07/19/2022 A Voice From the Gallery

The  July 19, 2022, meeting was called to order by Council President Lukas Driesen with a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance by Councilwoman Darla Reppe, Councilwoman Linda Talbott, Councilwoman Cyndi Peeples, Councilman Kyle VanderHull and Alcester City Attorney Sam Nelson. Absent Mayor Haeder.

Agenda item #3(0:00:41.83)  Approve the agenda.

Agenda item #4(0:01:15.53)  Public Input

          Vickie Larsen

          (0:01:23.60)  When did the council get their agenda?Monday evening before the Tuesday council meeting.  Why is that?  FOPAT too busy measuring laps for napkins?  Too busy giving interviews with Kelo about the drought and rainfall? Just too busy to get the agenda to the council so they could independently research the agenda items in advance, so the council would have to rely on her input on each agenda item? 

          (0:01:35.50) FOPAT FAILED to post change of meeting on the website.  Evidently still too busy to do the job for which she was hired!

          (0:01:43.43) BAR BID City needs to sell the bar, get rid of the money pit.

          (0:0154.93)  TOO much council time is spent on hiring for the community center, hand that over to the manager. (and I do not mean FOPAT)  Too much council time is spent on interviews and subsequent executive sessions.

          (0:02:32.37) DISCRETIONARY TAX ORDINANCE 2022-03 This should have been published on the website so the public could read for themselves the language of this discretionary tax formula.  I read the thing and found some questionable language.  I questioned one of the citations within Ordinance 2022-03, SDCL 10-06-140 which was set forth and then repealed (source sl 2020, ch 39, § 15 eff. June 30, 2025; SL 2021, ch 44, §44.) in essence a pre-repeal of the thing which City Attorney Sam Nelson explained.  However when I was re-reading the document for writing this blog I noticed some other failures on the part of FOPAT Jurrens.  The first copy provided to the council was numbered incorrectly and had to be corrected, instead of Ordinance 22-03 it should have been Ordinance 2022-03.  This is a regular happening, FOPAT presents a legal document to the council without proofreading the thing.  Geesh how sloppy can you get?  Well I do have an answer to that.  In that same legal document where it says, “…BE IT ORDAINED by the Alcester City Council that Chapter 10.03 of the Revised Municipal Ordinances, City of Alcester (2018) amended to read as follows…” Folks the Ordinances published on the city website are the 2014 Municipal Ordinances.    

Pat Kast, Alcester Fire Department (0:09:10.10)  Mr. Kast requested a key to the Alcester Community Center to keep in the possession of the Alcester Fire Department in case the Fire Department needed afterhours access to the Alcester Community Center in the event of a Fire Call.  Mr. Kast explained during council session access keys were kept in the truck for the emergency access use, but since that statement Mr. Kast has advised me that access keys are no longer stored in the truck for security reasons.  Mr. Kast also mentioned accessibility for the movement of the fire trucks in the event of a fire emergency.

          Councilwoman Darla Reppe (0:13:43.00)  Councilwoman Reppe discussed the swimming pool, the low (short) pool hours of operations, behavior issues with some boys (if this continues the police will be called), a cemetery stone needs to be moved, liquor store bathroom floor repair, with a notation that the video gaming computer, the televisions, pizza ovens and the bar glasses, etc. are personal property of Deems. In addition the inventory of the bar according to the contract will be purchased by the city.  This has been a past practice and generally has been included in the lease contract.

          Councilwoman Linda Talbott (0:18:20.13)  Councilwoman Talbott spoke to the POS program finally at the Community Center and in use.  Gotta wonder why FOPAT delayed that program so long?  Councilwoman Talbott asked about the status of Direct Deposit and FOPAT’s answer (0:18:33.77)  “…uhm, I have not…”  So FOPAT what is the problem?  You’ve been dragging your heels, so apparently you do not have the knowledge, smarts or skill to implement that program??   Come on Mayor Haeder cannot seem to fulfill his job signing the checks or attending meetings.  Why should the employees have to wait for or have their paychecks delayed ’cause the Mayor and the FO cannot get their jobs done on time.  If Mayor Haeder cannot do his job, he should step aside and let someone else take over the duties he is shirking!  As for FOPAT you take your orders from the council and they have directed you to set up employee direct deposit, it is not your call madam bookkeeper.  I am sure there are well qualified accounting students looking for a job and are willing to work!  (0:18:57.03)  Councilwoman Talbott relates she has been approached by several folks whose requests for agenda placement have been denied.  Listen to FOPAT’s response (0:19:04.80), “…I’ve never done that…”  Councilwoman Talbott continues on, “…Well I have had complaints from different people…”  (0:19:13.37)  Warranty work on the community building’s —big cracks.  FOPAT says she is, “…staying on top of that…”  I’ll just sit back and let that remark ‘sink’ in.  (0:19:56.77) Councilwoman Talbott remarked she had received complaints the new council meeting date was not updated on the city website. (0:20:26.33)  Get a load of the great, depth of compassion FOPAT’s answer to the fact Candice worked all weekend.  FOPAT answer, “…by her (Candice’) choice…”   (0:20:40.33)  Councilwoman Talbott replied Candice worked all weekend, that they needed her and she put in a lot of hours for nothing.  Councilwoman Talbott used the word Nepotism but the fact is the City Council interviews all prospective employees and makes the decision to hire.  Candice is not related to any council members that I am aware of, therefore nepotism does not come into the equation.  (0:21:27.73) The unidentified speaker commenting on the golf course signage was Carmen Kast. I apologise for not identifying her on the video.

