09/03/2019 A Voice From the Gallery

In the spirit of Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? and Where is Waldo ? Alcester has come up with a new game played by FO Patricia and Alcester Councilman Lance Johnson.  It is called, wait for it,  Where is Councilman Lance Johnson’s building permit?

Check out the pics below.  Where is Lancie’s License to build? Can you find the building permit?  Good Luck.  I was there in person today and I could not see the city building permit and I asked the workman.  I asked, “where is the building permit?”  Workman said, “it is probably in the mayor’s pocket.  I said, “Mayor?”  Workman said, “Yeah, the one who lives over there indicating 517 Anderson Street.” I said, “he is not the mayor, he is just a councilman.” Imagine that!LANCE JOHNSON 09-03-2019-III.JPGLANCE JOHNSON 09-03-2019-II.JPGLANCE JOHNSON 09-03-2019-I.JPG

Did you know no permit, no dig?  Permit is supposed to be posted and there is something about conditional use, too.  That did not happen.  Did FO Pat over-extend her job description again?  By-the-way are the side yard set-back boundaries per code, the back set-back or the front set back correction?

Now to be fair, (it really bites in this case) the funeral home has the same problem.  Where is the permit?

FUNERAL HOME 09-03-2019-V.JPG

FUNERAL HOME 09-03-2019-IV.JPGFUNERAL HOME 09-03-2019-III.JPGFUNERAL HOME 09-03-2019-II.JPGFUNERAL HOME-09-03-2019-I.JPG

Can you see the building permit?  Folks this is right across from FO Pat’s Peek-a-Boo Office Window.  Again, where is the building permit.  FO Pat made a big deal over a businessman adding a concrete pad without a building permit.  So FO Pat and Mayor Glas, Where is the permit?  Got-to-be-posted, right?  Or are those rules just for the rest of us?  H-m-m-m?

NEWS FLASH!

UPDATE

Prior to the September 4, 2019, meeting FO Pat told me the funeral home has a building permit posted. 

Yeah, where?  Well folks the building permit for the funeral home is located in the east window of the Quam-Berglin Building ’cause there was no wall to attach the permit to.  REALLY, REALLY  Give ol’ FO Pat a cane ’cause that excuse is so lame even Mayor Magoo could see through it. I told Pat the permit should be on the premises and maybe a simple wood stake would take care of the lack of a wall.  Geez Louise, give that woman a crystal ball with instructions how to use it and she would ask, ” how do I see through my hands?”  Good Gravy and FO PAT is still looking for Carmen and Waldo!

 

 

05/22/2018 A Voice From The Gallery

The May 21, 2018, special meeting to the Alcester City council was half-Glas’d called to order at 6:00 p.m. with the following council members present:  Councilman David Larsen, Councilman Dan Haeder, Councilwoman Darla Reppe, Councilwoman Melissa Kay and Councilman Lance Johnson (got the beans out and deigned us with his presence).  No lawyer present.

Prior to this meeting I distributed copies of the minutes of the May 7, 2018, meeting so the council could see Finance Officer Jurren’s published liberty with the truth of the May 7, 2018, regular meeting of the Alcester City Council meeting and the closure and bar of applicants for the Ward I vacancy, knowing that I would be barred from speaking and pointing out her abysmal failure to record and report the actions of the council.  I also hand-served a FOIA (freedom of information request) on Mayor Glas via the Alcester Finance Officer Jurrens on May 18, 2018, requesting a true and complete copy of the May 7th minutes, a true and complete copy of the 2018 Lease and Operating Agreement between the City and Deem Enterprises, a line item accounting of all expenses attributed to the city asset described as the Alcester Bar for the years 2014 through 2018 and a line item accounting of all income attributable from the Lease and Operating agreement between the City of Alcester and Deem Enterprises for the years 2014 through 2018 (as explained in an amendment to the FOIA).

The purpose of the ‘special meeting’ was to interview candidates for police officer position.   The meeting opened with the pledge, then straight into approval of the Agenda. 

Agenda Item #5 – Alcester Bar.  Madam Woolworth still didn’t have any stools.  Councilman Dan Haeder had done some swivel stool research and found just replacing the ‘swivelly’ part wouldn’t work ’cause the screws wouldn’t match up with Madam’s bottoms.  S-o-o-o the council decided to purchase two-part stools at $138.14 per patron butt times twelve (12) for a ‘bottom-line’ price of $1657.68 for twelve disassembled stools which would have a weight limit of 250 pounds each.  Councilman Haeder stated they (to which Lance Johnson immediately volunteered) would have to assemble the ‘swivelly’ super-structures to the ‘base’ units.

