Council backs resolution to eliminate committees

Mitchell City Hall.jpg
Mitchell City Hall (Republic file photo)

The Mitchell City Council opted to disband a handful of committees during Monday’s meeting.

The Finance Committee, Lake Committee, Public Health and Safety Committee, Public Properties Committee, Public Works and Sidewalk Committees are among the committees that will no longer consist of designated board members. The council agreed unanimously of the change. However, the impacted committees will be ushered into the City Council’s jurisdiction, excluding the Lake Committee due to its recent transition into becoming a nonprofit organization.

Thus, the council will serve as the members of the eliminated committees, Mitchell Mayor Bob Everson said.

“We are eliminating the need to have the amount of committees meet as much as they did,” Everson said. “People are still going to have the opportunity to speak on the individual items in the committees.”

The existing process for the committees entails the City Council hearing the committee reports during council meetings followed by the approval of the minutes and recommendations made from the respective committees immediately after those meetings.


However, a recent state law changed that process, which now mandates the City Council to approve the committee meeting minutes and the recommendations made from the committee members during the following council meeting. The change would mean the council must wait a full two weeks after the committee meetings to approve the recommendations and decisions made at those respective meetings.

“We’ve found and determined we could do without some of the extra committees we have,” Everson said. “For the most part, most of these committees took place at council meetings, and the discussions included the council members.”

By eliminating the respective committees, Everson said the council’s decision to do without them helps streamline the process.

Council member Steve Rice voiced several concerns from citizens regarding the elimination of the committees, which centered around eliminating more public input that is expressed within the committees.

“I want to point out that we’re not trying to eliminate citizens’ input. All of these opportunities for input that takes place in these committees will still take place at City Council meetings,” Rice said. “We will give anybody and everybody their time to speak to us.”

According to Everson, the Lake Committee has transitioned into becoming a nonprofit organization now known as Friends of Firesteel.

Because Lake Mitchell is a municipal lake, City Administrator Stephanie Ellwein said the recommendations made from the nonprofit board would be heard by the City Council during its regular meetings.

Council member Jeff Smith raised an inquiry regarding why the Traffic Commission wasn’t included in the elimination of the committees.


In response, City Attorney Justin Johnson said the Traffic Commission has its own chapter in the city’s code, which means further measures will need to take place before a Traffic Commission shakeup.

Everson noted he is the midst of discussing some changes to the Traffic Commission. The Public Safety Director currently serves as the chairman of the Traffic Commission, which Everson highlighted as one of the changes he intends to make.

“I don’t think it’s right that an employee of the city be chairing their bosses,” Everson said of the existing Traffic Commission setup. “There will be more to come for the Traffic Commission changes.”

Citizens’ input

During the citizens’ input portion of the meeting, former council member and mayoral candidate Mel Olson expressed his support for the council’s decision to eliminate the committees included in the approved resolution.

“I always thought it was crazy that we would sit as the council and go through the committee process, and then do it all over again during the meeting,” Olson said. “I applaud this consolidation.”

Olson then voiced his concerns around the city’s one-way and two-way streets, which he said has caused confusion for drivers in the midst of the ongoing road construction.

“It’s a mess. When you come off the Highway 37 Bypass, it’s a two-way street for a time, which then turns into a one-way,” Olson said. “And now it’s a two-way on Minnesota Street to Sanborn where you can’t cross, which switches back to a one-way and people are confused. I don’t think it’s very safe.”

Olson noted he petitioned to keep some of the one-way streets in the past. However, Olson said he’s changed his mind, affirming his newfound support for two-way streets.


“I recall when Jeff Logan unearthed the history of why the city had one-way streets, and evidently it was intended for an evacuation route in the case of a nuclear event,” Olson said. “I think we are past that time, and I urge you to implement two-way streets.”

Consent Agenda

The following items were considered as part of the consent agenda:

  • Approved the minutes of the June 17 council meeting.

  • Approved minutes of past committee meetings: June 17, 2019, Traffic Commission; June 17, 2019, Public Health and Safety; June 10, 2019, Planning Commission.

  • Set the date for the following raffle permits: Moose Lodge with a drawing to be held on July 20; Palace City Pedalers with a drawing to be held on August 17; Mitchell Friends of NRA with a drawing to be held on September 7; Mitchell High School Football with a drawing to be held on October 16; Davison County Democrats with the drawing to be held on October 15.

  • Set the date for the following hearing: July 17 for the application of The Back 40 for a retail (on-off) sale malt beverage license located at 511 North Main Street, Mitchell, South Dakota (video lottery not included).

  • Set the date for the following bid openings: July 29 for rock salt supply project No. 2019-27; July 9 for waste tire collection and disposal project No. 2019-44.

