03/03/2020 A Voice From the Gallery

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-

  1. 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?
  2. 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

a) Warrants

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.

Agenda Item #23 Executive Session

8:50 p.m. In Executive Session for Personnel

9:23 p.m. Out Executive Session for Personnel

NO ACTION TAKEN

Agenda Item #6 (?)

9:25 p.m. In Executive Session for Contracts

9:35 p.m. Out Executive Session for Contracts

NO ACTION TAKEN

Agenda Item #24 -Adjourn

Adjourned at 9:35 p.m.

01/26/2020 A Voice From the Gallery

Please find below, the agenda for Monday night’s special meeting, 6:00 p.m.  Just click on where is says 01-27-2020 Agenda.

01-27-2020

Please note Items #5 Architect Agreement, #5 Community Center Plans & Specs, #6 Community Center Advertising,  and #7 Approve Architect Agreement.  How sloppy can you get?  Another Half-Glas’d job!

Come on, with all those finance office shut down hours on Tuesdays just so the bookkeeper can get to her work done.  Maybe if she did not have so many court dates for personnel indictments and violations, the good citizens of Alcester would get value for their tax dollars.

If you do not want the city offices in the community building, if you do not what FO Pat in an over watch position of the police department, the golf course, your wedding celebrations, your family reunions, parties, if you do not want FO Pat deciding what you pay in taxes, if you do not want FO Pat deciding what tractor repair shop is going to be located off your bedroom window and if you do not want FO Pat deciding in which burial plot you will located, attend this meeting, make your feelings heard and shut FO Pat down.  We cannot TRUST FO Pat!     ATTEND THIS MEETING!

By the way, we STILL do not have a website.  The council has voted two or is it three times now and we STILL do not have a website!  WHY NOT?  Is it too far over FO Pat’s Gigabyte capacity to understand how to do it?  I know of at least two times the council approved two different entities to set up websites. WHY isn’t Pat doing what the council told her to do?  WHAT is FO PAT trying to hide?  Is it her inability to handle computer programs (I thought ol’ Mr. Monson ‘tutored’ her in programing) or is it perhaps her intent to keep the citizens ignorant of what she IS doing or NOT doing?  Remember it is the job of Mayor Glas to OVERSEE Finance Officer Jurren’s performance.  Oh that’s right Mayor Glas cannot tell whether his navel is an innie, an outie or an orange!

04/16/2019 A Voice From the Gallery

Tuesday, April 9, 2019-At 2:50 p.m. Mayor Glas returned on a run, rushing into the Finance Office announcing to Finance Officer Jurrens,

“you were right”.  Mayor Glas continued to report that 300 East Fourth Street was OMG, “shingling their roof…there was not building permit…HE KNOWS BETTER!” 

Finance Officer Jurrens picked up her phone (not the fancy one with all manner of bells and whistles a salesman brought in that morning which she will no doubt pitch to the city council, she just has to have it or she cannot function without it!) and called the roofing contractor, left a message for him, “…to contact her right away…!”

Monday, April 15, 2019- Election Update-Canvass the Votes from April 9 Election

During Public Input last evening I presented the Finance Officer with a FOIA, I presented the council with a property maintenance code violation complaint on Anderson Street, I commented on any payment of comp time stating ‘it was not applicable to Finance Officer Pat Jurrens’, I questioned the Chip Seal, Road Guy bid which was not fulfilled in 2018, contract/agreement time frame extended in September 2018 and attempted to change the terms and conditions last night and finally I questioned the Executive Session for Personnel in how many applicants for the auditorium custodian position (? nobody knew), how many applicants for the golf groundskeeper position (2 and rumor has it mayor glas is one of the applicants) and how many applicants for the summer reading assistant position (1).

Perhaps the city of Alcester should adopt ordinance to the effect that, “anyone who intentionally tampers with infrastructure faces up to five years in prison and $10,000.00 fine…”

HEUER VIOLATION

The definition of infrastructure is the basic facilities and installations…including roads…”

So Mayor Glas, you and Finance Officer Jurrens appeared on April 9, 2019, to be vindictively gleeful in threatening a citation for an alleged failure to obtain a building permit for a roof repair job.  Mayor Glas and Finance Officer Jurrens, here you go.  This individual deliberately vandalized public property, I and the rest of the city wait upon the issuance of a citation and fine to make this portion of  Anderson Street whole again!

 

 

07/11/2018 A Voice From the Gallery

The regular meeting of the Alcester City Council was called to order at 6:00 p.m. by Mayor Tom Glas with the following council present”  Councilman Dan Haeder, Councilwoman Linda Talbott, Councilwoman Darla Reppe, Councilwoman Melissa Kay, City Attorney Sam Nelson and at 6:05 p.m. via Skype, Councilman David Larsen.  AWOL Ward III Councilman Lance Johnson who was going to be late.

*Just prior to the start of the council meeting, Finance Officer Jurrens presented an envelope addressed to me.  I slipped it into my bag without opening it.

The agenda was approved with the exception of the Agenda Item #8 Pool Update to be delivered by Pool Employee Sam Jensen to be moved to just after Agenda Item #4-Approval of June 4th and June 11th meeting minutes. 

Agenda Item #8 Pool Update – Sam Jensen delivered the report stating things were going well.  Mr. Jensen was asked the question, if the pool needed to do things differently what would he recommend.  Mr. Jensen stated a new for a new pool vacuum.  Note nothing was asked about the pool rules of Mr. Jensen. I will reiterate, “Folks nothing was introduced on pool slide rules or the imminent danger of injury due to the placement of the slide and rules of use, i.e. pool safety recommendations of  feet first sliding, no head first or backwards sliding , no child under the age of 6 years old without parent in the pool catching, only one child on slide or slide ladder at a time, no toys on the slide and roped off to keep swimmers out of the splash down zone.  I passed out pool slide rules from other sources including a national organization for safety last meeting for the council to read.  Evidently it is not as Finance Officer/Bookkeeper Pat Jurrens puts it, a high priority.  Alcester children it appears are not a high priority.  Imagine your 8 year old or 10 year old suffering a spinal cord injury with the life-long result of tetraplegia or paraplegia because the pool rules were not set or enforced.  Are you willing to bet your child’s future on FO Pat’s ability to distinguish high priority or ignorable priority.  FO Pat’s, Mayor Hal-Glas’d and the city’s pocket are not deep enough to restore what may be lost through sheer ego and terminal stupidity! 