Agenda Item#6 – Public Hearing for the Alcester Quickstop Malt Beverage License.  Evidently a recent change in law created some additional work to issue license now.

Agenda Items #7 – Personnel.  I am pleased to impart the information Alcester Finance Office Pat Jurrens and Mayor Glas were advised that FO Pat’s rendition of the minutes was not factual and needed to be corrected!  Folks the original published minutes were not just incorrect but appeared to be surreptitiously corrected without notice to the council and its approval.  These minutes are unapproved, yet Mayor Glas and Finance Officer patently refuse to publish them as unapproved as I have repeatedly suggested in public input.  The county correctly publish their minutes as unapproved as well as the Alcester-Hudson School district correctly publish their minutes unapproved when the minutes are published before the meeting in which they are formally approved by the board, so why are Mayor Glas and FO Pat refusing to give true, complete and reliable, transparent information to the people of Alcester?

Agenda Item #8 – Police Department.  And now the police interviews.  With the exception of the interview of a female applicant in which the public safety committee (Councilman Dan Haeder, Councilwoman Melissa Kay and Councilman Lance Johnson) decided to interview without Alcester Police Chief Chris Doty.  By-the-way was this the female applicant who was related to a council member as I hear by-the-grape-vine)? The absence of the Police Chief in this quasi police interview is amazing because these council members have (as is my understanding) absolutely no experience in police procedures and training unless one counts being arrested a couple of times).  Candidates for the evening’s interviews were Austin Pickering, Austin Van Horn and Austin Schuller. 

Councilman Lance Johnson moved to go into executive session to discussion personnel, Councilwoman Melissa Kay seconded the motion and with no further discussion and a unanimous aye times five vote council moved into executive session at 6:14 p.m.  However, after shutting down, removing my camera but prior to leaving the council room I saw that Finance Officer Pat Jurrens was making NO move to leave the council room.  WRONG!  I promptly stated, “…It is not proper for the city bookkeeper to remain in executive session to interview police candidates.  FO Pat is NOT the seventh council person, personnel interviews have absolutely no context with the city finance office and Finance Officer Pat Jurrens has absolutely NO relevant input, right to vote nor sway council opinions on police candidates. NONE!  I watched  as Pat looked toward Mayor Glas, Councilman David Larsen stated, “…I see no reason for Pat to stay…she can leave…”  Again Pat stood looking at Mayor Glas and then to Councilman Lance Johnson.  I exited the room, expecting to have Mayor Glas ask for my arrest if I did not.  I had already had the council ask a police officer in a past executive session to be ready to arrest me, if I dared (my word) protest.  So Pat stayed where she did not belong and we trouped out into the hallway.

So while Police Chief Doty, Mayor Glas, Councilman Larsen, Councilman Haeder, Councilman Johnson, Councilwoman Reppe, Councilwoman Kay and bookkeeper Jurrens remained in the council room with the door shut, it was the three Austins and me in the hallway.  I told them Finance Officer Pat Jurrens did not have the right or authority to ask them any questions when they were interviewing in closed session and they did not have to answer any of her questions or comment.  It was purely up to them whether to ignore her interference or answer her, it was not however a requirement of interview.  We idly visited about training and procedures.   Austin Pickering was the first candidate to go into interview, at 6:50 p.m. Austin Pickering came out and Austin Schuller went into interview, at 7:40 p.m. Austin Schuller came out and Austin VanHorn went into interview and exited his interview at 8:05 p.m.  With all candidates out of executive session the Mayor, the Council, Police Chief Doty and bookkeeper Jurrens remained in Executive session until 8:29 p.m.

Agenda Item #8 (f) – -Police Chief Doty’s Resignation.  Police Chief Chris Doty officially tendered his resignation as of June 5, 2018.  The council accepted his resignation unanimously.

Agenda Item #9 – Banking.  Pat wants to transfer $30K from the second (2nd) penny sales tax to the Community Building Fund Account.  Needed a council vote to transfer the money.  Now folks we have several accounts accessible to the finance office which begs the question, WHY?  Too many accounts and lamentably half-Glas’d, poor oversight or duplication duties of oversight results in questionable accounting problems and ‘shortages’.

