Mitchell man frustrated that storm sewer water drains to his propertyA Mitchell man asked the city to stop dumping a great deal of water on his property during Monday night’s Mitchell City Council meeting at City Hall.
By: Tom Lawrence, The Daily Republic
A Mitchell man asked the city to stop dumping a great deal of water on his property during Monday night’s Mitchell City Council meeting at City Hall.
The council, led by Councilman Travis Carpenter, asked city staff to work with Mike Bathke to deal with the water.
Bathke, of 1660 E. Eighth Ave., repeatedly said he was surprised the city was emptying a storm drain onto his property, especially since the city doesn’t have an easement.
Public Works Director Tim McGannon and City Attorney Randy Stiles told Bathke and the council that the law allows water to flow downhill and the water that comes out of the drain just settles on his land. Stiles said since the city has not altered how it drains the water, it is not responsible for where it ends up.
The land where Bathke recently built a house was not in the city limits a year or so ago, McGannon noted. The matter was discussed for nearly a half-hour, with the council primarily listening as Bathke and city staffers discussed and debated.
Bathke had an estimate for $5,000 to use boulders and field stones to block the water from swamping his property. He said after a recent heavy rainfall, 10 inches of water was on parts of his property.
Carpenter said even if the city has the right to drain the water there, it isn’t the right thing to do.
“We need to be better neighbors than this,” he said. “We should take care of this for him. Let’s fix it.”
Councilman Scott Houwman said he wonders why a person at the end of a pipe is held responsible for the cost of dealing with water that comes from other properties.
McGannon said the city charges a $5 sewer fee to residents and money from that fund could be used to pay for part of the work. He suggested the city pay for the work and Bathke pay for the rock.
Bathke said he would consider it.
The issue surfaced as the council considered a resolution to add to East Eighth Avenue. Bathke said he wants the street built.
He would be assessed $13,985.14 for work on the street while the city would be assessed $9,761.14 for its share of the project. Bathke wants curb and gutter installed on the north side, while the city will not ask for it on its side.
The city-owned property is being used by a man who has a 20-year lease on it because he donated dirt to the city years ago when the area was obtained. The man grows trees on the city lot.
In other business, the council:
• Sitting as the Board of Adjustment, approved the application of Doug and Cindy Symes for a variance to construct a 28-foot by 30-foot garage at 107 S. Harmon Drive and approved the application of James Klinger for a variance to construct an extension to his garage at 1621 Westview Drive.
The Symes project does not conflict with the temporary ban on work by Lake Mitchell since it is located on the street side, not the lake side, of South Harmon Drive.
• Set, sitting as the Board of Adjustment, June 20 as the date for a hearing on the application of Angie Moon for a conditional use permit to operate a daycare center in her home at 1805 Quiett Lane. Moon already has a permit but is relocating the business.
• Conducted a hearing on a proposed resolution of necessity for alley construction from North Kimball Street to North Langdon Street and declaring the necessity of alley construction there.
Some residents of the area attended the meeting and said they want to see the alley improved, but they were unhappy being assessed as much as they would be under the city’s plan, which totaled $45,337.82. They also expressed concern about the drainage.
They said the alley had been worked on before and had failed.
“How many times do you get assessed for the same city project?” Bill Henson asked.
McGannon said the alley would be concrete and would last longer and drain better.
The council asked city staff to meet with the residents and ensure the design was satisfactory to them.
• Conducted a hearing on a proposed resolution of necessity for street construction on North Langdon Street from East Seventh Avenue north to an alley and adopted a resolution declaring the necessity of street construction.
The same neighbors listened closely and offered comments during this discussion as well. The project will cost $39,946.09 and the street will have a 9-inch base, a 3-inch asphalt mat and curb and gutter.
• Heard from Judy Craig, who asked the council for help with a dispute she is having with city staff over sewer billing.
Craig owns an apartment building at 1100 Seventh Ave. that has two meters on it for city services. She is billed $5 a month for both meters and has asked for that to be reduced to one $5 fee.
Craig has sent several emails to McGannon, and he replied to her on May 7. On Monday night, she told the council she felt she has been “pretty much ignored” by city staff.
She noted that city code states that only one fee should be charged to a residential customer and apartment houses are labeled residential by the city.
The council said under state law, and for tax purposes, such properties are considered commercial. Craig was asked why she didn’t have a plumber connect all the pipes through one meter, and she said that would be too costly.
She said while $5 a month seems like a small amount, over 12 months a year and 15 years, it adds up. The council asked for the issue to be studied and returned to them.
• Heard from Councilman Mel Olson, who said two teachers he knows who work at the visitors’ cabin said a man stopped in last week and asked to have the police called, since the large number of flying insects were creating a traffic hazard.
The council then debated, sarcastically, whether a scattergun or a Taser should be deployed against mosquitoes and gnats. No one recommended calling in a SWAT team.
Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department Director Dusty Rodiek said he is studying when to fog the city. Rodiek said while in the past mosquito traps were studied and insects were counted to make that decision, he is now considering the “landing test” — having someone stand outside and count the number of insects that land on them in one minute.
• Heard from City Attorney Randy Stiles, who said he is continuing work on a revision of planning and zoning statutes. He said City Planner Neil Putnam is revising the city’s master plan and he wants to receive input from others before bringing anything before the council.
session, with items on the agenda from Stiles and Councilman Doug Backlund.
After emerging from the session, Finance Officer Marilyn Wilson said the council had given her direction to hire a new information technology staffer.
Kris Zomer, who had been the city’s IT specialist, has left the city staff. Her last day was Friday.
The council had discussed contracting for IT services a few months ago but elected to retain the position.
It was unclear what the second item was in the closed session.
• Rejected a bid for Cadwell Stadium repairs from O.L. Bussmus Construction, of Mitchell, for $70,582, with an optional alternate bid for an additional $2,500.
Rodiek said that is more than is budgeted for the project.
• Approved the application of the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village for a special event malt-beverage license for the June 18 Beach Boys concert.
• Renewed an on-off sale malt-beverage license for Ritter-Rittenhouse Corp., doing business as Mitchell Super 8 Motel at 1700 S. Burr St.; and approved the application to transfer the same onoff sale malt-beverage license to Eight West LLC, doing business as Mitchell Super 8 Motel at the same location.
The business has been sold from James and Lynelle Ritter and Ann Rittenhouse, of Mitchell, to Rikesh Patel, of Vermillion.
• Approved a written contract to replace an oral agreement between the city of Mitchell and the Davison Shooting Club, which allows the city’s law officers to use the club’s indoor range west of Mitchell for a total of $1,200 per year.
• Tabled an agreement formalizing the city’s addition of $142,154 into a revolving loan fund aimed at bettering downtown structures.
Stiles said he is still communicating with involved parties. The council also tabled setting up an MADC Building Façade Loan Program agency fund but did pass the first reading of a budget supplement to cover the cost of the loan fund.
• Annexed property owned by Jacob Andrew Spaans and described as the east 412 feet of the west half of the northeast quarter lying south of Lot 1, TSC Addition, and abutting and lying east and south of South Mentzer Street. There was no discussion of the annexation.
• Authorized the public works director to fix hazardous or otherwise nuisance sidewalk at 923 E. First Ave. and 700 W. Fourth Ave.
The West Fourth Avenue project was complaint-based when a person tripped and fell and came to City Hall with blood showing after the fall.
• Approved a resolution that would bring the city into compliance with new state regulations requiring certain rules be applied to special alcohol licenses. The city will retain the right to issue “unlimited” licenses and will set ground rules for organizations or individuals to have and use the licenses.
• Held the second reading and adopted an ordinance that would supplement the police portion of the general fund budget with $2,500 for “utilities — storage building,” with funding from the general fund cash balance; the traffic portion of the general fund with $17,000 for signs, with funding from the general fund cash balance; the fire portion of the general fund with $2,500 for professional services, with funding from the general fund cash balance; the debt service funds special revenue fund with $2,100 for bond fees in the Iverson TIF, $2,100 for bond fees in the Westwood TIF and $2,100 in the Vantage TIF, all from debt service funds cash balance; and the airport enterprise fund with $1,750 for overtime, from the airport fund’s cash balance.
• Conducted the first reading of an ordinance supplementing the budget with the revolving loan fund money and $1,805 from the E-911 special revenue fund for refunds and reimbursements, with funding from an overpayment.
• Set June 28 as the date to receive and consider bids for a Hitchcock and Pioneer parks irrigation materials installation.
• Set July 5 as the date for a hearing on the collection of special assessments for sidewalk, hazardous sidewalk and nuisance abatements.
• Set 5:30 p.m. Sept. 13 as the time and date for a surplus auction at the city storage building at 5951 Airport Road.
• Approved 2012 Planning and Development District III dues of $10,679.
• Approved a Corn Palace roofing repair from 2011 budgeted building repairs for sidewalk and door replacement, in the amount of $49,000.
Corn Palace Director Mark Schilling said the sidewalk and doors can wait but the south end of the roof is in serious need of repair. He said there are leaks. The other half of the roof is in “adequate” shape, he said.
• Approved an agreement regarding the state’s acquisition of right-of-way for a Havens Avenue construction project.
• Approved a work order for consultant services for the 23rd Avenue project from Main Street to Ohlman Street with the state Department of Transportation and SPN & Associates, which lists a “maximum limiting amount” of $37,573.92.
• Approved paying estimates and bills.
• Set a noon Monday meeting to canvass the results of today’s election.