Agenda Item #5 Public Input–  I responded for public input, I distributed spiral bound documents for each council member and distributed them to their usual seats at the council table prior to the meeting.  Contained within the document was Safe Routes to School Issue which contained email transcripts between Mr. Kim McLaury of McLaury Engineering, Mr. Rod Gall of the Mitchell Region Office of the South Dakota Department of Transportation and Mr. Dustin DeBoer special Attorney General of the South Dakota Department of Transportation.  I had asked for change orders issued for the substantial grade change, addition of culverts to discharge water build up on the upstream side of the earthen dam the grade change created.  I addressed the unintended (?) consequences of an earthen dam which created a downstream water/flooding issue, the entrapment of standing water which created a breeding surface for insects, the attractive hazard created by a ramp in which children with bicycles were already Evel Knieviling over the new sidewalk with the added prospect of motorcycles, scooters and snow mobiles doing their own version of Dukes of Hazard maneuvers in the park, additional charges for increase thickness of concrete to allow for car and truck traffic implementation of the sidewalk through the park but the sharp grade increase would cause a regular car or truck to bottom out making it useless.  In addition of grading changes in the construction of this project, the north/south alley on the west edge of the Alcester Park was constructively abandoned without public hearings , proper notification to affected residents and notification of abandonment and proper legal steps.  I advised the council of the liability of the ramp, flooding situation and the loss of backyard access could cause lawsuits against the city and city council, jointly and severally. 

        The second part of the booklet of documents dealt with my Freedom of Information request of the City.  These documents were a collection of FOIA requests and Alcester Finance Officer Pat Jurrens response which simply put was going to cost me $40 per hour for eight (8) hours research time in addition to copying costs.  This maneuver by Mayor Glas and Finance Officer Jurrens has the effect of deliberately closing public records (00:06:13) and creates a violation of Federal and State open records statutes.

        I finished up my public input with notification to the council that someone appeared to have vandalized the curb on Anderson Drive across the street from Alcester City Councilman Lance Johnson’s home.  The upper part of the curb had been hacked away from the horizontal plane of the gutter which would allow water to collect and possibly wash away support compactions under the street creating a voids and street collapse.

        Also presenting public input were Terry and Jessica Christiansen, owners of the former depot building.  Due to the creation of the earthen dam related to the Safe Routes to School Sidewalk changes has caused flooding in their home and continues to create flooding with each rain event.  It is the Christiansen’s understanding they will have to foot the bill of the poor engineering of the sidewalk which caused damage to their home.  Please note Mayor Half-Glas’d “I (Mayor Glas) was in construction” comments on a cure for the Christiansens. (00:11:25) 

 Agenda Item #6 – Planning and Zoning  This was the second reading of  the Planning and Zoning Ordinance.

 Agenda Item #7 – Street Updates Items of interest is the maintenance of the gravel on West Clark Street, that portion of street running north of the Fairgrounds parking lot.  The grain hauling trucks are complaining the concrete has broken away and have sharp edges.

         A one-time burn permit was approved on the 6th street property, I believe this is the future site for the community building and city offices (?)  But as we the tax-payers have received very little information on the proposed community building, design, funding and our input-wise we are as usual in the financial dark.

 Agenda Item #10 – Police Department Updates.  Chief Christie brought the council up to speed on new locks, evidence lockers and storage and announced the new hire Kendra was  no longer a part-time officer with the Alcester Police Department, she has accepted the open deputy position with the Union County Sheriff’s office created with the departure of Jeff Christie to take the position of Alcester Police Chief.

        The council went into Executive session to discuss personnel at 7:10 p.m. pondered and pondered and pondered until they declared themselves out of Executive session at 8:33 p.m. just shy of an hour and a half. Sheesh!  Either one is fit to be a police officer or not, and it really shouldn’t have taken one and half hours to make that determination.

        A curious thing though Chief Christie and OfficerSchuller came out after about 20 minutes or so after the start of executive session.  They were followed a couple of minutes later by Finance Office Jurrens, who remained in her office another 15-20 minutes or so until she was called back into the Executive session meeting.  This finance officer exit was unusual, ’cause unless Finance Officer Pat comes out to retrieve documents, she simply does not come out of executive sessions until they declared out of executive session or…?

Agenda Item #11-Golf Course  Councilman David Larsen gave a brief report via Skype.  He announced the golf course had a health inspection and received a 98 out of 100. 

        There was an irrigation control issue and has been repaired. However there was an issue where duplicate control boards were purchased.  One control board was purchased independently from the repair guy at $250 and the repair guy brought a second control board and charged the city for it but took a control board away with him.  To be resolved in the future

 Agenda Item #12 – Finance Office Update 

        Warrants were approved with the payment for the diving board was withheld by Finance Officer Pat due to funding.

        Safe Routes To School (SRTS) Project sign off and payment of $20K was delayed due to the questions on, specifically who is financially responsible for the apparent omissions and errors.

        CDBG Loans-Years ago the city of Alcester received a grant from the state of South Dakota secured by Alcester businessman/ South Dakota legislator Roger McKellips to finance the expansion of Alcester Meats.  Alcester Meats repaid the loan with interest to the City of Alcester which was placed into a special account which the city could extend secondary loans to a primary bank loan by businesses relocating to Alcester or expanding into Alcester, to grow Alcester business district.  These loans were to be repaid with interest to keep the fund alive to encourage new business.  These loans should never have been guaranteed with perishable inventories such as alcohol or disposable commodities.  Finance Officer Pat announced two businesses Alcester Tire and Alcester Steakhouse recipients of outstanding CDBG loans have closed their doors but at this time both extinct businesses are current in their loan payments.

