McCurry thanked for service on Mitchell City CouncilMayor says he will appoint new member soon.
By: Tom Lawrence, The Daily Republic
Ward 4 Councilman Greg McCurry was silent as he was thanked for his service on the Mitchell City Council during Monday’s meeting.
Mayor Ken Tracy said McCurry, who was elected in June 2011 and is resigning because he is moving out of his ward, was a valued member of the council. Tracy awarded McCurry a plaque to commemorate his service.
“You weren’t here very long, but I think you made your mark,” he said.
Tracy urged him to remain active, although he said he couldn’t urge him to run against the current incumbents in Ward 3. Councilman Marty Barington said there are city committees that McCurry could serve on.
After the meeting, McCurry said, in a joking manner, that someone called him Monday and offered to finance his campaign if he runs against Ward 3 Councilman Phil Carlson.
Tracy said he plans to name someone to fill the seat in time for the council’s next meeting on Jan. 21. McCurry’s resignation, which he announced in December, is effective Jan. 15.
The new council member will serve the final year and a half of McCurry’s three-year term. The next municipal election is June 2014.
It will be the second council appointment for Tracy in his first seven months as mayor. He named Steve Rice to fill the Ward 1 seat he vacated when he was elected mayor. Tracy himself first joined the council through an appointment.
Construction contracts tabled by city officials
The council tabled proposed agreements between the city and Puetz Corp., of Mitchell, for architectural services, described as a “standard agreement between an owner and design professional,” and for construction management services, also labeled a “standard” agreement, pending the settlement of contract documents.
City Attorney Carl Koch issued an opinion on how the motion to approve this be structured based on state law, explaining the city was doing so because it was in “the public interest,” and the firm would not “unreasonably duplicate” its role as architect when acting as construction manager.
There has been some discussion on the legality of allowing Puetz to wear two hats during the construction project to expand the Mitchell Activities Center.
Councilman Mel Olson said he was concerned about a misstep that could harm the city’s efforts. Such a thing happened to Pierre when it was working on a major project. Carlson also advised caution.
Koch said he favored studying the matter for two more weeks and bringing it up at the Jan. 21 meeting. But he said others may not be as patient, and may seek to get work on the MAC done.
“I sense that urgency from the council tonight,” he said.
But the council decided to wait at least two more weeks. Council President Jeff Smith, who is on a committee working to raise $500,000 to add to the $2 million the city has pledged for the project, said he wanted to ensure it would return to the table in two weeks.
Sign ordinance advances
The council held the first reading of Ordinance 2422, a new sign ordinance that city staff has been working on for several months with the Planning and Zoning Commission.
City Planner Neil Putnam said he was also assisted by employees of other cities, as well as other people in the sign business. Putnam said the idea of doing this came from working on a new zoning code, and by noticing that sign regulations were “scattered” through city codes.
“The purpose of this was to consolidate it into one section,” he said.
Putnam said sign businesses in Mitchell are easy to work with, and he said they cooperate with him on a regular basis. Putnam said he tried to make the code reader-friendly so anyone could understand it.
It was moved to a second reading by a 7-1 vote, with Councilman Phil Carlson, who said he was concerned about over-regulation, casting the no vote.
In other business, the council:
• Heard a report from a Finance Committee meeting which was held prior to the council meeting.
The committee agreed to write off $18,824.11 in utility billings, which will be turned over to a collection agency. That’s less than one-half of 1 percent of the total annual billing, and one of the lesser amounts in the past decade.
Finance Officer Marilyn Wilson said about one-third of these funds, which are written off to keep books balanced, are eventually recovered.
• Adopted Resolution 3060, confirming the bid of $112,500 by Doug Iverson of Iverson Chrysler Center for city surplus property at the southwest corner of Burr and Ash.
Iverson was the sole bidder on the property. He said in December he plans to use the land for storage.
• Adopted Resolution 3061, leasing, for $1 from Porter-Haines, property for parking adjacent to the Corn Palace.
Dale Porter and Bruce Haines own the property. They have no objections to the public using the lot, but do not have the ability to clear snow from it, Tracy said.
The lease could be renewed for up to 15 years, according to the agreement. The city will be responsible for liability coverage, maintenance and snow removal of the lot, located east of the southeast corner of the Corn Palace.
• Reviewed a report from the Sidewalk Committee’s Dec. 17 meeting.
• Awarded a bid for class III concrete pipe, city project 2013-8, to CreTex Concrete, of Mitchell.
Public Works Deputy Director Terry Johnson said the company, which was the sole bidder on the job, has won the contract for the four years in a row now.
• Held the second reading of and adopted Ordinance 2421, amending City Code 8-1-1, which will add minimum design standards for city streets.
• Held the first reading of Ordinance 2423, 2012 supplemental appropriations of $19,000 to pay down bond principal; $29,500 for Water Division salaries, and $4,500 for group insurance for that division.
• Held the first reading of Ordinance 2424, 2013 supplemental appropriations of $17,753 for Fire Division salaries, $1,358 for OASI and $1,421 for retirement for the division; $5,296 for EMS salaries, $405 for OASI and $421 for salaries for the division; and $24,180 for a discount on bonds issued, and $8,320 to cover the costs of issuing the bonds..
• Confirmed insurance rates for city employees previously provided by approval of official contract with Dakotacare.
• Purchased off a state bid a half-ton 4-by-4 crew cab short box pickup for City Hall and Public Works for $22,777 from Billion Auto of Sioux Falls.
• Approved the application of the Palace City Lions Club for a Special Event Malt Beverage and Wine License at the Corn Palace and City Hall, 612 N. Main St., on Feb. 24 for the Winter Dance Party.
• Sat as the Board of Adjustment to set a Jan. 21 date for a hearing on the application of Scott and Michele Rumbolz for a front-yard variance at 725 S. Minnesota St.
• Set a Jan. 21 date for 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.
• Set a Jan. 28 date to receive and consider bids for a combination dump truck body/sander, city project 2013-17, at 1:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers.
• Set a Jan. 28 date to receive and consider bids for a ladder truck for the Fire Division, city project 2013-21, at 1:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers.
• Declared eight Mitchell banks as the official depositories for the city for 2013.
Councilman Jeff Smith, the chief financial officer of CorTrust Bank, abstained.
• Declared The Daily Republic as the official newspaper for the city for 2013.
• Approved these raffle requests: Mitchell Aquatic Club, with the drawing to be held on Jan. 15; Heart & Soul Cancer Walk, with the drawing to be held on Feb. 2; and Mitchell Gymnastics Booster Club Inc., with the drawing to be held on Feb. 10.
• Listened as Tracy noted that more than $34 million in building permits was issued during 2012 in Mitchell.
“We had a very good year of construction in the city,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll have another good year.”