Funding efforts for the city's wetland project along Firesteel Creek are beginning to take shape after the Mitchell City Council approved an agreement designed to develop a grant application for $1 million.

Mitchell Mayor Bob Everson laid out the details of the agreement during Monday's meeting at City Hall, and said the city would seek a consultant to assist in writing a grant application to the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA). The grant would come close to matching the city's $1.6 million that's been set aside for the $4.1 million land purchase of the Kelley property located 1.5 miles west of Lake Mitchell.

The city will be hiring independent contractor Steve Donovan as the consultant for assisting the city in writing the $1 million grant application to NAWCA. As a former employee with Ducks Unlimited, Donovan has a history of success in securing grants with NAWCA, according to Everson. The city will pay Donovan $9,400 for his consulting services.

"We've been having discussions with Mr. Donovan about helping us write grants, and he is willing to help us write the grant for the Kelley property and NAWCA money that we're trying to get," Everson said.

The grant would also go toward the city's efforts to help cooperating landowners along Firesteel Creek implement sustainable farming practices aimed at improving Lake Mitchell, Everson said.

According to previous studies on the lake, 53 percent of the phosphorus enters the lake from Firesteel Creek, while 47 percent is in the lake itself.

By working with landowners along Firesteel Creek to help spur more conservation activities such as no-till, cover crop rotations and planting buffer strips, Everson is hopeful the collaborative efforts would significantly reduce the phosphorus making its way into the creek and lake.

Everson provided a timeline for the grant application to be completed and written in full by the end of May, while the proposal submission is expected to be in by June.

"We hope he will increase our success rate with how familiar he is with this process," Everson said of Donovan.

Part of the grant proposal entails $100,000 to be spent on administrative and personnel costs incurred by the city of Mitchell.

Council President Steve Rice asked if $100,000 is a typical price tag for administrative costs in a $1 million grant.

In response to Rice's inquiry, City Administrator Stephanie Ellwein said the administrative amount is usually set by the grant parameters to begin with, which allows up to a percentage of the grant. According to Ellwein, some of the administrative costs typically include accounting requirements and reporting requirements, to name a few.

Ellwein said funding for the $9,400 consulting fee will come out of the money set aside by the council for the Lake Mitchell development.

According to Ellwein, the city's 2019 Budget includes $212,000 for Lake Mitchell Development. Of that budget, $63,000 is allocated for the cost of issuance of bonds for the purchase of the Kelley property; and $40,000 is allocated for the down payment required for the purchase of the property. The $9,400 consulting fee will be taken from the remaining $109,000 in the 2019 approved budget for Lake Mitchell Development, Ellwein said.

Everson noted the NAWCA grant proposal is one of many the city hopes to secure for funding the wetland project.

Everson said $212,000 of funding comes from Poet's payment to the city.

Donovan anticipates to find roughly eight to 10 additional partners in the grant proposal, which Everson said increases the likelihood of solidifying the NAWCA grant.

"(Donovan) knows a lot of people that could be great partners as well, and that is key for us to get the grant," Everson said.

Consent agenda

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

• Approved the minutes of the April 15 council meeting, and April 29 work session.

• Approved minutes from the March 25 city planning commission meeting.

• Approved department reports.

• Approved Sidewalk Committee and Public Health and Safety Committee meeting minutes.

• Approved minutes from April 8 Planning and Zoning Commission.

• Set the date for the following raffle permits: Mitchell Heart and Sole Cancer Walk and Coborn's with a drawing to be held on May 11; Moose Lodge #875 with a drawing to be held on August 31; Mitchell Aquatic Club with the drawing to be held on September 15, 2019.

• Approved taxi license application for Patrick Murray, of Lyft.

• Approved change order No. 1 for city project No. 2019-22, Sanborn Boulevard utility and street improvement phases II and III.

• Approved application for Department of Transportation capital grant funds for software and hardware.

• Approved Parks and Recreation Department's request to submit an application for the Wellmark Foundation Matching Assets to Community Health (MATCH) Grant, which would go toward Dry Run Creek skate park upgrades.

• Approved purchase of a large field mower for Cadwell Park in the amount of $64,177.45.

• Approved airport independent fee evaluation for reconstruction of airport runway project, which city staff recommends entering an agreement with Ulteig, an engineering consulting firm. The estimated cost for the independent fee evaluation is $3,500.

• Approved gas and fuel quotations.

• Approved May 6 pay estimates.

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

Other business

• Pledge of Allegiance, received invocation from Harvest Community, roll call, heard citizens' input.

