Council plans letter to state about sales-tax return errorsBe warned, South Dakota Department of Revenue and Regulation: The Mitchell City Council has its sights on you. The council’s Finance Committee — a panel made up entirely of the eight members of the City Council — voted unanimously Monday evening at City Hall to send a letter to the state department. The aim of the letter, to be drafted by Mayor Lou Sebert, is to express the council’s displeasure with recent errors in sales-tax returns and to demand an in-person explanation of those errors.
By: Seth Tupper, The Daily Republic
Be warned, South Dakota Department of Revenue and Regulation: The Mitchell City Council has its sights on you.
The council’s Finance Committee — a panel made up entirely of the eight members of the City Council — voted unanimously Monday evening at City Hall to send a letter to the state department. The aim of the letter, to be drafted by Mayor Lou Sebert, is to express the council’s displeasure with recent errors in sales-tax returns and to demand an in-person explanation of those errors.
The action followed an announcement Monday evening by City Finance Officer Marilyn Wilson. She recently received notification from state officials that an unidentified business or businesses overpaid sales taxes to the tune of $220,000. That amount, which already was paid by the business or businesses to the state and then remitted to the city, will now have to be deducted from the city’s future collections.
Since 2002, Wilson said, the city has now suffered a total of about $830,000 in taxpayer overpayments.
“It makes it difficult for us to estimate budgets when these things happen,” Wilson said.
Council President Jeff Smith had some tougher words for state officials.
“I think the first one is probably a mistake,” Smith said. “The second time they come at us, that’s a little bit questionable, and the third time is ridiculous. Honestly, I think someone needs to come down here from the Department of Revenue and explain to us how this could happen.”
In other business Monday, council members:
• Approved, during the Traffic Commission meeting, a request to approve a stop sign at the west entrance/exit in the city parking lot at Second and Main, north of Charlie’s Shoe Repair.
• Heard a presentation from the Focus 2020 Governmental Structures Subcommittee on its previously announced recommendations for the City Council.
• Were informed, during citizens’ input, by Public Works Director Tim McGannon that city workers had to clear sidewalks at about 70 locations where property owners failed to do the work after a recent snowfall.
• Heard, during citizens’ input, a short speech from Jeff Smith about the importance of standing up for public religious displays in the face of secular criticism during the Christmas season.
• Were informed that the local American Legion post has chosen Joel Reinesch as its law-enforcement officer of the year and Steve Nedved as its firefighter of the year.
• Heard a federally required presentation from Davison County Emergency Management Director Jim Montgomery about the city, county and state disaster declaration process and response and recovery procedures.
• Approved, sitting as the Board of Adjustment, the application of Tracy Palmer for a variance to construct a 32-by-28-foot shed at 3313 N. Ohlman St.
• Heard oral reports from the Traffic Commission and Finance Committee.
• Approved written reports from seven city departments and boards.
• Approved, with one “no” vote from Mel Olson, the application of One-Eyed Jack’s Casino, 1401 N. Main St., for Sunday sales for 2010 and the remainder of 2009.
• Approved, with one “no” vote from Mel Olson, the applications of Walgreen Co. for an off-sale malt beverage license and an on-off sale wine license at 901 S. Burr St.
• Approved the application of the Palace City Lions Club for a special-event malt beverage license Jan. 8 at the Corn Palace and City Hall for a cage-fighting event.
• Noted the withdrawal of the application to transfer an on-off sale wine license from Wade Greenwood, doing business as Wine Cellar, to Kelly Hohn.
• Approved a plat of the lot that is part of a potential land swap with Jerry Thomsen, following advice from City Planner Neil Putnam that it would be a good idea to plat the lot regardless of whether the swap is approved.
• Approved the annexation of the lot that that is part of a potential land swap with Jerry Thomsen, following Putnam’s announcement that the land had apparently never been annexed since it was acquired by the city during the 1920s.
• Approved a resolution that will allow the city finance officer to immediately sell any future donations of stock that the city receives without having to schedule a special meeting of the City Council (the measure arose out of delays in selling stock donated for the soccer complex by a Huron businessman).
• Adopted an ordinance that will supplement the 2009 budget with 12 items totaling $78,100.
• Conduct the first reading of an ordinance that would supplement the 2009 budget with $30,000 for an ice arena dehumidification system, with funding from the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department’s cash balance; with $11,375 for AKG Midwest Tax Increment Financing District bond interest, with funding from district revenues and bond-fund capitalized interest; and with $37,000 of Westwood Tax Increment Financing District bond interest, from district revenues and bond-fund capitalized interest.
• Set Jan. 19 as the date to receive and consider bids for a used wheel-loader.
• Approved an automatic supplement to the general fund for the Police Division in the amount of $1,000, from a donation of funds.
• Approved an automatic supplement to the Retired Senior Volunteer Program fund in the amount of $20,000, from a grant for computer hardware.
• Approved an automatic supplement to the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department fund in the amount of $138, from vandalism restitution.
• Approved an automatic supplement to the general fund for the Police Division in the amount of $9,000, from a grant for computer equipment for the Internet Child Protection Program.
• Approved an automatic supplement to the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department fund in the amount of $891 for football program supplies, from a donation.
• Approved a design contract with H.R. Green Company for Spruce Street and Cabela Drive intersection traffic lights, which Public Works Director Tim McGannon said could be installed by late next year.
• Approved an insurance committee’s recommendation to renew the third-party administration of medical insurance with Dakotacare Administrative Services.
• Approved requests to conduct raffles from the Dakota Plains Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Davison County Child Protection Team, the Mitchell Extreme Gymnastics Academy, the Multicultural Committee at Dakota Wesleyan University, the Mitchell Skating and Hockey Association, and the Mitchell High School girls’ basketball team.
• Approved the paying of estimates and bills.