        Parking at Alcester City Park included a discussion on the properties immediately North of the Earthen Dam Sidewalk and their loss of access to the rear boundary of their properties.  In other words, the failure of the city to comply with abandonment procedures set by statute.

        Personnel Policy Manual-Committee members set as Councilman David Larsen and Councilwoman Melissa Kay with additional committee members to be comprised of employees.  What About City residents input on Personnel Manual?

        Consensus for the city to take over the Chamber Website and cause the new website to be the Official Alcester City Website with all the bells and whistles of a genuine city website including, agendas, minutes and city codes on line for residents.

        Just before Agenda Item #10, Executive session was called AGAIN to discuss personnel which does not show up on the agenda.  H-m-m!  The council moved into Executive session at 9:15 p.m. and declared out of Executive session at 9:27 p.m.

        NOTE:  Alcester City Councilman Lance Johnson never did show up for the meeting.  The late Ward III Councilman just couldn’t seem to come to the meeting to represent his ward.

Agenda Item #17-Adjournment

        After motions and vote, Mayor Glas declared the regular meeting of the July 10, 2018, Alcester City Council meeting adjourned       

          

 

 

04/24/2018 A Voice From the Gallery

People try to live within their income so they can afford to pay taxes to a government that can’t live within its income.”

(Robert Half)

As the property-owning folks of Alcester city have recently found, Mayor Tom Glas and his minion FO Pat Jurrens have found a way to rob the poor to give to the incompetently managed Alcester city budget!

January 2006, a restricted second penny sales tax went into effect:

This second penny sales tax was restricted to be, “…earmarked, set aside, and restricted to the funding of Capital Improvements within and for the City of Alcester, Union County, South Dakota. 

 2nd PENNY SALES TAX ORDINANCE.jpg

 

Mayor Glas and Finance Officer Pat Jurrens ignored this ordinance so they could take moneys from the restricted second penny sales tax for equipment.

Now they have redirected the second penny sales tax to fund equipment purchases;

  • created a special assessment at a rate of $1.00 per frontage foot
  • failed to specify in detail the need and scope of the project for which the funds are needed (proposed resolution of necessity) Proposed Resolution of Necessity

GUIDE TO SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS CHECK LIST i.jpg

GUIDE TO SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS II

Source SDML, South Dakota Municipal League, Guide to Special Assessments (http://www.sdmunicipalleague.org/vertical/Sites/%7B2540DC39-A742-459F-8CAF-7839ECF21E89%7D/uploads/SDML_Guide_to_Special_Assessments_Updated.pdf )

Since it appears the finance officer failed to follow the musts in this document, it is my belief the resolution for special assessment is void!

Contact the Alcester City Mayor Tom Glass 934-2188, Contact Alcester Finance Officer Pat Jurrens at 934-2851 or your Ward representative and give them your opinion of their special assessment!

 

 

“In levying taxes and in shearing sheep it is well to stop when you get down to the skin”

(Austin O’Malley)

 

03/20/2018 A Voice From the Gallery

On Monday, March 19, 2018, Mayor Glas waited until Councilman Lance Johnson wandered back into the council room, jumped up and announced the pledge.  Really again?  Alcester City Council members present and quorum; Councilman Dan Haeder, Councilman David Larsen, Councilwoman Melissa Kay, and Councilman Lance Johnson.  Absent Councilwoman Darla Reppe, Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle and city attorney representative. Action taken during any meeting that is not properly opened or has not been properly noticed could, if challenged, be declared null and void.  It could even result in personal liability for members of the governing body involved, depending upon the action taken.  It appears Mayor Glas does need cue cards!

Agenda Item #3 was called and with no corrections Councilman David Larsen moved to approve the agenda as presented with the second coming from Councilman Lance Johnson, no discussion and unanimous vote times 4 approved the agenda.

Agenda Item #4 has no appointments for review of valuations within the city limits of Alcester had been received or documented.  It was noted Beresford would be going through a full evaluation in 2019, but it was unknown when Alcester would be going through a city-wide re-assessment.  It was also noted the assessment logs were not in a logical order, making it difficult to locate certain properties.  In addition it was noted  certain properties with tax exempt status or there was a question of tax exempt status.

Agenda Item #5 Public Input.  I asked the council if they were familiar with Beacon-Schneider which could provide property information by rolling over the city map.  In addition, to the questions of tax exempt status can be obtained by review the entity name via the South Dakota Secretary of State website.

Agenda Item #6 Executive session  Again another executive session for personnel.  This is ONLY to discuss SPECIFIC employees, not whether the finance office needs another $10K spending money for yoga ball chairs.  Executive session began at 6:07 p.m. and lasted until 6:27 p.m.  Really 20 minutes to discuss what batteries to use in the Police department tasers?

NOTE:  I must apologise here, a technical glitch (me not properly activating a button, ya’ll would think I would know how to push buttons by now).  Immediately after entering the council room, placing the camera back onto the tripod and hitting the record button, I was engaged in entering the 6:27 p.m. time back in session and didn’t realise the camera was not activated.  The council was called back into session, I just didn’t get the last two minutes of the meeting on video.

Agenda Item #7 was called with updates the Landfill would be Open Monday April 2, 2018, and Spring clean-u[ would commence on April 13, 2018 and run through April 29, 2018.

Agenda Item #8 Adjournment was called with a motion to adjourn coming from Alcester City Councilman Lance Johnson and the second from Alcester Councilwoman Melissa Kay, no discussion and a unanimous times 4 vote of aye.  Alcester Equalization meeting was adjourned at 6:29 p.m.

NEXT REGULAR MEETING IS APRIL 2, 2018, AT 6:00 p.m.

 

01/16/2018 A Voice From the Gallery

The January 8, 2018, regular meeting of the Alcester City Council was called to order at 6:00 p.m. by Mayor Tom Glas with Council members Dan Haeder, Julia Sundstrom-Lyle, Lance Johnson, Darla Reppe and David Larsen present.  Also present was Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland.