• Approved consent agenda.

• Met as the Board of Adjustment and reconvene as the city council.

• Held hearing on the following applications: On the application of the Corn Palace Shrine Club for a special event liquor license to be located at the Masonic Temple for weddings on June 7, June 14 and Sept. 21.

• Set date for Board of Adjustment hearings: May 20, 2019 for Terrance and Michelle Lynde's application for a front yard variance of 13 feet rather than 25 feet as required to construct a covered porch and placement of an accessory building at their home located at 324 E. 14th Ave; May 20 for Carlos and Alayna Reyes's application for a conditional use permit to operate a family residential child care center to be located at 412 E. 12th Ave., legally described as lot 11, block 1, city of Mitchell. The property is zoned R2 single family residential district.

• Held hearing and approved the following as Board of Adjustment: Brenda Oleson and Dan Hauser's application for a front yard variance of 10 feet vs. 25 feet as required for moving of an existing accessory building located at 721 W. Hanson Ave; the property is zoned R2 single family residential district. Gary and Sandy Butterfield's application for a backyard variance of 20 feet vs 25 feet as required and an oversized variance of 1,848 square feet vs 1,200 square feet as required for the purpose of constructing an accessory building located at 700 W. Pine Ave; the property is zoned PD Mueller Lumber Morningview subdivision planned development district. On Sight Storage's application for a conditional use permit to operate a self-service storage facility located at 120 S. Lawler St., which is the current location of The Daily Republic. The property is zoned as Central Business District.

• Reconvened as city council.

• Approved and awarded Commercial Asphalt's $594,652 bid, for paving and overlay projects. The paving and overlay projects include Rowley Street from Havens Avenue to Andrews Streets, Spruce Street from Burr to Rowley Streets, Cabela Drive from Rowley to Spruce Streets, West Harmon Drive near 407th Avenue and the Canal Bridge. The parking lots included in the project are Second Avenue and Rowley Street, James Valley Community Center and the Rec Center parking lots. The city's street maintenance budget for overlay and road patching projects is $554,992, while the parking lots budget is at $100,000.

• Held hearing and approved a resolution declaring the necessity for the construction of sidewalks on certain streets in the city of Mitchell, which includes Spruce from Burr Street to Cabela Drive, Cabela Drive from Spruce Street, South Rowley Street from Miedema driveway to Norway Avenue, West Seventh Avenue from Edgerton to Iowa Streets, West Eighth Avenue between Edgerton and Iowa Streets and Main Street from Bypass to existing sidewalk in front of the Palace Mall.

• Authorized Resolution No. R2019-32, to apply for waste tire collection and disposal grant from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in the amount $24,000. The grant is being offered by the state to help control the zika virus.

• Approved Resolution No. R2019-33, an encroachment easement in relation to the estate of Vicki L. Phillips located south of 101 West Cedar Ave.

• Approved Resolution No. R2019-34, A Plat of lots 1 and 2 in the south half and north half of the southeast corner of Section 3 in Davison County.

• Approved Resolution No. R2019-35, A Plat Of Lot 4, Block 5 of the Woods First addition, a subdivision of the east half of the southwest quarter of section 23, in the city of Mitchell.

• Approved Resolution No. R2019-36, Avera Queen of Peace's petition to vacate a portion of North Langdon Street, running north and south between the west side of lot 8, block 3 and lot 1, block 1 in the Greenridge addition.

• Approved Resolution No. R2019-38, a resolution amending Resolution No. R2018-60 for loan for Phases II and III of the Sanborn Boulevard project, which passed Nov. 5, 2018.

• Held second reading of Ordinance No. O2019-06, an ordinance regarding James and Julie Thue's request for the property legally described as lot C in the east half of the northeast quarter of section 30, of the fifth P.M. to be rezoned from Transportation, Warehousing and Commercial, or TWC, District to Urban Development District.

• Approved Agreement No. A2019-22, proposal for consulting services for design and permitting services for Dry Run Creek infrastructure design group project No. 2019-33.

• Approved Agreement No. A2019-23, proposal for consulting services for project No. 2019-3, which would develop a grant for $1 million with the North American Wetlands Conservation Act. The grant would go toward the city of Mitchell working with landowners along Firesteel Creek to implement a variety of conservation activities such as no-tilling and cover crops.

• Approved Agreement No. A2019-24, consulting services for East Central Drainage Basin Improvements Phase II with SPN and Associates, of Mitchell.

• Entered into an executive session, citing contract negotiations with employees or employee representatives, and no action was taken.