          Councilman Lukas Driesen (0:22:44.90)  Received complaints about golf course sprinkler repair, contaminated clippings around newly planted trees and FCS Dust Control issue on Broad Street.

          Agenda Item #5(0:24:16.77)  Wastewater Facility Upgrade – What is behind Door $1.8 Million shortfall?  This was an extended discussion of the Short Fall in funds for the Facility Upgrade.  Listen carefully to the discussion which concerns all residents of Alcester and unfortunately some more than others.  Last meeting the council was presented with choices for the Wastewater Facility Upgrade, Spend a boat load of money with a ghastly shortfall of funding and go broke, rebid the project taking the chance it will be cheaper and the economy will not have gone to Hades in a hand basket and put the accompanying collection system on hold for five years (redo of the infrastructure of new pipes on the West side of town or lose what little funding we have, still have nothing for the future.  What a choice.  Since around 2012 our city’s spending habits have been frivolous and wasteful and now, here we sit.  Our council is faced with an untenable situation.

Agenda item #6(1:06:09.3)  Police Department  

          Monthly recap and introduction of SRO proposal and work with the school.  Again listen carefully to the need for an additional officer.

Agenda Item #7 – Legal Updates (1:25:37.13) 

          Executive session SDCL  l-25-2.3  No action taken

          In executive session at 7:31 p.m

          Out of executive session at 7:40 p.m.

Agenda Item #8  – (1:33:17.57) Ordinance 2022-03 Discretionary Taxation

Folks the Ordinances published on the city website are the 2014 Municipal Ordinances.  There is no Revised Municipal Ordinances, City of Alcester (2018)  There is however 2018 Revised Alcester Zoning Ordinances but chapter 10.03 deals with fences.  So which is it?  Is it just laziness on the part of  FOPAT or just half-assed-ness?   The council voted using this document as their guide for their vote.  However the document has a glaring error in it and so would appear not to be a valid document.  Now the council must repair this error and spend council time fixing FOPAT’s blunder.

Agenda Item #9(1:34:03.07)  Covid Guidelines language change  Approved unanimously

Agenda Item #10(1:36:00.97) Chairperson Updates

 Agenda Item #11(1:43:40.47)  Golf Course  Once again hiring.

 Agenda Item #12(1:45:01.33)  Finance Office Updates  August meeting date change ’cause FOPAT wants to attend a book study so the city must stop what it is doing and change dates?  Second August meeting moved to August 16, 2022, at 6:00 p.m.

Public hearing scheduled for August 1, 2022, at 7:00 p.m.

July 5th meeting rerun (1:05:45.43)  The city cannot give preferential licensure to their lessee.  Two entities have already applied and if the city has two licenses both the Quickstop and the Total Stop must be awarded the license because they complied with the rules.  Mayor Haeder opines about competition (1:12:33.37)

Bar bid opening 6:30 P.M. July 16, 2022.

Off-sale Liquor License hearing  7:00 P.M. July 16, 2022

 Agenda Item #13 –  (1:48:26.07) HRC Update

Agenda Item #14 (1:48:487.97)  Union County Fair

Agenda Item #15(1:50:57.37)  Executive Session if needed  Not needed.

Agenda Item #16  –  Adjourn  7:58 P.M.

Some concluding remarks.

          I would like to return to FOPAT’s response to Councilwoman Linda Talbott’s report of complaints about Alcester City Finance Officer refusing them agenda placement (0:19:04.80), “…I’ve never done that…”  I would like to respond to that denial with a childhood response, Liar, Liar Pants on fire.  I myself have requested agenda placement, I have been refused by FOPAT and told to bring it up in public input where the time is limited and no action to be taken.  You see folks if an issue or complaint makes it on to the agenda, it would have more standing that just complaining during public input.  If the issue is on the agenda, the council can the address the issue and act on it at the meeting if they so choose.

          I would also like to address the problem of hearing during council meetings.  There have been too many times recently where the council is failing to speak up so that the gallery can hear.  I have mentioned this a couple of times, but last night’s meeting was particularly bad.  Two gentlemen in the gallery with me could not hear and told me they could not hear anything.  This is why you hear me raise my voice and ask the council to speak up in the video.  I suggest at least two microphones be purchased and placed within the council room so those individuals who absolutely could not hear what was being said.  Place those microphones on the tables between the council members so all can hear. 

          I would also repeat my stance if the mayor cannot or will not fulfill his duties as mayor, step aside and make room for someone who will execute the duties of the office of Mayor. 

Let the City Council Know!

Contact City Council

Mayor Dan Haeder                             605-934-2287     

Councilwoman Darla Reppe              605-934-2602

Councilwoman Linda Talbot             605-254-3074

Councilwoman Cyndi Peeples          605-934-2096

Councilman Lukas Driesen              605-934-

Councilman Kyle VandenHull          605-934-

Patricia Jurrens                                  605-934-2517