(Prior to the opening of the Alcester City Council, I (Vickie Larsen) placed copies of my explanation of equipment purchases along with the figures, computations and loan calculator I used to come to the amount of “…Alcester City Council have spent almost $500,000.00 on equipment purchases through loans which debt service coverage obligation is from Alcester’s municipal second penny sales tax[1]…” which Alcester City Finance Officer Pat Jurrens requested for the council)

The council approved the agenda without change (Note:  Public Input was positioned as agenda item number six prior to any financing discussion, also copies of materials provided to the city council were provided with which the gallery could follow along during the meeting) and the council approved the minutes of the December 4, 2017, regular meeting, the December 21, 2017, special meeting and the December 29, 2017, special meeting without change or discussion.  It is to be noted here, that Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle upon the call for motion, asked the council if they knew of any changes to the minutes of the above mentioned meetings and receiving no additions or changes moved to approve the minutes as written.  Councilwoman Darla Reppe seconded the motion, with no further discussion the group voted unanimously to approve the minutes as written.

Agenda Item 5 was called with Councilman Lance Johnson moving to go into Executive session to conduct interviews of candidates for the Ward I vacancy.  Councilman David Larsen seconded the motion, with no discussion the group voted five unanimous yea votes to close the session to discuss and interview Ward I candidates.  Council in Executive session at 6:02 p.m. and the gallery removed to the hallway and the council room door was closed with the following remaining in closed session:  Mayor Tom Glas, Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland, Councilmen Lance Johnson, Dan Haeder, David Larsen, Councilwomen Julia Sundstrom-Lyle, Darla Reppe and Alcester City Finance Officer Pat Jurrens.

At 6:06 p.m. Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland came out of the room and at 6:08 p.m., sole Ward I candidate (Melissa*)Amanda Kay entered into Executive Session to be interviewed for the Ward I vacancy.  At 6:18 p.m. Mayor Glass declared the council out of Executive Session.

Once back in open session, Councilman Lance Johnson moved to appoint (Melissa*)Amanda Kay to the vacant Ward I seat with Councilman David Larsen seconding the motion.  With no discussion, the council voted four (4) to one (1) to accept the appointment of Amanda Kay to the vacant Ward I seat.  Councilwoman Julia Sundstromm-Lyle abstained from the vote.  Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland administered the oath office to Ms. Kay and upon administration of the oath, Alcester Ward I Councilwoman (Melissa*)Amanda Kay took her seat.

Agenda Item-Public Input was called and I responded directing the council to the figures I had provided to them before the meeting.  With no further public input the council moved down the agenda.

ALCESTER EQUIPMENT FINANCE

 

Under the 2018 Equipment Bond, the council did not yet have the physical resolution from Todd Meierhenry and upon advice from legal counsel the city council should not enact without the resolution document present, took no action.  There was a brief comment, the bond should not exceed $270K.  This resolution can be referred 20 days after publication.

Agenda Item Southeastern Plat map was called and was noted the Plat Map action needed to be in the form of a resolution.  Alcester City Councilman Dan Haeder was appointed to be the Planning Director (by Pat Jurrens)?  Finance Officer Pat Jurrens made the comment that, “…(she)chose Dan as President of Council…when Glas is not there…” Apparently Southeastern directors are selling off the Southeastern Electric Cooperative’s Managers House.  Councilman Dan Haeder moved to approve the Plat map plus/minus 1 acre, with the second coming from Councilwoman Darla Reppe, upon no discussion the council voted unanimously to approve the Plat Map.

Agenda item- Austin Schuller agreement was called.  Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland stated he had received no response from Austin’s attorney David Stewart concerning Mr. Haugland’s modifications to the contract.  Austin Schuller was present but City Attorney Haugland had ethics concerns and was reluctant to proceed without Austins legal representative present.  Austin stated he had a December 1, 2017, email in which his attorney had approved Mr. Haugland’s modifications to Austin’s academy sponsorship agreement.  Mr. Schuller forwarded his attorney’s December 1, 2047, email and upon receipt of that email the council elected to go ahead.  Alcester City Councilman David Larsen moved to approve the amended sponsorship agreement with Austin Schuller, second from Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle and with no further discussion the council voted unanimously (X6) to approve.

Agenda item-Retainer Agreement with Chuck Haugland.  Mr. Haugland of Gubbrud, Haugland and Gillespie has provided legal services to the city of Alcester for a modest retainer fee.  In the past years retainers, Mr. Haugland’s retainer fee has increased by only $5/hour with a dialed back minimum of one hour.  As recently as the October 3, 2017, regular meeting of the Alcester City Council,  Mayor Glas, Finance Officer Jurrens and Councilman Lance Johnson insisted that City Attorney Haugland was not to read or talk to me (A Voice from the Gallery or Vickie Larsen) and charge the city  “…The motion was made by Councilman Dan Haeder to approve the August legal warrant hold back of $52.50 and the September legal warrant hold back of $63.00 with no further legal time charged for reading A Voice from the Gallery blog, Second came from Councilman David Larsen.  Once again no discussion with an unanimous aye vote… ”    Mr. Haugland added a provision “…30 day notice to fire or Mr. Haugland to quit…”  Councilman Larsen moved to approve the City Attorney Haugland’s retainer agreement, Councilwoman Reppe seconded the motion to approve, with questions from Councilwoman Kay the group voted unanimously (X6) to approve Mr. Haugland’s retainer agreement.

The group also approved the Alcester Union and Hudsonite as the official newspaper and Premier Bank (formerly the State Bank of Alcester) as the official bank.

Employee updates included dump truck and chip sealing contracts.  Chip sealing contracts were discussed along with the amount of chip seal needed and the extension of the bid deadline.  The dump truck was once again discussed with comments from Councilman Lance Johnson and Mayor Glas as “…repair dump truck, no matter what!…hire and rent(Lance Johnson)…spent an awful lot of money (Mayor Glas)…with the group coming to the consensus of no action.

Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland was dismissed by Mayor Glas right on schedule at 7:05 p.m.

Police Department update.  Alcester council has approved hiring two part-time officers.  Fernando Claren of the Dunes was hired on at $14.00/hour and will need training and certification.  Anthony Garcia who is certified from Madison, SD at $15.00/hour.