Agenda Item #10 – Council Vacancy.  The Mayor at the urging of Bookkeeper Pat to appoint Ms. Talbott to the Ward I vacancy.  This effectively shut down anyone who had not been hand-picked by bookkeeper Jurrens from applying for the vacancy and interview.  There was no formal interview of Ms. Talbott, although Councilman Lance Johnson stated he had visited with her privately and gave his tacit approval.  WOW!  So the council dispensed with formal interview ’cause Councilman Bean Talker says he approves.  Alcester Finance Officer Pat Jurrens when asked about the vacancy stated, (00:19:23) “…Ward I is hard to find people to seat…’cause they are old…or they are renters…”  Really, tell me  Councilman Dan Haeder was a renter, so he is not suitable as a councilman because he was a renter according to your statement?  So how old is Mayor Glas, 77 years old?  So FO Pat is 77 years too old, too infirm or too incognizant to be a credible Mayor?  Really!

Agenda Item #11 – Executive Session.  Called by Pat (00:20:31) for Personnel at 8:38 p.m. Really the bookkeeper calling for Personnel Executive Session?  Remaining in the council room were Mayor Glas, Councilman Larsen, Councilman Haeder, Councilwoman Reppe, Councilwoman Kay, Bookkeeper Pat Jurrens and Councilman Johnson.  I was relegated to the Hallway where I took up my usual post by the half-door of the Finance Office.  So what in the world of personnel could they have yet to talk about, the Police interviews had already taken place, the misinformation regarding the pool employee had been corrected, so what else?  It couldn’t be police department performance ’cause the council just hired personnel and Councilman Lance Johnson and Councilman Dan Haeder had already discussed the previous police officer, his finances and possible legal actions against him in OPEN SESSION and the council hasn’t had time to advertise for a Police Chief, although courtesy advertising a vacancy doesn’t seem to be a ‘high priority’ for Mayor Glas and FO Pat.  Maybe they will down size and put FO Pat in charge of the Police Department, TOO.  That way she can schedule police officers patrol times.  Yup I can see this move,”…Whereas, the former software peddler who applied for the Finance Office vacancy caused in part by her council vote to sack the 30+ year finance office veteran, and with absolutely no training, background or expertise was awarded a starting $40+K salary with the expectation the outgoing finance officer would ‘train’ her at his exit wage of $38K+/-.  Now in addition to her ‘expertise’ in police scheduling, I’ll bet she will want to control law enforcement performance, dictating who should be arrested and who shouldn’t?  Similar to the Code Enforcement sorties where I have been told involved a golf cart cruising town, eye-ball judging tree hang-over and issuing ticketing letters.  So what does Code Enforcement Officer Fillingsness do besides provide a form with his signature which the ill-trained golf-cart cadre fill out?  Two ordinance complaints I know of have been filed, yet there is no discussion, no disposition or no courtesy acknowledgement of the complaint.  Amazing!   The council was called out of Executive session at 9:02 p.m. and before I could get completely into position, Councilman Lance Johnson called for adjournment and council was immediately adjourned around 9:05 p.m.

 Ladies and Gentlemen of Alcester, the Alcester Ship of State is being  dragged down by a cadre of milfoil-style barnacles.    

 

 

 

05/18/2018 A Voice From the Gallery

HEADS-UP!

Upcoming meeting!  May 21, 2018  6:00 p.m.!

WARD I VACANCY  YOU CAN STILL SIGN ON!

05-21-2018 AGENDA

05-21-2018 AGENDA II

May 7, 2018, published Minutes

05-07-2018 COUNCIL MINUTES EXCERP

*************************************************************************************

Still discussing Madam’s stools. 

Lifeguards-Interesting how the video states Finance Officer Jurrens advising Councilman David Larsen the minimum wage was $8.81 per hour and Councilman Larsen made the motion of minimum wage at $8.81 per hour for Abby Walth.  Yet the minutes published in the May 17, 2018, issue of the official city newspaper, the Alcester Union-Hudsonite listed the minimum wage as $8.85 per hour.  The council moved, seconded and voted unanimously on the amount of minimum wage as proclaimed by Alcester Finance Officer Pat Jurrens.  The council relied on her ‘expertise’, Oops!  Now the May 17, 2018, minutes need to be amended to reflect the actual action, then correct Finance Officer Jurrens gaff, and re-publish.  The first publication cost taxpayers $112.48, so what is the additional cost to fix the error?  People want to know what is going on.     

Now this is one goat-rodeo where the goat got loose!  I have a problem when the minutes do not reflect the action, presto-change-o the error magically corrects itself upon publication.  Check out the video in the May 7, 2018, meeting (02:23:27).  H-m-m video and audio trumps the published minutes and this time ya cain’t blame the publisher.

