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Mitchell City Council rejects VFW demolition bid

Mitchell’s old Veterans of Foreign Wars building will remain standing for a little bit longer. The Mitchell City Council on Monday voted 5-2 against awarding a bid for the demolition of the building, which has sat in a state of disrepair for months at the corner of First Avenue and Main Street. The building was damaged during the demolition of the old Longhorn Bar, with which it shared a common wall.

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Only one bid was submitted for the demolition of the old VFW building, a $216,742 bid from Ironman Construction, of Tyndall. That’s the same company that demolished the old Longhorn building.

Council members who voted against the bid questioned whether it was too expensive, and worried that having only one bid made it impossible to compare prices to make sure they are fair.

All the complications that accompanied the demolition of the old Longhorn may have scared other potential bidders away, Deputy Public Works Director Terry Johnson said

“I think there are a lot of contractors that don’t want to deal with this one,” Johnson said. “It’s a mess that needs to get taken care of.”

Councilman Dan Allen said he believes Ironman Construction is taking advantage of the city’s situation.

“Some people get rich off the government and I think he’s one of them,” Allen said.

The city bought the damaged VFW building last September for $175,000. The VFW moved to a building at 215 N. Main St., which was previously occupied by Prairie Breeze Gallery, an art gallery and gift shop.

Council President Jeff Smith, Council Vice President Steve Rice and council members Allen, Susan Tjarks and Dave Tronnes voted against awarding the bid. Council members Mel Olson and Marty Barington voted in favor of awarding the bid. Councilman Randy Doescher was not in attendance at Monday night’s meeting.

As a result of the council’s vote, it will now be at least late August before another bid can be awarded for the demolition. The council set an Aug. 18 date to try again to award a bid.

Council President Jeff Smith said he was contacted prior to Monday night’s meeting by another contractor who missed the opportunity to bid on the project, but would be interested if he were given a chance to bid.

“I’m almost willing to take that gamble to see if we can come in a little bit lower,” Smith said.

Mayor Ken Tracy, who described the condition of the building as “deplorable,” said he didn’t like the idea of delaying the project by rejecting the bid. But Tracy said he was also wary of awarding a bid with only one bidder.

“I, for one, am certainly anxious to get that eyesore removed,” he said.

Sales taxes

The city of Mitchell’s 2 percent sales tax generated $2,354,631.38 during the second quarter of 2014, according to a report presented Monday at a 7:20 p.m. Finance Committee meeting, which took place prior to Monday night’s council meeting.

That’s slightly lower than the $2,382,175.36 the city’s sales tax generated in the second quarter of 2013, but slightly more than the $2,264,279 collected during the first quarter of 2014.

The city collected approximately $10.4 million from its 2 percent sales tax in all of 2013. That was nearly a 3 percent drop from 2012, when the city’s sales tax generated nearly $10.74 million, a record amount and a 9.2 percent increase from 2011.

Collections of the city’s entertainment tax — an extra 1 percent tax on lodging, alcoholic beverages and prepared food — totaled $142,149.17 in the second quarter of 2014, slightly more than the $135,546.54 generated during the fi rst quarter of 2014. The tax collected $691,101.94 in all of 2013 and $697,676.11 in 2012.

Consent agenda

Council member s approved the following items as part of a consent agenda:

• The agenda, minutes from prior council meetings and minutes from various committee meetings.

• The appointment of Ron Kogel to the Corn Palace Committee.

• Raffle requests from the Lakeview Lawn Bowling Association, with the drawing to be held Nov. 3; the Palace City Pedalers, with the drawing to be held Aug. 23; the Dakota Wesleyan University men’s and women’s basketball teams, with the drawing to be held Sept. 22; and the Servicemen’s Cemetery, with the drawing to be held Nov. 11.

• A July 29 date to receive and consider bids for rock salt, with bids opened at 1:30 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall.

• The application of the Palace City Lions Club for a special event malt beverage and wine license, for the Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo, July 17-20 at Horseman’s Sports Arena.

• A July 21 date for a hearing on the application of Make-A-Wish Foundation of South Dakota for a special event malt beverage and wine license for Summer’s Last Dance, Sept. 6 at Hitchcock Park.

• A July 21 date for a hearing on the applications of the Palace City Lions Club for a special event malt beverage and wine license for the Tour de Corn, Aug. 23 at Hitchcock Park; and for the Corn Palace Festival, Aug. 21-24 at the Corn Palace.

• A July 21 date for a hearing on the application of Walmart, 1101 E. Spruce St., for a retail on-off sale wine license.

• An automatic supplement to the special revenue fund, parks and recreation, of $24,717 from a South Dakota Department of Health grant for mosquito control.

• Gas and diesel bids.

• A list of pay estimates.

• Bills, payroll, salary adjustments and new employee hires, and authorization for payment of recurring and other expenses in advance as approved by the finance officer.