Finance Office agenda item to approve warrants.  Approved as presented.    Next agenda item was coyotes.  Evidently the state folks will only trap if the coyotes are doing damage and as explained to the state, Alcester landfill coyotes have not committed damage as the state defines it.  Why do anything?  Permission was given to Nick Day who was recommended by the SD state trapper to snare in the fence line and trap at the sewage beds.  Motion was made by Councilwoman Darla Reppe, second from Councilman Dan Haeder and with no discussion the group voted 4 yea; Lance Johnson, Dan Haeder, Darla Reppe and David Larsen, 1 nay; Julia Sundstrom-Lyle and 1 abstain; (Melissa*)Amanda Kay.

Agenda Item 2018 Municipal election:  Five vacancies on the council of six:  Ward I-Julia Sundstrom-Lyle, Ward I-(Melissa*)Amanda Kay, Ward II-David Larsen, Ward III-Lance Johnson and Ward III-Darla Reppe.

March 26, 2018, voter registration.  Petitions taken out 01/26/2018 and signed returned Petitions due February 23, 2018, 15 signatures needed extra signatures advised in case of disqualifications.  April 10, 2018, election day.

Agenda item #15(e)(1) Resolution of 2018 Alcester city Fees-  Motion by Councilman Johnson, second from Councilwoman Reppe, with no discussion and vote of five (5) yeas; Johnson, Reppe, Haeder, Larsen, Sundstro-Lyle with one (1) abstain (Melissa*) Amanda Kay.

Agenda Item 2018 Salaries and Contracts-  Motion for Executive Session by Councilwoman Reppe, second from Councilman Johnson, no discussion, vote unanimous.  Council in Executive session at 7:33 p.m.  Council declared out of Executive session at 7:45 p.m.

Councilman Larsen moved to approve the Wages and Salaries, seconded by Councilman Johnson, no discussion with five (5) yea votes and one (1) abstain.  Councilman Larsen moved to go into Executive session to discuss contracts, with the second from Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle, no discussion with unanimous vote of six (6) yeas.  Council went into Executive session at 7:50 p.m. without the presence of Finance Officer Pat Jurrens, and declared out of Executive session at 8:07 p.m.  At 8:10 p.m. Alcester City Councilman David Larsen left the meeting.

Agenda item 17 HRC-Mayor Glas broached the subject of selling the Four-plex on Lee Drive (piece meal-my term not Glas’).  Mayor Glas proposed the idea of selling each separate apartment much like a condominium. No further discussion or action taken.

No community building update*

Councilman Lance Johnson made the motion to adjourn, Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle seconded the motion, no discussion and approved with five yea votes.  Meeting adjourn approximately 8:23 p.m.

 

Note  A couple of days after the January 8, 2018, meeting I was told of a meeting which took place on Tuesday, January 9, 2018, in which one attendee was Alcester Finance Officer Pat Jurrens in which there was an alleged discussion and an alleged approval of building a new Golf  Club House based upon a donation.  On Thursday, January 11, 2018, I visited with Finance Officer Jurrens questioning the alleged meeting upon which I was told that, “…there was no city council meeting but a planning meeting…”  H-m-m!

* I erred in reporting the name of the Ward I candidate and ultimately seated council member.  The newly seated Alcester City Councilwoman from Ward I is Melissa Kay not Amanda Kay as I indicated in this piece.  My apologies to Councilwoman Kay and to my readers.

[1] Vickie Larsen Complaint to Office of Legislative Audit, December 19, 2017, p 7.

12/30/2017 A Voice From the Gallery

12/30/2017 A Voice From the Gallery-Part I

       Mayor Glas opened the December 21, 2017, special city council meeting with Alcester council members David Larsen, Lance Johnson, Julia Sundstrom-Lyle, Dan Haeder with the recitation of the pledge of allegiance at 5:00 p.m.  Councilwoman Darla Reppe arrived late due to confusion with the time of meeting start.

Prior to the meeting Vickie Larsen placed abridged copies of her Complaint to the Office of Legislative Audit at the seats of Mayor Glas, Councilman David Larsen, Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle, Councilman Dan Haeder, Councilwoman Darla Reppe and Councilman Lance Johnson*  Since Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland was not present, a full copy was delivered to his office on December 22, 2017.

Councilman Lance Johnson moved to approve the agenda as presented with Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle seconding the motion.  Councilman David Larsen having read the Complaint to the Office of Legislative Audit, began discussion with a request to add public input between agenda items #3 Agenda approval and #4 Equipment Bond because the council was proposing another large expenditure of money on equipment.  After a bit more discussion, Councilman Larsen moved to amend the Agenda with the addition of Public Input between Agenda Approval and Equipment purchase agenda items, Councilman Dan Haeder seconded the motion to amend and with no further discussion Council members, David Larsen, Dan Haeder, Julia Sundstrom-Lyle and Lance Johnson voted unanimously to amend the agenda and agenda placement.  The council went on to approve the agenda with the amendment attached with a unanimous vote of the quorum of four.

Public input was called and I responded to questions whether the Office of Legislative Audit had any authority of the Alcester City.  I replied yes, the Office of Legislative Audit did have authority.  I explained I visited with Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland prior to December 4, 2017, meeting to express my concerns after which discussion we agreed to disagree.  I then knew my options.  In the December 4, 2017, meeting I pointed out my belief the city had violated the restriction placed upon the second penny sales tax.  Mayor Glas and Finance Officer Pat Jurrens disagreed and were prepared to go forward obligating second penny sales tax income on yet more equipment.  So my course of action was already plotted as evidenced by my complaint.  I explained if they persisted in spending the second penny sales tax on equipment in defiance of the ordinance restriction and were found in error, the city would have to replace all moneys spent in violation and would have to come out of the general fund or the first penny sales tax.  The council conceded they should re-think the excessive (my term not theirs) equipment spending.