Still working on the minutes, please note below where the published minutes announced, “… Lance Johnson was not in attendance to take his Oath and the Vacant Ward I seat will be filled at the June meeting…”  Yup that is what they say.  Take a gander at the Agenda for May 21, 2018, Agenda Item #10 (a) Mayor Glas to appoint Linda Talbott to Ward I Vacancy.  Now what do ya s’pose happened?  Mayor Glas and FO Pat did not do the residents the courtesy of advising them about the Ward I Vacancy,  Mayor Glas and FO Pat set up the oath for Ward I and cancelled it without explanation (?), Mayor Glas and FO Pat set up what appears to be a hand-picked appointment for Ward I in the June meeting of the Alcester City Council with the full knowledge they were going to have a special meeting in May for ‘police officer candidate’ interviews (May 7, 2018, Agenda Item #10(f)(2)) A-N-D then Mayor Glas and FO Pat include Agenda item #10 on the May 21, 2018, agenda successfully preventing any interested resident from Ward I from interviewing for the Ward I Vacancy no matter what powers of precognition ‘they’ profess to have.  Mayor Glas and FO Pat must be cold, ’cause they sure appear to be a coverin’ up right nice!  Half-Glas’d is still appears to be the modus operandi.  So much for open meeting and keeping the public accurately informed.

One more thing concerning the minimum wage thingy.  I once worked for a guy who whenever the minimum wage increased, new hires got minimum wage.  However the faithful, loyal, long-term employees did not get the same increase, so in essence the experienced, higher seniority employees were making less than new hires!  What do ya s’pose our city does?

 

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)

 

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”!

 

11/16/2017 A Voice from the Gallery

Mayor Glas opened the November 13, 2017, special meeting of the Alcester City Council at 5:00 p.m. with the pledge of allegiance with the following council present:  Mayor Glas, Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle, Councilwoman Audri Carlson, Councilman David Larsen, Councilman Dan Haeder, Councilwoman Darla Reppe and Councilman Lance Johnson with Alcester City employee Lonnie Johnson and city resident correspondent Vickie Larsen present.

This issue was to have been addressed in the November 6, 2017, meeting but as I understand, the figures were not ready from the finance office and Butler had a time limit on the sales offer of Wednesday, November 15, 2017, so the citizens of Alcester get to pay for a special meeting.

Agenda item #3 approve agenda.  The November 13, 2017, agenda was approved without discussion and unanimously.

Agenda Item #4 2018 Bond .  Council members began discussion on a 2018 equipment bond  and the accompanying spreadsheet* provided by Alcester City Finance officer Jurrens. As you can see Mayor Glas’ and Alcester Finance Officer Jurrens wish list tends to be spendy.  Check out the numbers for yourselves, the following spread sheet shows the figures FO Pat handed out to the council.  During this discussion, Finance Officer Jurrens told the council the bond payment would come from and through the second penny sales tax.

*   Spreadsheet Alcester 2018 bond comparison  Folks, the second penny of municipal sales tax was restricted to capital improvement only.  The 2005-2006 city council wanted to restrict this penny of sales tax to initially pay for a new city community building and that council did not want the proceeds to go for equipment.**2nd PENNY SALES TAX ORDINANCEPlease note the last sentence in Section 2, “…The second one percent (1%) shall be earmarked, set aside, and restricted to the funding of Capital Improvements within and for the City of Alcester, Union County, South Dakota…”

 This restriction bars the use of the second penny sales tax for any equipment.  Per definition of Capital Improvement where capital improvement is defined as non-recurring expenditure for acquisition of existing buildings, land or interest in land…construction of streets, highways, utility lines…acquisition of fixed equipment (which are assets which are usually attached to and important to the building’s function)

           Agenda item #5 As the council considered the question of equipment purchase Councilman Lance Johnson stated,

“…put a stop to spending and borrowing!…”

which was echoed by Mayor Glas and Councilman David Larsen.

Finance Officer Pat Jurrens continued to press her agenda by announced two loans involving the second penny sales tax would be paid off in 2019 freeing up $23K to $25K of second penny obligation.  She announced the bond payment would be paid out in two semi-annual payments for ten years at an interest rate of 4.5% to the Premier Bank proposed purchaser of the bond and out of the second penny sales tax.