Other business

In scheduled business tonight, council members:

• Approved, during a 7:05 p.m. Traffic Commission meeting, a request to suspend 10 minute and 15 minute parking on Sixth Avenue and Main Street, and Fifth Avenue and Main Street, during construction at the Corn Palace; a request to close North Main Street and a half block each direction from First Avenue to Seventh Avenue from 5 a.m. Aug. 19 to 5 a.m. Aug. 25, and to close the west half of the City Hall parking lot from 6 a.m. Aug. 19 to 5 a.m. Aug. 25, and to close the parking lot at Fifth Avenue and North Main Street from 5 a.m. Aug. 20 to 12 p.m. Aug. 25, and to allow overnight camping in the Disco Lot, all for the Corn Palace Festival; and a request from Tour de Corn to block a portion of the City Hall parking lot and the adjacent 100 block of East Seventh Avenue from 7 to 9:30 a.m. for registration, and for a police escort and traffic control at 9:30 a.m. at 23rd Avenue and North Main Street.

• Heard Mayor Ken Tracy issue the oath of office to council members Steve Rice, Dave Tronnes, Dan Allen and Susan Tjarks, all of whom ran unopposed in the June 3 election.

• Heard Mayor Ken Tracy recommend the appointments and issue the oath of office to the city attorney and the city’s department heads.

• Elected Jeff Smith as the council’s president and Steve Rice as the council’s vice president.

• Approved a raffle request from the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village, with the drawing to be held Dec. 1.

• Sat as the board of adjustment and set a July 21 date for hearings on the applications of Scott Studer for a side yard corner lot variance of 16 feet rather than 20 feet to place a residence and construct an attached garage at 120 E. Douglas Ave.; of Whittier Lofts for a front yard variance of 19 feet rather than 30 feet and a side yard variance of zero feet rather than 20 feet to construct garage buildings at 410 W. Second Ave.; of David and Paige Radke for a front yard variance of 22 feet rather than 25 feet to expand an attached garage at 1513 S. Miller St.; of Hart Family Dental Center, applicant, and Mitchell Christian School, owner, for a conditional use permit for construction of a professional office for personal health services at 714 W. 18th Ave.

• Approved the application of the Mitchell Exchange Club for a special event malt beverage and wine license for the Bull Bash, Aug. 20 at Horseman’s Sports Arena.

• Approved a resolution for a contingency transfer of $4,000 for recruitment expenses for the public works portion of the general fund; and $42,000 for building demolition for the health and welfare portion of the general fund.

• Awarded bids for library custom furniture, equipment and appliances.

• Approved a resolution for the plat of Lot 8-A of River Ridge Estates, a subdivision of previously platted Lot 8 of River Ridge Estates in the southwest one-quarter of the northeast one-quarter of Section 13, Township 103 North, Range 60 west of the fifth P.M., Davison County.

• Conducted the second of two required readings and adopted an ordinance to supplement the city administrator portion of the general fund with $49,000 for salaries, $3,750 for OASI, $2,950 for retirement, $7,325 for group insurance, $2,500 for professional fees and services, $1,500 for repair and maintenance, $1,500 for supplies and materials, $500 for uniforms, $2,500 for travel, conferences and dues, $1,500 for computer software and support and $7,500 for offi ce furniture and equipment; the storm drainage portion of the general fund with $30,000 for municipal storm drainage; and $29,085 for building demolition; all from the general fund cash balance; and the water treatment portion of the enterprise fund with $3,733 from the water fund cash balance for professional services.

• Conducted the first of two required readings of an ordinance rezoning property at 600 E. Ash Ave., from single family residential to transportation, warehousing and commercial, for an owner who wishes to put a commercial building on the land.

• Conducted the fi rst of two required readings of an ordinance rezoning property legally described as Lots 8-B and 8-C, less Lot H-1 of Lot 8-C, Block Eight in Morningview Addition, city of Mitchell, Davison County; Block Seven, less H-1, in Morningview Addition, city of Mitchell, Davison County, from transportation, warehousing and commercial to public lands and institutions, for Dakota Wesleyan University’s wellness center project.

• Conducted the fi rst of two required readings of an ordinance rezoning property legally described as the East Half of the West Half of Block One in Morningview Addition, city of Mitchell, Davison County; and the East Half of Block Two, Morningview Addition to the city of Mitchell, Davison County; all of Block 2A and all of Block 2B within Block Two, including vacated Pine Street, Morningview Addition, city of Mitchell, Davison County, from single family residential to public lands and institutions, for Dakota Wesleyan University’s wellness center project.

• Conducted the fi rst of two required readings of an ordinance to amend Chapter 9-1 of the Mitchell City Code by adopting the 2012 edition of the International Fire Code, and making other amendments as necessary to reflect the adoption of the code.

• Conducted the fi rst of two required readings of an ordinance supplementing the public works portion of the general fund with $5,900 for computer software and $1,950 for computer hardware, from the general fund cash balance.

• Approved a grant agreement with the South Dakota Department of Health for $24,717 for mosquito control.

• Approved a pavement maintenance entitlement transfer for the Mitchell Airport with the South Dakota Department of Transportation.

• Approved change orders from Mueller Lumber for the Corn Palace renovation in the amount of $542 for drop heads in corridors; $17,943 for demolition of existing riser valve; and $1,469 for hose valve demolition, all for an adjusted contract amount of $3,644,445.

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