Agenda item-Equipment purchase was called.  Discussion was lively and the
most real discussion I have seen to date. The council began dissecting Mayor
Glas’s and Finance Officer Jurren’s plan for adding more financial stress to the
residents of the city. The council looked at delaying the pick-up truck purchase for
a year, they questioned the use for the dump truck and looked at other methods
they could implement to get the dump truck work done. By this time
Councilwoman Darla Reppe had arrived and she mentioned she had been
approached about the equipment spending specifically the ‘fancy’ police truck.
Councilman David Larsen asked the question, “…would the employees be upset
with delaying equipment purchases…” to which Councilman Lance Johnson
opined, “…we’ve spent a fortune for employees in the past year…” Not the most politic public comment I’ve heard in a while, usually Councilman Lance reserved those genre of comments for Alcester law enforcement. No action was taken regarding equipment Purchase.

Executive session was called for:  Community Center SDCL 1-25-2-4 to
discuss contracts. Imagine that, ’cause for numerous months when the
community building agenda item was called there was always No update! In
addition Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland was not present to take part in the
‘contract’ discussion. So who was going to offer a legal opinion, Finance Officer
Jurrens, the bookkeeper or Mayor Glas, concrete extraordinaire? So what
contracts, with whom, how much is it going to cost the taxpayers of Alcester and
will ‘we the people’ have some sort of say or will we be left to silently suffer some type of
Jumanji edifice gracing our community? I mean we already have a pseudo city
administrator avatar that looks just like the city Finance Officer. No action taken
in open session.

Property management-Oh my goodness Mayor Glas is on a tear. “…the city needs to clean up…we do not have enough enforcement!…Our code officer is not getting the job done, why I hear…” and “…we need bigger fines…”we need volunteers to help the elderly-disabled clean up…”. In my opinion Mr. Mayor, clean up the city offices, get rid of the clutter passing for ‘decor’.  The city office is where we conduct business and needs to look professional NOT give one the impression he has just dropped through the Pinterest Rabbit Hole just as he passes through the city office doors! So Mr. Mayor clean up your own office doorstep before ya’ll start writin’ tickets on the rest of us! Oh and
contrary to finance office gossip, main street businesses are NOT exempt from
Property Maintenance regulations.

I am happy to announce the city will be contacting the South Dakota State
Trapper to take care of the coyote infestation rather than let some citizen Wyatt
Earp wanna-be doin’ target practice at the Alcester City land-fill. W-a-a-hoo!

Now we have arrived at the whole purpose of the meeting, uh-m-m, yeah,
right. At the conclusion of each fiscal year, the city must rob Peter to pay Paul so-to-speak. Finance Officer Jurrens must ‘borrow’ moneys from accounts that STILL contain money to prop up the over-drawn accounts.**  This is called a Supplemental Appropriation Ordinance and not to be confused with a Resolution. You see a Resolution takes one reading with publication while an Ordinance takes TWO readings with publication. Now the importance of this, is Finance Officer Jurrens who admitted she did not understand the difference between an Ordinance and a Resolution took a short cut by scheduling only ONE reading. The importance, is the city HAD to schedule a third December meeting to do the Ordinance correctly. Now the city council agreed to forego payment for this corrective meeting, however the council should not have to eat the cost and inconvenience of this third meeting had Finance Officer Jurrens just sought the advice of the City Attorney instead of relying on her own legal ‘expertise’.  The Council voted on the first reading of the Supplemental Appropriation Ordinance and scheduled a meeting on December 29, 2017, at 7:00 a.m. to fulfill the required TWO readings.

Due to lack of dual control and risk management issues, our local audit accountant recommended monthly spot checks of the city books as a risk management tool.  The council has chosen to take turns doing monthly spot checks.  As encouragement to the
council, good ol’ Mayor Glas says, “…I have done this and it is very easy to do…”
This is sadly amusing in that during the discussion on coyote trapping, Mayor
Glas ask three times in the course of about five (5) minutes how much the bounty
on coyotes was and each time the answer was $20 a head. Dear sweet aunt Tillie
it is like having Mr. Magoo check out the fine-print on a $100K contract!

Last item on the agenda was 2018 contracts SDCL 1-25-2-(4) which is
Preparing for contract negotiations or negotiating with employees or employee
representatives. The council voted to go into executive session presumably to
discuss contract negotiations. This is interesting since the city attorney was not
present and the only NON-Council member in executive session with the council
members was Finance Officer Pat Jurrens who does not operate under a contract,
and while she has on occasion attempted to tell the City Attorney what legal advice
he should be handing out, she is NOT a lawyer. The council spent from 6:18 p.m.
to 6:53 p.m. discussing ‘contracts’.

Meeting adjourned at 6:54 p.m.

* See part II for abridged text
** Contact Alcester City office for the text of the 2017 Supplement Appropriation Ordinance

12/06/2017 A Voice From the Gallery

The December 4, 2017,  regular Alcester City Council meeting was called to order by Mayor Tom Glas with council members Audri Carlson, Julia Sundstrom-Lyle, Darla Reppe, Dan Haeder, David Larsen and  Lance Johnson and gallery reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Councilwoman Darla Reppe moved to accept the agenda without change, Councilman David Larsen seconded the motion, and with no discussion the group accepted the agenda with a unanimous yea vote.  It is interesting to note here that the council members approved Mayor Tom Glas’ agenda with public input in the number seven (7) spot which denied any citizen of Alcester from voicing their opinion on any issues prior to public input much less the purchase of  a 2018 pickup at $27,518.00 and a dump truck at $47,500.00 with their tax dollars.

Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle moved to approve, without changes, the minutes from the November 6th and the November 13th Alcester City Council meetings, Councilman Lance Johnson seconded the motion and with no discussion the group voted unanimously to approve the minutes.

Next on the agenda involved legal updates which dealt with the Austin Schuller academy agreement language, letter to consent to annex, voluntary annexation for the city shed property which included a resolution to annex by mayoral filing of written annexation and a resolution to change Alcester Corporation limits to reflect the annexations with both resolutions passing unanimous and a resolution to change the numbering of the indecency and nudity Ordinance.  Explanation was to change the number of Ordinance 7.0508.1 effective date of 12/14/2005  and Ordinance 7.0508.2 effective date of 12/14/2005 to 5.0105A and 5.0105B respectively to bring back the more restrictive language in those 2005 ordinances to the present code.  Interesting, very interesting.

