Public Works Prepares For Winter; City Hires Chief of Police
The Kadoka City Council conducted its regularly scheduled, monthly meeting on Oct. 11. Council members Chris Grillo, Tim Huffman, Eileen Stolley, Tia Stout, Harry Weller and Ryan Willert. Council member Rusty Olney was unable to attend the meeting.
Mayor Weller called the meeting to order, directing the Council to review the current meeting agenda, the Sept. 13 regular meeting minutes and minutes from a special meeting on Sept. 15. The Council held the Sept. 15 meeting to interview candidates for the position of Chief of Police. The Council began conducting interviews in September after Forrest Davis retired in August. During the meeting, the Council offered the position to Robert Book. He began working for the City the first week of October as the Chief of Police.
LaTasha Buchholz, finance officer, submitted invoices for review by the members of the Council. She presented September 2021 financial reports, including departmental revenues and expenses, along with bank account balances as of September 30. The Council unanimously approved the September financial records.
During each Council meeting, residents are given the opportunity to submit their input. The Council takes no action on matters presented by Kadoka residents during the open forum. For individuals seeking action, one must request placement on the upcoming meeting agenda, which requires a minimum 24-hour notice. No residents from Kadoka were scheduled to appear before the Council on the evening agenda nor present during the meeting’s open forum.
The first matter of new business pertained to the health insurance for City employees. Scott Duncan, insurance agent, presented proposals to the Council for City employee’s health insurance, provided answers to questions and explained the status of the current, transitional plan. Currently, the City qualifies for a plan extension that allows them to keep coverage and benefits predating the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Dakota Care, the current carrier, offered the lowest cost with comparable coverage and less out of pocket costs for the employee and their families. The Council accepted the proposal for the Dakota Care policy by a unanimous call vote. Concluding matters of new business, the Council conducted the second reading of the ordinance for the 2022 budget then approved it effective Jan. 1, 2022.
The meeting proceeded to departmental reports and started with code enforcement. The Council noted approximately three properties reported by Code Enforcement Specialists, LLC (CES) as being uninhabitable, posing safety hazards and bringing blight to the City. CES regularly conducts reviews of local properties, noting those that violate City ordinances. CES contacts the property owners in effort to resolve the issue and proceeds with enforcement if those efforts fail. The Council requested the CES provide an update each month to the Council at the monthly meetings.
Nathan Riggins, water and sewer department superintendent, provided the departmental report to the Council. He informed the Councils of emergency repairs to fix a broken water line, assessment of the structural integrity of a City water tower and the inspection of the sewer lagoons. He informed the Council of the need to repair sewer lines on Cedar Street. Willert suggested contacting civil engineers Schmucker, Paul, Nohr and Associations, utilized by the City in other water and sewer projects, to determine if a temporary repair would sustain the sewer service until next year. Riggins also noted plans to contact the South Dakota Association of Rural Water Systems for any recommendations or assistance for the City.
In matters relating to streets, Patrick Solon, public works department, informed the Council of the need for gravel on various streets in addition to a gravel stockpile. He noted that some culverts through town have been flushed while others have been replaced. Solon also noted the need for more culverts to replace depleted supplies. Other departmental plans include replacing more stop signs and installing school cross walk signs at various points near the school.
Grillo noted that the City transfer station and rubble site needs an employee to occasionally cover shifts. The City approached Susan Davidson and offered her the position. She declined the paid position but kindly offered to volunteer for her community. Buchholz noted that she requested information from the City’s insurance carrier to ensure that Davidson would be protected by insurance in the event of injury.
Jackie Stillwell, Kadoka City bar manager, reported the start of the fall and winter poker games. Plans include a party for Halloween and hopes for a more inclusive hometown Christmas for the community as COVID adversely affected plans for last year.
The newly hired Kadoka Chief of Police, Robert “Rob” Book, addressed the Council, providing the public safety report. He informed the Council that the new office in the annex of the Kadoka city auditorium will be “outstanding.” He noted the need to secure some structural aspects of the former City finance office such as replacing hollow core doors with solid ones and the need to acquire a fireproof safe to securely house weapons. Book requested the City provide a laptop computer for the patrol car and update the antiquated office computer and printer, allowing him to access the state system and other applications utilized by law enforcement agencies. Book asked the Council if they would approve of him approaching the Kadoka Area School to hold a competition to design the departmental patch. Book requested signage for the exterior of the office to which Willert noted the students in vocational classes at the school could create the signage for the exterior. Huffman commented, “that is a great idea.” The Council advised Book to contact the KAS to coordinate the competition for the patch and possibly creating the exterior signage. Weller asked Book how he was adjusting to the new position to which Book responded, “it is a steep learning curve.”
In closing items on the agenda, Weller provided the Mayor’s report and informed the Council that he attended the fall Municipal League conference in Spearfish. He commented, “the bottom line of when you want to do something comes down to where is the money?” Weller concluded, “it comes down to grants and what you want to spend.” Recently, the Council voted to adopt ordinances related to planning and zoning, a requirement for most federal grants.
The Council will conduct its monthly meeting at the Kadoka city finance office on Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. The public is invited and encouraged to attend the meetings.
Please refer to the legal notice sections of the classified section of the Kadoka Press for a complete copy of the Kadoka City Council meeting minutes.