Remember back on November 7, 2016?  Let me refresh your memory FOPAT, that was the meeting where you stiffed Mr. Berglin $500.00 ’cause you couldn’t figure out Quick Books, a program you former employer sold.

I was there while FOPAT made Dwight Berglin cool his heels beyond his schedule time, until Mayor Glas finally called Audit Review.  OMG Finance Officer Pat had to slide close to Mayor Glas so she could page through the Mayor’s copy of the review to get him on the correct page.  It would have been hysterically funny watching Mayor Glas lick his finger, press down and carefully rolling the page over with an utterly vacant look on his face, as if he hadn’t been the sitting Mayor.  Again the lack of segregation of duties was an immediate concern of the audit.  As Mr. Berglin left the meeting, the question was asked, “…do we need to approve this (meaning the audit review)…?”  finance Officer Pat Jurrens replied, “NO”.  Then finance Officer Jurrens went on to discuss the bill for the Audit cost of $9500.00 .  She related  because of ‘anomalies’  in the QuickBooks Program, our accountant told her there would be an extra charge of $500.00 due to the extra work Accountant Berglin had to perform.  Finance Officer Jurrens claimed she was not advised of the QuickBooks foible.  Really this is supposed to be in her scope of duties and alleged expertise!  So the City of Alcester, to our shame, allowed the accounting audit bill to be short paid by $500.00 ’cause FOPAT couldn’t  figure the QuickBooks program out and Mr. Berglin accepted $500.00 less for his extra work.

Folks it appears FOPAT is hell-bent on a re-run of history.  Please note in the video where she pushes to have the accountant appear to ‘explain’ the increase in fee. (01:06:17.70) The extra fee was because Mr. Berglin had to school you in accounting FOPAT.  So FOPAT do you not get and expect an annual COLI (Cost Of Living Increase)?  So why piss and moan about paying the $500.00 increase of cost of doing business?  Perhaps if you managed the city’s accounts better, our accountant would not have to spend so much time at the card game called Memory and what you call the city accounts.

Agenda Item #16 – Executive Session – (01:09:49.80) 

SDCL 1-25-2.3 Legal –  (3) Consulting with legal counsel or review communications from legal counsel about proposed or pending litigation or contractual matters.

Now folks to the best of my knowledge the SRTS flooding litigation has not been resolved, so it stands to reason this is the communication about proposed or pending litigation. 

 Okay  but what about the SDCL 1-25-2.1 Personnel issue regarding raise in wages discussion that Councilwoman Talbott wanted moved to this agenda item?  H-m-m?  According to statute similar to initiative constraints – one subject per executive session to be legal i.e. South Dakota Constitutional Amendment Z, Single-Subject Rule for Constitutional Amendments (2018) Time will tell.

Council went into Executive Session for SDCL 125-2.3 Legal at 7:10 P.M. and lasted until 8:18 P.M. 

          City Hall lost power at or around 8:15 P.M.  At 8:18 P.M. Mayor Haeder called the council back into public meeting.  Power was still out.  I kept my camera running without room light for audio recording purposes.  (01:11:57.17)  Mayor Haeder addressed the wage raise for employee Mike Croy.  Since the council did not come out of the Executive Session for SDCL 1-25-2.3 and then failed to go back into Executive Session of SDCL -25-2.1 Personnel, because Mayor Haeder and the council felt free to discuss the raise in wages for Mr. Croy in open session it is obvious discussion of this employee/personnel issue took place under the SDCL 1-25-2.3 Executive Session violating the single subject rule for Executive Sessions.  Mayor Haeder and the council stand in violation of open meeting law.

So just when and how long did  (01:13:08.97) Mayor Haeder and the council discuss the appropriateness if wage increase and the value of this employee?  They agreed to revisit this issue (0:59:08.13) in Executive Session but Executive Session 1-25-2.1 Personnel was never entered into.  Sam?  So the motion was made, seconded and approve to give Mike Croy a wage increase to $15.50 per hour.

Agenda Item #17 Adjournment.  Council adjourned at 8:21 P.M.

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