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TMCNet:  Ward 4 council rep to be named tonight

[January 21, 2013]

Ward 4 council rep to be named tonight

Jan 21, 2013 (The Daily Republic - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- On June 7, 2011, Greg McCurry won a three-way race to claim a Ward 4 seat on the Mitchell City Council, defeating Marc Bernard and Deb Skibsrud-Bueber in a race that drew more than 700 votes.

Tonight Mayor Ken Tracy will announce the name of the person who will serve the second half of that three-year term. McCurry resigned last week, a move he announced in December.

He has since moved out of the ward.

The person who is selected by the mayor must be approved by the council, and then Tracy will administer the oath of office.

The new Ward 4 council representative will be in office through June 2014, when the next municipal election is slated.

Tracy declined to reveal whom he has selected. He accepted applications at the end of last year, and then interviewed the candidates along with Council President Jeff Smith. Tracy said he would consider naming a woman to the council, since all the city's elected officials are middle-aged to older white men.

The last woman on the council was Geri Beck, who held the Ward 4 seat that McCurry won in the 2011 election. Beck did not seek a second term.

The council meets at 7:30 p.m. in City Hall Council Chambers, 612 N. Main St.

In other agenda items, the council will: --Consider a contract for architectural services with Meyer Scherer & Rockcastle, of Minneapolis, for a renovation of and an addition to the Corn Palace and a renovation of City Hall. It's project 2013-12.

MS&R was first hired in 2011 and it prepared a report calling for a remodel and expansion of the Corn Palace that would have cost in excess of $40 million. The proposal, which included a "corn tower," increased seating and other improvements, received raves when it was introduced at a public meeting at the Corn Palace on Jan. 16, 2012, but concerns about the cost quickly cropped up.

After numerous meetings and discussions with a city-chamber committee charged with increasing attendance and visitation time at the building, the council voted to spend $6.5 million to improve and expand the Corn Palace in an effort to draw more people to the city-owned tourism mecca and public arena. It's part of $13.9 million in major projects the council approved last year.

The city is also planning to spend at least $2.6 million on a new City Hall, with the current building converted for use as part of the Corn Palace.

--Consider an agreement with Puetz Corporation for design services and as a construction manager for the Mitchell Activities Center.

This has been under review for weeks as the council was concerned about allowing Puetz to perform both roles. But the council decided it is legal and would work best for the city and in the public interest, and asked city staff to complete an agreement for the MAC project, which is budgeted at $2.5 million. A second ice rink will be added.

--Consider an architect design and construction agreement with L.L. Jirsa Architect, a Mitchell firm, for the $2.3 million Mitchell Public Library renovation project, which would expand the building and offer internal improvements.

--Consider a ban on talking or texting on a hand-held device by city employees while at the wheel of a city vehicle in the city limits.

Under the proposed new rules, employees at the wheel of a city vehicle may not text and drive at any time, but would be allowed to talk on a hand-held phone in another jurisdiction. Violating this policy could lead to termination.

It's part of Resolution 3064, which would amend the city personnel policy and procedure manual to create the ban. Palace Transit drivers could still use hand-held radios, and hands-free communication would be permitted.

The resolution also changes terminology from cellular phones to business cell phones.

Employees may be designated by their supervisor as being required to carry a phone. If they use a personal phone, they will receive a $15 monthly stipend. The new rules also emphasize the need to minimize use of the phones, and will allow city officials to examine phone records.

The new policy also will allow retired city employees to remain under the city health and dental insurance plan until they are eligible for other insurance programs if they pay all the premiums.

--Approve $350,000 to help pay for a ladder truck for the Fire Division. The current ladder truck is aging and needs to be replaced, fire staffers have said.

It's included in Ordinance 2426, which has another supplemental reappropriation of $95,000 for a building demolition.

--Hear a report from the Finance Committee, which will meet at 7:20 p.m. to review the 2012 sales tax collections in the city.

The city was on a record pace, Finance Officer Marilyn Wilson told the council last year.