Councilman Lance Johnson opined,

“wait on purchase of other (wish list) items until 2nd penny obligations paid…” 

With ALL that said, Councilman Lance Johnson STILL moved to proceed with the purchase of the Butler 2015 CAT 242D at $39,900.00 using the (-$7000.00) trade-in on the 2001 skid loader owned by the city, second came from Councilman David Larsen culminating in a unanimous vote of aye.

Agenda item #5c  Councilman Lance Johnson then moved to approve using the trade in option value of $7000.00 Butler offer reducing the total cost down to $32,900.00 rather that the auction risk. Second came from Councilman Dan Haeder with no further discussion the Council voted unanimously to accept the lower sure thing trade-in value as opposed to putting the 2001 unit up for auction risking a lower auction price than the Butler officer of $7000.00.

Agenda item #5d Councilman David Larsen moved to surplus the 2001 skid loader with the second coming from Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom -Lyle and with no further discussion the council voted unanimously to surplus the 2001 skid loader owned by the city.

Agenda item 6 Executive session-none.

Agenda item 7 Adjourn the meeting.  Motion by Councilwoman Darla Reppe, second came from Councilwoman Audri Carlson, no discussion with a unanimous vote of aye..  Meeting adjourned at 5:30 p.m.

I was asked today the limits of the city’s ability to spend our tax dollars.  Mayor Glas and Alcester Finance Officer failed to place public input on each agenda item requiring such a large expenditure.  The public has a right to express an opinion on purchases involving the large money purchases such as brand new street sweepers, skid loaders, streets and items of similar monetary outlay.  The other remedy to unrestrained spending is referral.  The public can refer such purchases and bring it to a vote of the people!  These current purchases using the second penny sales tax could stop the use of the second penny sales tax dollars to pay off the equipment bond.

LET YOUR CITY COUNCIL KNOW YOUR OPINION, CALL THEM DIRECTLY, WRITE THEM LETTERS, WRITE MAYOR TOM GLAS AND TELL HIM TO REIN IN HIS FINANCE OFFICER.

Alcester Councilwoman Audri Carlson         Alcester Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle,

Alcester Councilman Dan Haeder                  Alcester Councilman David Larsen

Alcester Councilwoman Darla Reppe            Alcester Councilman Lance Johnson

                                                          Mayor Tom Glas

 

 

           

 

 

11/12/2017 A Voice From the Gallery

NEWS FLASH!

Alcester City Council Special Meeting Notice 

November 13, 2017  5:00 p.m.

 

 1.  Open Meeting

2.  Pledge

3.  Approve Agenda

4.  2018 bond discussion

5.  2015 CAT 242D Skid Loader vs 2001 Cat 246 Skid Loader

          2015 CAT 242D Skid Loader           TX      $28,500*       2016 hrs  

          2015 CAT 242D Skid Loader           TX      $32,000*       383 hrs

          2015 CAT 242D Skid Loader           TX      $34,500*         453 hrs

          2015 CAT 242D Skid Loader           SD      $39,500*         315 hrs

          2015 CAT 242D Skid Loader            IL       $41,100*        335 hrs

*my research on Machinery Trader-ball park sampling w/limited information

a)  Discussion

b) Motion to proceed with purchase of 2015 CAT 242D Skid Loader

c) Method of Handling current skid loader

$7000.00 Trade-in from Butler Machinery Company.

Sell on Auction using Ritchie Bros. with a reserve

d) Motion to accept payment agreement until February 1 payment

e) Motion to declare 2001 CAT 246 Skid Load surplus and method of disposal and when

f) Motion to appoint appraisers.

6.  Executive Session if needed

7.  Adjourn

 

Note there is no public input item. 

This appears to be a major purchase and the public is not allowed to voice opinion on this.  Certainly this was in the works at the time of the regular meeting so why the special meeting.  The taxpaying public should have an opportunity to speak on this issue and ask the council questions.  Come to the meeting, contact your ward council person and let them know how you feel!

11/10/2017 A Voice From the Gallery

Mayor Glas opened the November 6, 2017, regular meeting of the Alcester City Council at 6:00 p.m. with the following members present:  Mayor Glas, Councilwoman Audri Carlson, Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle, Councilwoman Darla Reppe, Councilman David Larsen, Councilman Dan Haeder, Councilman Lance Johnson and City Attorney Chuck Haugland.

First order of business was to approve the agenda.  Yup, normally not such a brain stressor here but I have noticed a trend in Mayor Glas’ /FO Pat’s agenda.  Notably the movement of public input.  Public input has always appeared on the front end of the agenda, usually within the first five items.  Since June 2017 Alcester City agenda has placed Public Input just ahead of Adjournment.