Agenda Item 6 – City Employee Updates, sub A, sub II a) and sub II b) which dealt with 2018 Pick-up purchase at $27,518.00 and Dump Truck purchase at $47,500.00.  Prior to the beginning of the meeting I had passed out to the Council copies of the 2005 Ordinance which established the 2nd penny sales tax restricting all proceeds of the second penny sales tax to Capital Improvement with an accompanying definition of capital improvements and fixed equipment.

As the council began discussion on the purchase of the pick-up and dump truck, Councilman Lance Johnson and Mayor Glas stated the city needed to stop the excessive spending, the city could not afford the pattern of spending they had embarked upon.  Both gentlemen opined the very same sentiment,

“…put a stop to spending and  borrowing…”

in the November 13, 2017, council meeting, yet they did not vote against the spending or veto it.  This time they slowed down to do more research on the  questionable use of the 2nd penny sales tax on this equipment before they would vote on the issues.  The issue is scheduled to be addressed in the December 21, 2017, meeting at 5:00 p.m.

Folks,  the council has the choice of ignoring the ordinance restriction or they can take a chance and bull-doze ahead with spending another $80K+/- of taxpayer money that was earmarked by ordinance for a community building and other capital improvements such as street repair and rebuild.  I am sure west-side Alcester property owners would appreciate new streets and utilities upgrades on their side of town, not to mention the appreciation in their property values.

I asked for time to explain my position at this point, to explain why the city did not have the ability to use the second penny sales tax for equipment purchases.  May Glas told me, NO, I had to wait for public input”!  I persisted in ‘gaining the floor’ for participation in the discussion on the ordinance violation on the basis public input was AFTER the vote.  Again Mayor Glas told me, NO, they were discussing City Business!”, to which I responded, I WAS TALKING about city business”.  Mayor Glas again told me, “NO”!

Agenda Item 6, sub A, III was Street Department Lonnie Johnson’s proposed chip seal schedule 2018-2023.  This was an effort to get back on track for the well-being of our streets.  During the Rick Johnson and so far into the Tom Glas administration, regular street maintenance was literally abandoned.  Mayor Glas stated,

“I don’t see the need for chip sealing because most of the gravel washes away and into the gutters and drains…it is just a waste of $10K…”

Next up on Agenda Item 6 Finance Office was sub E, I, a) A CBDG loan to Home Away from Home for $10K at 2% for 7 years.  This loan had been approved November 5, 2015, and wasn’t dispersed until November 1, 2017.  The city has been managing the CDBG fund as ‘incentives’ for new start-up business, business expansion and businesses coming into town.  The key term here is incentive.  Financing of the full amount had to be secured through a lending institution and the CDBG loan from the city was to be a single point percentage as an enticement.  I questioned this amount, but I knew I would have to wait for public input.

Still under Agenda Item 6 Finance was the appointment of a Library Board Member to replace retiring Library Board member Mrs. Connie Larsen.  The Library Board is made up of three members from the city and three members from the school system.

Agenda Item 6-Finance Office was the Ward I Vacancy.  Alcester City Councilwoman Audri Carlson resigned her council position in Alcester City Ward I effective upon adjournment of the December 4, 2017, meeting.  Councilwoman Carlson explained due to changing circumstances, her personal responsibilities and commitments needed to take precedence in her life at this time.

Executive session was called to discuss contracts SDCL 1-25-2-4,  Councilman Dan Haeder moved to go into executive session (closed) to discuss contracts, with the motion second coming from Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle and with no discussion the council voted unanimously to close the meeting to the public at 7:08 p.m.  The council re-opened the meeting at 7:33 p.m. with no action taken in the public forum.

The date for the Special meeting in December was set for December 21, 2017, at 5:00 p.m. to discuss budget appropriation and to address no action items from the December 4, 2017, meeting.  Motion to set the date came from Councilman Dan Haeder, Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom seconded the motion and with no discussion the group voted unanimously on the 12/21/2017 meeting date.  The date for the January 2018 meeting was set for January 8, 2018, at 6:00 p.m. with a motion from Councilman Lance Johnson, a motion second came from Councilwoman Darla Reppe and with no discussion the council voted unanimously to set the January regular meeting date at January 8, 2018, at 6:00 p.m.

Agenda Item 7-Public Input was finally called.  I responded with an explanation of the 2005 Ordinance restricting the 2nd penny sales tax to only capital improvements and its effect on the council’s decision to spend money based upon the second penny sales for equipment.  The effect this would have is all moneys to be spent on the Street Sweeper, the Skid Loader, the 2018 pick-up truck and the Dump Truck that were to be taken from the 2nd penny sales tax would instead have to come out of the general fund or the first penny sales tax which would have a profound effect Alcester’s bank account.  FO Pat voiced her opinion that according to the city accountants , the city could used the second penny sales tax for equipment, further explaining the definition of Capital Improvement to which I disagreed.  It would be easiest of the city rethinks their position on the violation of  the 2nd penny restriction but if not,

“we the people can take it into our own hands”

I asked my question about the CDBG loan.  When the CDBG Loan program was set up it was to act as an incentive and the applicant had to have funding at a financial institution.  IF the city financed a majority of the funds on a particular project with a financial institution hold the FIRST lien against the collateral, the city comes in at a POOR second to the primary lien holder.  Kind-of-like when the city gave the Deems a CDBG loan for liquor and using the liquor as collateral.  Now that was a super-nova idea, let’s use a liquid collateral with no recourse to recover funds loaned!

Still no gallery packet for the folks to follow along and for which ordinance provides.  Why are ya draggin’ your heels Mayor Glas?

My last item was the courtesy copy of a letter addressed to Jerry Miller, Union County Attorney which I received from a fellow citizen who wished to remain anonymous.  I told the council usually when I get a letter addressed in the manner this letter was addressed, someone was well and truly irritated with me.  I explained, not so with this letter, the author of this letter was irritated with them.  I read them an excerpt from the letter,

                   “…I also would like to point out that the City Council has decided to change the way they do business by barring the public from the discussion on all matters which they already voted on till the last item on the agenda, in other words.  They talk about the agenda item, like raising fees for streets or raising the water rates, then they vote and move on to the next item on the agenda, after all that is done they open the meeting for public comment and then adjourn.  I believed we live in a Democracy and not a dictatorship.