  • Appointed city council members to serve as members, liaisons, ex-officios on volunteer boards: Steve Rice, Chamber of Commerce Board; John Doescher, Community Services Board; Susan Tjarks, Convention and Visitors Bureau Board; Jeff Smith, Corn Palace Events and Entertainment Board; Steve Rice, Golf and Cemetery Board; Jeff Smith, Mitchell Area Development Corporation Board; Susan Tjarks, Mitchell Main Street and Beyond Board; Marty Barington, Parks and Recreation Board; Dan Allen, Planning and Zoning Board; Jeff Smith, Sports and Events Authority Board.

  • Approved declaring surplus for the Chief of Public Safety badges, name tag and handgun, which would be given to Lyndon Overweg as he has retired after 31 years of service.

  • Approved July 1 pay estimates.

  • Approved June 25 gas and fuel quotations.

  • Approved bills, payroll, salary adjustments and new employee hires.

  • Approved June 25 gas and fuel quotations.

Other business

  • Pledge of Allegiance, received invocation from Seventh Day Adventist, roll call, heard citizens’ input.

  • Recommendation by Mitchell Mayor Bob Everson for reappointing the following department heads: Michelle Bathke, finance officer; Kyle Croce, Public Works director; Justin Johnson, city attorney; Billie Kelly, human resources director; Jessica Pickett, community services director; Nathan Powell, parks and recreation director; Scott Schmidt, Corn Palace director; Kevin Thurman, golf and cemetery director.

  • Held elections for City Council President and Vice President. The council unanimously approved (elected) Kevin McCardle as City Council President and Dan Allen as City Council Vice President.

  • Approved consent agenda, excluding appointing members to the Nuisance Appeals Board.

  • Held hearings and approved the following: The application of West Coast Tacos for an (on-off sale) malt beverage license to be located at 108 N. Main St. (video lottery not included); The application of Corn Palace Shrine Club’s special event liquor license to be located at the Masonic Temple on July 28 for a banquet; The application of Corn Palace Shrine Club’s special event liquor license to be located at the Masonic Temple on Aug. 2, for a golf banquet; The application to transfer retail (on sale) from American Legion Coacher-Goetsch Post 18 to Mitchell Area Development Corporation.

  • Approved authorization of request for contingency funds to purchase two tee-mowers and reels for golf and cemetery.

  • Approved authorization of request for contingency funds to purchase two additional basketball hoops at the Corn Palace.

  • Approved request for authorization of contingency funds for repairs to Innovative and Country Drives, street improvement Project No. 2019-42.

  • Approved moving permit for Ryan Schoenfelder’s existing house to be moved from Sanborn County to 24905 407th Ave in Davison County.

  • Met as the Board of Adjustment.

  • Set the date for the following Board of Adjustment hearings: July 15 for Michele Hanten’s application for a conditional use permit to operate an animal hospital, clinic, boarding and shelter facility located 1104 W. Havens, legally described as irregular tract six, lot six and irregular tract eight, platted various, in the southwest quarter of Section 21, township 103 north, range 60 west, city of Mitchell; July 15 for Amanda Nava’s application for a conditional use permit to operate a family residential child care business located at 516 W. 10th Ave., legally described as lot eight, block 39, capital addition, city of Mitchell.

  • Reconvened as City Council.

  • Approved Resolution No. R2019-47, a plat of lot 10, block 4 of Westwood first addition, a subdivision of block of a portion of tract A-2 and block 4 of Westwood first addition in the northwest quarter of section 16, township 103 north, range 60 west of the fifth P.M, city of Mitchell.

  • Approved Resolution No. R2019-48, a plat of lot 8, block 9 of Westwood first addition, a subdivision of block 4 of Westwood first addition in the northwest quarter of section 16, township 103 north, range 60 west of the fifth P.M, city of Mitchell.

  • Approved Agreement No. A2019-27, developers and owners of D&D Long's first addition for utility extension project No. 2019-31.

  • Awarded bid to Metro Construction for D&D Long's utility extension project No. 2019-31.

  • Approved Agreement No. 2019-28, professional services agreement for phase II of the Corn Palace Plaza design. The agreement will allow for the construction/design of the phase II features for the Corn Palace Plaza. The project was included as part of the 2019 budget to be paid for with entertainment tax funds under "community projects". Phase II additions would include the Shade Structure with misting feature, the stage, and east entry feature.

  • Held first reading of Ordinance No. O2019-09, an ordinance of the city of Mitchell that changes the zoning district classification of the real property legally described as block 19, home park first addition, Davison County, from R4 high density residential district to Transportation, Warehousing, and Commercial (TWC) District.

  • Entered into an executive session, citing legal discussion, and no action was taken.

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