Mitchell City Council to debate campaign finance reportingCity candidates are only local politicans who do not have to file reports.
By: Tom Lawrence, The Daily Republic
A proposed city law mandating campaign finance reporting will be debated at tonight’s Mitchell City Council meeting.
Councilman Mel Olson proposed the idea during the council’s July 18 meeting. He was asked to bring back draft ordinances for the council to review.
Olson, a former legislator, said he has long thought city candidates should be required to report who donated relatively large sums of money to their campaign just to keep things transparent for local residents. He said he didn’t think local candidates were doing anything illegal or unethical.
In July, Olson advocated following the procedure legislative candidates use, in which they report how much they spend on their own campaign and how much is raised in total. Contributions exceeding $100 would be reported and the donor named, while donations of $100 or less would be grouped together and reported in a lump sum, with no names revealed.
Candidates would also report how the money is spent in the campaign, under Olson’s proposal.
He would add a penalty for not reporting.
A candidate who won could not be seated until the report is filed. A defeated candidate could not run in the future until a report is filed.
Councilman Dan Allen opposed the plan during the July 18 meeting.
“I don’t think it’s anybody’s business where I get my money,” Allen said at the meeting.
Mayor Lou Sebert said he was concerned adding the requirement might keep some people from running. Sebert also said he wonders if policing the ordinance would be difficult.
Olson noted that candidates for the Mitchell school board, county offices and the Legislature have to file reports and there have been no rash of problems. He said if city candidates continue to not disclose their financial supporters, some people will always have questions.
Councilman Greg McCurry said reports should also be filed on ballot questions.
“You need to know it all or not,” McCurry said at the July meeting. “I don’t want to go halfway.”
Olson is not alone in his stance. The Focus 2020 Government Structures Committee recommended creating laws to require municipal candidates to file campaign finance reports.
The City Council meets at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall Council Chambers, 612 N. Main St. The meeting is open to the public and is also shown live on The Daily Republic website, www.mitchellrepublic.com
In other agenda items, the council will:
n Discuss creating a consolidated Board of Adjustment.
n Sit as the Board of Adjustment to review the application of Wolfgang Dallmann for a variance to construct a carport at 1035 E 5th Ave.
n Set a Sept. 19 date for hearing on the application to transfer retail (on-sale) liquor license to include Sunday sales from Bathke Enterprises LLC, which operates as One-Eyed Jack’s Casino Suite 108A, to Bathke Enterprises LLC, doing business as One-Eyed Jack’s Casino of Mitchell, located at1401 North Main St., Suite 108 A & B.
n Set an Oct. 3 date for a bid opening for Graceland Cemetery pre-assembled columbarium, city project 2011-42.
n Award the bid on the waste tire collection and disposal, city project 2011-28.
The city will serve as the agent for the tire collection and disposal project, which is being funded with grant dollars. Two bids have been submitted, both for $45,000, by New Deal Tire, of Groton, and Liberty Tire Services of Ohio, which has a location in Savage, Minn.
n Consider adopting Resolution 2939, an application for a grant under Section 5616 and 5317 of the South Dakota Department of Transportation, for Palace Transit. No dollar figure is listed on the draft resolution.
n Consider Resolution 2940, filing an amendment for grant under Section 5316 Job Access Reverse Commute (JARC) and the Federal Transit Administration Section 5317 New Freedom Funds for Palace Transit. Once again, no dollar figure is reported.
n Consider Resolution 2941, raise sewer rates by 15 cents per unit effective Nov. 1. It will raise rates by about $1 per month. The council agreed to the rate increase at its Aug. 16 budget hearing.
n Hold the first reading of Ordinance 2374, amending Mitchell City Ordinance 8-9-6-B(1) to clarify how sewer rates are computed based on the number of water meters. A local couple complained earlier this year that they were being overcharged.
n Consider Resolution 2942, the plat of Lot 12 and Lot 12A, block 1 of Westwood First Addition to the city of Mitchell. The city Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval.
n Consider Resolution 2943, Plat of Lots 1 and 2, Block 1 of CJM Second Addition, to the city of Mitchell. The planners also recommended approval on this item.
n Consider Resolution 2944, regarding tax improvement district fees.
n Hold the first reading of Ordinance 2372, rezoning real property described as the west 45 feet of the east 90 feet of lots seven and eight, bock 14, Railroad Addition to the city from Public Lands District (PL) to Highway Oriented Business (HB) and amending the official zoning map.
Chris and Julie Grillo, as Excel Construction, plan to build a 30-foot by 40-foot garage for storage.
n Hold the first reading of Ordinance 2373, the 2012 appropriation ordinance.
n Hold the first reading of Ordinance 2375, supplemental appropriations of $35,500 for the Parks and Recreation Department, $5,500 for the golf course, $3,000 for the cemetery and $5,000 for the community center.
n Hold the second reading of and consider adopting Ordinance 2371, a supplemental appropriation of $16,500 for the Sanborn concrete joint repair effort.
n Consider approval of an automatic supplement to the Special Revenue Fund, Parks and Recreation, in the amount of $2,798 for Cadwell Park improvements from a donation of funds.
n Review a request of the Mitchell Fire Division to submit an application for a ladder truck.
n Declare numerous items as surplus property, ranging from a color TV to a garbage truck to a pair of woman’s high heel shoes. Dozens of items will be declared surplus for the city’s annual auction.
n Review raffle requests: Catholic United Financial Mitchell Council, with the drawing to be held Oct. 9; John Paul II School, with the drawing to be held Oct. 22; Trinity Lutheran Church, with the drawing to be held Oct. 9 and Mitchell Area Optimist Club, with the drawing to be held Nov. 2.
n Approve pay estimates:
South side water tower project 2009-30 contracted to CB&I Inc. Pay estimate 14 in the amount of $56,370.
Lawler Street utilities project 2010-2 contracted to SPN & Associates. Pay estimate 12 in the amount of $746.25.
Lake Mitchell Campground riprap project 2010-5 contracted to SPN & Associates. Pay estimate 15 in the amount of $146.25.
Pebble Beach sidewalk project 2011-4A contracted to Big O Concrete. Pay estimate 1 in the amount of $12,407.80.
Mentzer sidewalk project 2011-4D contracted to Big O Concrete. Pay estimate 2 in the amount of $17,122.36.
Curb and gutter project 2011-14A & B contracted to Rexwinkel Concrete. Pay estimate 3 in the amount of $58,875.52.
Paving and overlay project 2011-15 contracted to Commercial Asphalt. Pay estimate 6 in the amount of $200,256.39, and pay estimate 7 in the amount of $31,262.34.
Sanborn Street panel repairs project 2011-22 contracted to Rexwinkel Concrete. Pay estimate 3, final, in the amount of $1,881.25.
Old landfill leachate monitoring project 2011-28 contracted to Leggette, Brashears and Graham. Pay estimate 3 in the amount of $641.27.
New landfill monitoring 2011-29 contracted to Leggette, Brashears and Graham. Pay estimate 4 in the amount of $697.05.
n The Sidewalk Committee and Public Health & Safety Committee will hold meetings before the council meeting.
The Sidewalk Committee will meet in front of City Hall at 6:40 p.m. for a tour to review current and proposed sidewalk projects.
The Public Health & Safety Committee is scheduled to convene at 7:25 p.m. back at City Hall to review a request for fireworks at the Mitchell High School homecoming game on Sept. 16.
n A New Home Lutheran representative is scheduled to give the invocation.