          I would include my name, however the City Council has and will retaliate against me or any complainant by send threats to people over such things as sidewalks, or curbs or grass notices with threats of arrests or citation…Sincerely… A very concern resident of the dictatorship of the City of Alcester SD”

 I told the council I was not yet able to confirm with Mr. Miller that he had received this letter.  Alcester Finance Officer Pat Jurrens spoke up and confirmed that Union County State’s Attorney Jerry Miller had indeed received the letter but they were unable to answer it because it was anonymous and they did not know how to get in touch with the complainant.  Sir Complainant your letter has been received and I am here to acknowledge the veracity of your statement concerning retaliation by my own experience.  Mayor Glas diligently has and still flatly refuses me agenda item access to discuss any city business issues.  Folks this is not the first person to contact me about how citizens are treated or mis-treated by the Mayor or city personnel from window-peeping to relegating input to the last items of the night and effectively operating a closed meeting.

WINDOW PEEPER DOG LICENSE.jpgDuring Public Input Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom -Lyle shared a concern about unleashed pets at large, Councilman David Larsen complimented the City Christmas decorations.

Agenda Item 8- HRC  It was shared that two members of the HRC were concerned about the HRC signage size and visibility on Hwy 46.  H-m-m is there an echo here.  Didn’t I bring that up several meetings ago and was roundly put down?  Folks, size does matter when one is traveling at 65 mph!

Agenda Item Adjournment-  Councilman Lance Johnson moved to adjourn, with the second coming from Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle, with no discussion the council voted unanimously to adjourn.

Folks call or contact Mayor Glas, Tell him we want Our Voice, No More Closed Meetings and No More Spending!  Listen to us,  “We the People”!

 

09/22/2017 A Voice from the Gallery

The Special meeting of the Alcester City Council was convened on September 20, 2017, at 6:00 p.m.

This meeting came out of the necessity to enact an amendment to an existing Ordinance which reflected the text of the state Ordinance 7.0402 concerning flashing lights.  This issue came to light when the semantics of the state ordinance and practices of the city of Alcester were contrary to each other.  The city has the ability to enact more restrictive ordinance but it cannot loosen restrictions.  In this case Alcester law enforcement wanted to extend parameters of the flashing school speed zone signs to include more school activities after the regular hours of school and to actively enforce school zone speeds.  The Alcester Ordinance 7.0402 B1 was put into code to accommodate that restrictive speed limit.

Next up was the resolution 2017-09 to further burden the PROPERTY OWNING residents of Alcester with a $1.00/ front footage of their property, properties whose front doors faced the street.  Note all properties on SD Highway 11 with their frontage facing HWY 11 were excluded from this fee because their front doors face a state highway and not a city street.  Those pie-shaped properties whose front doors face the small end of the pie-shape enjoy a sort-of-discount such as the Finance Officer Jurrens (author and promoter of the street maintenance TAX) whose new digs on Hyden drive measure well to her advantage, I invite Alcester property owners to measure your front footage and measure her front footage on Hyden, plug in the $1.00/foot tax and compare the two tax amounts. WHY cannot the Finance officer and Mayor Glas, whose duties include city budget creation, budget enough money to adequately cover street maintenance?   Where is the money going?  It seems Finance Officer Jurrens is over ambitious in spending tax money on non-refundable fees for surveyors and engineers for pie-in-the-sky wish list items.  Former Councilwoman Jurrens berated our former finance officer for his conservative spending and budgets, voted to fire him, resigned her seat on the council and applied for his job ’cause apparently she felt she could do better and here she is spending money like she has a fancy new money printer in the Finance office, STILL taking part in council discussions that do not pertain to finance office activities and sitting in on executive sessions concerning ‘personnel’.  Now Folks, there are no minutes taken in Executive session so she doesn’t even have the excuse she must take notes.  If notes need to be taken for a specific record of an Executive session, either the city attorney can take the notes or the president of the council can take the notes.

Next on the list is Mayor Glas’ insistence the property taxpayers of Alcester pay for the legal work on a developers agreement between the Alcester Industrial Board and the Developer.  Mayor Tom and Finance Officer Jurrens are woefully ignorant of the limits of their jobs.  The Alcester Industrial Park Board is a stand-alone entity independent from the city of Alcester and who apparently contracted with the developer.  Alcester Industrial Park Board (NS010806) is a domestic Nonprofit, made up of:

This Nonprofit does NOT have the authority to contract debt or financial obligation on behalf of the citizens of Alcester.  Mayor Glas, Finance Officer Pat Jurrens do NOT have the authority to contract debt or financial obligation on behalf of the citizens of Alcester without vote.  While the city of Alcester has annexed the North Industrial Park into the corporate city limits of Alcester, the city of Alcester DOES NOT OWN the property known as North Industrial.  Neither Mayor Glas nor Alcester Finance Officer Pat Jurrens have the authority to compel Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland to craft legal documents NOR does the Alcester City Council have the authority to pay property tax dollars out for legal service obligations of Alcester Industrial Park nor the Developer of the tract of land owned by Alcester Industrial Park.

Agenda Item Water Rate Increase reaches deep into the collective pockets of Alcester residents with rise in rates from $16.00/minimum 0 gallons used to $17.00/minimum 0 gallons used and going from $5.45 per 1000 gallons used to $6.35 per thousand gallons used or fraction of 1000 gallons used.  So in addition to the street maintenance fee of $1.00 per frontage foot, city taxpayers can add the rise in water rates along with the capital outlay for a brand-spanking new street sweeper at $200K, financed OF COURSE!

So let’s put this in terms of family grocery bag count, how many bags of family groceries from a weekly purchase of four to five grocery bags are going to be taken away to satisfy Mayor Glas’ and his Finance Office’s inability to budget properly to pay for street maintenance, water rate hikes and a street sweeper and whatever else comes along that trips their trigger?

 

Mayor Glas, the budget is your baby, OWN IT!