Public Input Placement on Agenda 

11/06/2017 Item 14 12/05/2016 Item 5
10/02/2017 Item 13 11/07/2016 Item 6
09/03/2017 Item 11 10/03/2016 Item 5
08/07/2017 Item 9 09/13/2016 Item 5
07/05/2017 Item 14 08/10/2016 Item 5
06/05/2017 Item 10 07/06/2016 Item 5
05/1/2017 Item 7 06/06/2016 Item 5
04/03/2017 Item 5 05/02/2016 Item 5
03/20/2017 Item 5 04/04/2016 Item 4
03/02/2017 Item 5 03/21/2016 Item 4
02/06/2017 Item 5 03/07/2016 Item 4
01/04/2017 Item 11 02/01/2016 Item 4
01/04/2016 Item 4

By placing the public input at the end of the agenda no resident taxpayer can offer up comment BEFORE a vote on the issue.  Many municipalities will schedule input with specific agenda item such as purchasing a couple hundred thousand dollar street sweeper, not Alcester.  As you can see by the table showing the trend in Public Input placement, Mayor Glas/FO Pat appear to deny/restrict public access and comment before council vote discouraging public involvement in their own government.

Next up on the agenda was the approval of October 2, 2017, minutes.  Yup once again FO Pat dropped the ball.  According to South Dakota statute,

          SDCL 9-18-1. Governing  body to publish proceedings and statement of        expenditures–Rate of payment for publication.  The governing body of every             municipality shall cause to be published in the official newspaper which serves therein, or, if no official legal newspaper is published therein, in any legal newspaper which serves such municipality, with thirty days after each meeting thereof a full account of the proceeds at such meeting, give a detailed statement of all expenditures of money, the names of the person who payment is made, and showing the service rendered therefor.  It shall pay for publishing such     proceedings not to exceed ninety percent of the legal line rates for weekly newspapers and not exceed the legal line rate for daily newspapers, as provided in §17-2-19.

And

          SDCL 9-18-1.1  Time for delivery of copy to official newspaper.  The auditor or           clerk responsible for keeping a record of proceedings required to be published  pursuant to §9-18-1 shall cause a copy to be delivered to the officials newspaper within one week from the time such meeting is held.”

The minutes were not delivered to the publisher (per my confirmation visit with Publisher Shane Hill on November 6, 2017, at 11:30 a.m.) as of November 6, 2017.  Alcester City Finance Officer Pat Jurrens failed to get the minutes of the October 2, 2017, Alcester City Council Meeting published within the time frame set out by South Dakota statute.   Due to her failure to have the council minutes published within the parameters of statute, the Finance Officer has extended the time frame in which to refer any business on which the council voted.  It is up to the Finance Officer to get the job done!  The October 2, 2017, minutes finally appeared in the November 9, 2017, edition of the Alcester Union-Hudsonite.  In answer to what appears to be the FO excuse, Shane Hill should have called her to check on the minutes.  It is NOT the job of Publisher Shane Hill, to remind or to run Finance Officer Jurrens down to get the city council minutes, THAT is her job!

Agenda item #7 was a presentation by Larry Anderson, sexton of Pleasant Hill Cemetery.  Mr. Anderson informed the council of the financial status of the cemetery and asked for direction.  Apparently Pleasant Hill Cemetery is a privately owned cemetery whose expenditures are rapidly out-pacing income. Mr. Anderson explored the possibility of the city taking on the ownership and management of Pleasant Hill Cemetery.  No action was taken.

Agenda item #13 Street Department Lonnie Johnson gave an update on the demo of a street sweeper.  The demo sweeper is not the same model the city is contemplating purchasing but Mr. Johnson voiced his opinion on the model that was demonstrated did not meet his expectations.

Agenda Item 12, Executive session based upon Personnel.  Folks, personnel should only be used to discuss a specific city employee!

          SDCL 1-25-2.1 Discussing the qualifications, competence, performance, character or fitness of any public officer or employee or prospective public officer or employee.  The term employee does not include any independent contractors.

 

This seems to be a favorite ploy to go into Executive Session, secreting public business from the public.  We cannot have that many fitness of personnel questions, unless it is the capabilities of the Finance Officer because she seems to be the only non-council city employee present in these meetings and there rarely is any action taken in open session after these sessions.

Audri Carlson left the meeting at 7:34 p.m.