--Consider buying two 2013 Ford F-250 4x4 pickups from Vern Eide Ford on a base bid of $22,400 each, which is below the state bid, plus $1,224 for options and accessories for a total award of $23,624 for each vehicle. The pickups are for the Parks Division and the sports complex.

--Award a contract for the demolition of the old Longhorn Bar, city project 2012-36.

Public Works Director Tim McGannon is recommending awarding it to Jared Balvin, of Ironman Construction, a Tyndall-based company. Balvin bid $109,559 for the project, while Schoenfelder Construction, of Mitchell, the only other bidder, submitted a bid of $223,710.

Mitchell architect Larry Jirsa, who has worked for the city on the project, toured the building, which has been closed since a partial collapse in November 2011, with Balvin.

"Jared asked the right questions, seems to understand the project. Larry's assessment is that he can do the job," McGannon wrote in a memo to the council. He also checked a reference who was highly impressed with Balvin's work.

--Consider Ordinance 2427, supplemental appropriations of $80,000 for new golf carts and $40,000 for a new greens mower; $55,000 for building demolition; and $20,000 for Fifth Avenue utilities.

The golf equipment is also part of Resolution 3063, which would designate $100,000 in interim financing to buy the golf carts and greens mower for the cityowned golf course.

The money will be repaid to the general fund at 2 percent interest over a four-year period.

Golf & Cemetery Department Director Kevin Thurman said the city now has 40 main fleet carts and seven older carts used as backups. But the demand is outstripping supply, so Thurman wants to trade in the 40 main fleet carts and acquire 50 new ones. Cart rental is a "key revenue producer," he said in a memo.

--Review 2012 Lake Mitchell Campground utilization.

--Approve department and division reports.

--Sit as the Board of Adjustment to review the application of Scott and Michele Rumbolz for a front yard variance at 725 S. Minnesota St.

--Hold a hearing on the application of the Area Community Theatre of Mitchell for a Special Event Malt Beverage and Wine License at the Pepsi Cola Theater, 700 N. Main St., for the Ladies & Gents Night Out event on Jan. 25-26.

--Consider Resolution 3062, dissolving Tax Increment Financing District 2, which was formed in June 2003 and has been paid off.

--Hold the second reading of and consider adopting Ordinance 2422, a new sign ordinance.

--Consider Ordinance 2423, 2012 supplemental appropriations of $19,000 for bond principals; $8,500 for salaries for water treatment employees; and $21,000 for salaries and $4,500 for insurance for water distribution workers. A new city employee is being added to help complete the water meter installation program.

--Consider Ordinance 2424, 2013 supplemental appropriations of $20,532 for salaries, OASI and retirement for Fire Division staffers; $5,922 for the same costs for EMS workers; and $32,500 in costs for bonds that were recently issued.

--Hold the first reading of Ordinance 2425, rezoning Lot 10, Block 25, of Rowley's Second Addition, from a singlefamily residential (R-2) district to a high density (R-4) residential district and amending the Official Zoning Map.

--Consider a notice of acceptability for the phase II segment of the new bike trail with Robert Johnson Construction, city project 2010-1.

--Consider an engineering design services agreement for Fifth Avenue utilities relocation and replacement with SPN & Associates, city project 2014-1.

--Consider a joint powers agreement for the Spruce/Burr turn lane with South Dakota Department of Transportation, city project 2013-1.

--Approve these raffle requests: Mitchell Hockey Association, with the drawing to be held on Feb. 17; Gertie Belle Rogers PTA, with the drawing to be held on March 23; and Skills USA South Dakota, with the drawing to be held on April 5.

--Approve a tax abatement for Puetz Development to waive penalties and interest in the amount of $667.18.

--Approve these pay estimates: Longhorn Bar demolition, project 2012-36, contracted to Jirsa. Pay estimate 3 in the amount of $1,725.

Airport snow removal equipment building, project AIP '25, contracted to Helms & Associates. Pay estimate 6 in the amount of $2,355.69.

--Hear an invocation from a First Lutheran Church representative.

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