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Disagreements heard on mayor’s proposed parking plan

The complaints are rolling in against Mayor Jerry Toomey's pitch to increase enforcement of the city's parking ordinance. The discussion was held during Monday night's regular Mitchell City Council meeting held at City Hall. Last week, Toomey pro...

The complaints are rolling in against Mayor Jerry Toomey’s pitch to increase enforcement of the city’s parking ordinance.

The discussion was held during Monday night’s regular Mitchell City Council meeting held at City Hall.

Last week, Toomey proposed a plan to add stricter penalties to deal with vehicles parked in the city’s public lots in an effort to resolve public complaints. But Councilman Dan Allen fielded just as many, if not more, complaints in opposition to the plan.

Allen said he received two dozen phone calls about Toomey’s plan to enforce the portion of the ordinance barring vehicles from being parked in a public lot for more than 48 consecutive hours.

“Jerry, they think it’s just crazy,” Allen said.

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Under city ordinance, vehicles cannot park streetside or in a public lot for more than 48 hours, but Allen said the rule is not being enforced.

The parking ordinance update was eventually tabled following a long, wide-ranging discussion on the issue. Barring a special City Council meeting, it would be more than one month before an updated ordinance could go into effect as first and second readings have to be held.

Toomey has suggested allowing people to use public lots for long-term parking for more than 48 hours, but a fee of $5 per day would be imposed. Some council members, including Allen, wondered what impact the rule would have on local business.

“You’re going to drive business out of town,” Allen said. “I really do believe it.”

In support of Allen, Councilwoman Bev Robinson offered Muth Electric as an example of a business that uses the public lot on North Kimball Street. Robinson suggested some Muth Electric employees could leave their vehicles in the public lot for days while they make use of a company car, which would force them to pay Toomey’s proposed $5 per day fee.

For those reasons and more, Councilman Dave Tronnes suggested the ordinance updates be tabled to hear more input from the public. Allen emphatically agreed with Tronnes.

“We’ve waited for 30 years, so what’s the difference to wait for two weeks?” Allen asked.

Pool project takes another step Mitchell’s voter-approved aquatic facility took another step in the right direction Monday night.

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The council unanimously approved a $590,000 contract with MSH Architects and Counsilman-Hunsaker, a pool architect, to plan and construct the facility to be located next to the Mitchell Recreation Center on North Main Street.

Public Works Director Tim McGannon said the city chose MSH and Counsilman-Hunsaker after reviewing 500 to 700 pages of plan proposal documents.

The two companies expect to design the pool over the next 10 months and start work on the project immediately after. Once designs are completed, McGannon said it will take one year to finish construction and total project is expected to cost between $7 million and $7.5 million.

“It’s not going to happen overnight, and it’s not going to happen in a year,” McGannon said.

Councilwoman Susan Tjarks said she is disappointed in the project timeline, but City Administrator Stephanie Ellwein said sending the project out for bids in the fall rather than the winter would cause construction costs to rise.

Tronnes commended the choice of MSH and Counsilman-Hunsaker, who he categorized as “experts,” as it could help avoid a similar slew of change orders that occurred in the Corn Palace renovation project.

Consent agenda The council approved the following items of the consent agenda:

  • The City Council agenda and minutes from the March 21 council, March 14 Planning Commission and the March 21 Public Health and Safety Committee meetings.

  • Set date of 1:30 p.m. on April 25 to receive and consider bids for asphalt and concrete crushing, dump truck chassis and dump truck combination body and sander. The bids will be considered in Council Chambers at City Hall.

  • Set date of April 18 for a hearing on the application of Mitchell Main Street & Beyond for a special event permit and consumption permit located on Main Street for the Thursdays from June 2 to Sept. 1 for Downtown Thursdays.

  • Apply for $20,000 in mosquito control grant funds.

  • Raffle requests from Dakota Wesleyan University with the drawing to be held May 2; Family Visitation Center with the drawing to be held May 12; Mitchell Foundation for Catholic Education with the drawing to be held June 10; Heartland Quilt Guild with the drawing to be held June 25; Mitchell Mustang Baseball and Band of Brothers with the drawing to be held May 7.