Agenda Item #13CIII – Austin Schuller requested Alcester municipal sponsorship to the Police Academy.  Mr. Schuller had an sponsorship agreement drafted up by independent counsel which was apparently presented to Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland at the meeting.  Mayor Glas/FO Pat Jurrens agenda engineers seem to expect Mr. Haugland to give an off-the-cuff opinion on something he was reading for the first time.  Mr. Haugland indicated language in the agreement draft could possibly cause a Wage and Hour issue for the city,  he needed to read it more closely than a cursory glance and he needed a get together with the attorney who drafted the document.

Agenda item #13E1 was the audit report by Dwight Bergland.  Mr. Bergland gave his report in which he noted some over-budget items and suggested corrective measures for the city of Alcester to be compliant in internal controls i.e. segregation of duties, specifically the finance office.

Agenda item #14 Public Input

Joe Zweifel wanted to officially recognize Police Officer Dylan Nelson who performed emergent medical intervention on a resident and Police Chief Chris Doty who also performed emergent medical intervention on another resident.

Mike Kezar corrected the Brad Wilson-Work Comp Fund Representative’s data on how long the city of Alcester has participated in the Work Comp Fund.  Mr. Kezar corrected the 15 years noted on the plaque to a term much longer than 15 years.

Wanda Halverson, Assistant Finance Office wanted direction from the council on a dog licensing issue where  a resident told her in response to her questioning the licensure of his dog, ‘I will license my dog, when feral cats are taken care of…”  Councilman Dan Haeder responded Alcester ordinance states dog are to be licensed and cats are not at issue.

Vickie Larsen, ME!  I handed out text of SDCL statutes; SDCL 9-18-1, SDCL 9-18-1.1 and SDCL 1-27-1.16 to each council member and the city attorney.  I informed council members of the publication of minutes violation pointing out times for legal response are limited by publication date of the minutes which were reflected in SDCL 9-18-1 and SDCL 9-18-1.1.

Some time ago, I had asked for a copy of the packet of materials given to the council to be provided to the gallery so anyone interested in following the discussion and FO Pat’s ‘explanation’ could read along.  Once again I was ignored and blown off.  So I included the statute SDCL 1-27-1.16:

          SDCL 1-27-1.16-“Material relating to open meeting agenda item to be available-Exceptions-Violation as misdemeanor.  If a meeting is require to be open to the public pursuant to §1-25-1 and if any printed material relating to an agenda item of the meeting is prepared or distribute by or at least the direction   of the governing body or any of its employees and the printed material is distributed before the meeting to all members of the governing body, the material shall either be posted on the governing body’s website or made available at the official business office of the governing body at least twenty-four     hours prior to the meeting or at the time the material is distributed to the governing body, whichever is later.  If the material is not posted to the governing body’s website, at least one copy of the printed material shall be available in the meeting room for inspection by any person while the governing body is consider the printed material…A violation of this section is a Class 2   misdemeanor…”

Next I brought my request for FOIA to the council’s attention.  On August 7, 2017, I hand-delivered a FOIA for CDBG  (see below*) in the August 7, 2017, regular meeting of the Alcester City Council.

CCI11112017_0001

By the September 6, 2017, I still had not received the CBDG FOIA I requested nor did I receive any written explanation of time delay.  While SDCL 1-27-1 does not appear to have a finite response time, I relied upon an approved sample SD FOIA request in which there is a section that states,

 If access to the records I am requesting will take longer than a ‘reasonable’       amount of time, please contact me with information about when I might expect copies or the ability to inspect the requested records.”

As of the October 2, 2017, regular meeting of the Alcester City Council I still had not received the FOIA information I requested nor had I received any reply with times I might expect my request to be honored.  During the October 2, 2017, I hand-delivered a second request for the CBDG information and on October 14, 2017, I finally received the requested FOIA documents via USPS.

When I examined the three FOIA documents provided me by Finance Officer Jurrens, I noted the date of final payment on the Dan Avery CBDG was January 31, 2017, but the release of lien or satisfaction of loan was delayed to June 23, 2017.  Under

             SDCL 44-3-8 -“Satisfaction of lien-Execution of discharge or release by holder-Damages for failure to execute and deliver satisfaction-Attorney fees-Additional penalty.  Whenever any mortgage, pledge or other lien of any means, the holder of such lien shall, within thirty days of satisfaction, deliver a sworn satisfaction to the debtor.  However, immediately upon satisfaction of a lien or at any time thereafter, if the owner of the property makes written demand on the lienholder, the lienholder shall, within ten days of receipt, execute and deliver to the debtor a sufficient sworn satisfaction to cancel the lien or any record thereof.  If the lienholder fails to execute and deliver to the owner of the property a sworn satisfaction within ten days of receipt of a proper written demand, the owner of the property is entitled to recover from the person who failed to comply with the provisions of this section all damages that he or she may have sustained thereby, including attorney’s fees and an additional penalty in the sum of one hundred dollars.”  