  • Pay estimates, bills, salary adjustments, new employee hires and authorize the payment of recurring and other expenses in advance as approved by the finance officer.

Other business The following items are on the council’s agenda:

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  • Called the meeting to order, conducted the Pledge of Allegiance, heard an invocation from Northridge Baptist Church and conducted roll call.

  • During citizen input, Councilman Dave Tronnes asked about a loitering concern at the public parking lot between North Lawler Street and North Kimball Street. City Attorney Justin Johnson said he is still looking into possibilities to address the concern.

  • Mayor Jerry Toomey congratulated the city of Mitchell for winning an award for its wastewater management.

  • Councilman Jeff Smith recognized Mitchell High School Vocal Director Chris Miller for his service and Councilman Olson for serving as the Master of Ceremonies at the Mitchell Show Choir dinner theater.

  • Approved committee reports for the Public Works and Finance committees.

  • Held a hearing and approved the application to transfer retail on-sale liquor license RL-5353 from Dave Backlund Jr., doing business as Par Tee Bar, 117 S. Lawler St., to LAB LLC, doing business as DD’s, 501 S. Sanborn Blvd., suite 2. The item was moved from the consent agenda after Councilman Mel Olson questioned the inclusion of a hearing on the consent agenda. Olson suggested moving the item to offer the public a chance to speak on the license.

  • Held a hearing as the Board of Adjustment and approved on the application of G & O Properties LLC for a front yard variance of 20 feet versus 25 feet for the construction of a new home located at the 201 N. Marshall St., legally described as Lots 11 and 12, Block 5, ST Greene’s Addition.

  • Approved Resolution No. 3341 authorizing the Director of Public Safety to contract with officer candidates for a liquidated damage agreement, or repayment of training costs, to conform with state law.

  • Approved a training agreement for prospective law enforcement officers to comply with state law.

  • Approved Resolution No. 3342, a plat of Lot 13 in Tract H of the Wild Oak Golf Club Addition.

  • Approved Resolution No. 3343, a plat of Lot 19, Block 9 of CJM Second Addition, in the Northwest quarter of Section 32, Township 104 North, Range 60 west of the Fifth P.M.

  • Consider action to approve Resolution No. 3344, creating Tax Increment Financing District No. 22.

  • Approved Resolution No. 3345 for contingency transfers for a $27,325 contribution to the American Legion’s south wall, a $42,447 transfer for a fire truck bid that was over budget, a $3,000 core sampling study of Lake Mitchell, an additional $50,000 for the Hitchcock Park tennis courts and $15,000 for the demolition of a nuisance property on North Duff Street.

  • Held the second reading and adopted Ordinance No. 2530 to amend the Mitchell, S.D. City Code by changing the time for snow removal from sidewalks from 15 hours after snowfall to 48 hours after snowfall.

  • Held the second reading and adoption of Ordinance No. 2533 amending Section 4-2-7 of Title 4, Chapter 2, Liquor Control, by revising the provision relating to liquor licenses at municipal auditoriums and public convention halls. After hearing from Jim Taylor, attorney for the proprietors of OverTime Steakhouse & Sports Bar, the city raised the proposed special event beverage license limit from 20 in a calendar year to 200.

  • Held the first reading of Ordinance No. 2534 to rezone real property legally described as Lots 3 through 8, Knollwood Heights Second Subdivision from R2 Single Family Residential District to R4 High Density Residential District and amending the official zoning map of the city of Mitchell.

  • Approved bids for rock chips, phase two of a forcemain project, chip seal asphalt, the Hitchcock Park Tennis Courts and a storm pond on 23rd Avenue and Ohlman Street.

  • Held a meeting of the Public Works Committee, and the board approved a request to widen the entrance of Loma Linda Drive from 31 feet to 40 feet at a cost of approximately $5,400 to the city.

  • Held a meeting of the Finance Committee, and heard sales tax collections for the first quarter of 2016. Quarterly collection of the first and second penny sales tax was down by 10.01 percent for January to March and third penny sales tax for the same three-month period was down 5.8 percent. Councilman Jeff Smith suggested the presentation of monthly reports rather than quarterly to monitor tax collection.

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