So folks, I do believe that June 23, 2017, is well past the 30 day time frame in statute.  The excuse made by Alcester Finance Officer was, “I had to wait to make sure the check cleared.”  You who turned the water off on a resident whose check you had a gut-feeling about, and by your own public admission didn’t even present her check to be cashed?  Madam FO you just called her bank asking if funds were present to cover the check.  The bank can release funds availability for a specific account at the hour, minute and second of the day you call.  They cannot tell you, Madam finance officer if the account holder has overdraft protection.  Madam finance officer by your admission in open council meeting, you did not present the check because of charge back fee applied to the city.  IF THE CHECK WAS NOT PRESENTED IT COULD NOT BE NSF.  Kind-of-like Schrödinger’s Cat.  Is the cat dead or is it alive—Is the check good or is it NSF?  As long the check is not presented for payment, it is good!  Mr. Avery PAID in full on January 31, 2017, and ten days after you presented his check providing ya’ll did not sit on the check, you would have KNOWN the check was good.  So by February 11, 2017, well in advance of February 24, 2017, your other excuse for not providing a timely satisfaction of lien requested by the obligor, Alcester Finance Officer Jurrens you should have provided release of lien and debt satisfaction.  NOT some five months late!

Next FOIA topic was the release of the social security number on a CBDG loan paid on November 16, 2016.  The micr (magnetic ink character recognition) codes were all properly redacted on the checks of all three FOIA documents, but on the loan paid on November 16, 2016, under the financing #2012314910009 signed by Mayor Glas the debtor’s social security number was not redacted.  Sloppy!  As I explained when I addressed the council about how easy ID theft  is in a previous meeting, never did I imagine Mayor Glas or the Finance Office would be so derelict in duty as to Give out a social security number!  Folks, the city could be liable for any damages incurred from this dereliction of duty.  I provided copies of the FOIA materials to City Attorney Haugland and to the Union County States Attorney office.

Agenda item #15 HRC Update -Since Mayor Glas had a blank look on his face when this agenda item was called, it fell to Councilman Dan Haeder to explain events involving the HRC.  Councilman Haeder and Mayor Glas were pleased to announce the sale of one lot.  However, this was a good news and bad news situation.   After 2012 when Mayor Glas (not mayor then) was on the HRC and Finance Officer(?) Pat Jurrens pushed to indebt the city of Alcester to the tune of $200k+ by building Beck Drive including curb/gutter, water and sewer to help sell lots.  Yup, some five years later A lot has finally been sold.  OH BUT WAIT, the purchaser of the lot WANTS GAS piped to her property and as DEVELOPER (?) it apparently falls to the city coffers (taxpayers) to install and pay for gas to the buyers property (so who would have guessed we needed a gas line on Beck Drive apparently not the Beck Drive pushers).  Now the city receives $25K+/- for the sale of the lot, less realtor fees of 6%-7% ($1500-$1750), and the up-front cost of laying in gas?  Folks, the city would be required to lay in gas lines for an up-front cost of maybe $10k, $15K, $25K ? Dang, there goes the budget.  The HRC/city is already on the loan hook for initial cost of Beck Drive and NOW they are going to NEED a loan for the gas installation?  WHO GETS TO PAY FOR THAT?

Now the purchaser of the lot wants to be in her home soon.  By the way it is against ordinance for propane tanks in the city limits.  So our council discussed they would over-look Alcester city statute and allow a ‘small propane tank’.  Really who is going to PAY to fill that tank at winter season rates?  Who wants to live next door to a 500 gallon bomb?  Ever see a split-level house blow up then two minutes later watch the roof come back down, cave into the house and flames lick in the blown out windows of the house next door and know there were people in that house.  I have!  I have not forgotten the sound of the explosion, I have not forgotten seeing the roof float down, caving in on the interior or hearing the sound of jack hammers all night that long ago January looking for the gas leak.  It is not the fault of the residents of Alcester those in charge fail to do proper research.  This is not something we can in good conscience allow the city to give a variance, even a temporary variance!

   Adjourned