De Smet Common Council met May 12 at the Events Center for their monthly meeting. The council had 32 items on their agenda and covered it in three hours. Alderman for Ward I, Jay Slater, did not run for reelection, and the night’s meeting was his last in his official capacity. The council passed a resolution to honor Slater for his four years of work on the council. Cole Munger ran unopposed in Slater’s Ward I, and he was sworn in at the meeting. He will serve a two-year term. Ward II Alderman, Bret Jensen, Ward III Alderman, Shon Asleson, and Mayor Gary Wolkow all started new terms and were sworn in as well.
The council also held election for their group, and president for the council is Butch Hansen. George Cavanaugh will serve as vice-president. The council appointed Tracey Larson as the City Finance Officer and Todd Wilkinson as their city attorney. They approved American Bank and Trust and Dakotaland as the official bank, and the council selected Kingsbury Journal as their official newspaper. The council also made their committee assignments. Council members retained their normal assignments, and Munger was placed on the committees that Slater had previously filled.
Shane Waterman and engineer with IMEG/Clark Engineering addressed the council, giving them an update on the waterline looping project. He told the council he has been unable to contact the contractor to get an estimated start date. The project is supposed to be completed by October 1.
On the Main Street Project, the preliminary estimate is just over $5,000,000. This would include an area from Highway 14 to the railroad tracks and cover one block east and one block west the entire length of Calumet Avenue. This project could be scaled down based on actual cost estimates and committees’ decisions. Waterman said the engineer’s report will be $385,000, and they would need a payment of ten percent to get started.
Waterman shared with the council about funding and using Community Access Money available from South Dakota. A deadline is July 15, and he did not think the city would be ready to meet that deadline. He also shared some other funding or grants the project would be eligible for.
The city will be exploring all the funding sources available. In addition to the grants available, there is also COVID money, and there may be infrastructure money available soon with President Biden’s 2-4.6 trillion infrastructure proposal called American Jobs Plan. The city will work with First District in Watertown to help with the project and seeking grants and government moneys.
On July 1, medical marijuana is supposed to be legal in South Dakota after two propositions were passed in the last state election. That action is tied up in the South Dakota Supreme Court, and a decision is not expected any time soon. The council had their first reading of the ordinance that prohibits the issuance of a medical marijuana dispensary in the city limits until the State Supreme Court makes a ruling on the matter. At the next meeting, the council will listen to public comments about the proposed ordinance and vote on it.
On/off sale of malt beverages and South Dakota farm wine licenses were renewed by the council for Wendy Lu Lounge/Klinkel’s, Wheaties, General Store, Oxbow Restaurant, Cowboy Country Store, The Main Stop, Kingsbury Club House, Maynard’s and Dollar General Store.
A new application for the on/off sale of malt beverages and South Dakota farm wine was submitted by Fields Fish and Game. They will be located behind Dakotaland and to the east of the carwash. There was one objection to the new license, but the council approved the application.
The city council approved a special liquor license for the De Smet Volunteer Fire Department for June 5, from 4 p.m. to midnight at the Event Center. The fire department and Wendy Lu Lounge/Klinkel’s were approved for June 12 from 5 p.m. to midnight on Main Street or at the Event Center in case of inclement weather.
The council also approved closing Calumet Avenue between 2nd and 3rd Street on June 12 for a street dance in conjunction with Old Settler’s Day activities.
Jason Springer, Superintendent of Buildings and Parks, reported to the council that there are two leaks at the swimming pool. One leak is because the mainline near the shut off valve froze this winter and will need to be repaired. The second leak occurred last year. The line underneath the kiddie pool is leaking, and in order to access it and fix it, a lot of concrete will have to be cut or jackhammered out. The council told him to expedite the repairs so the pool could be filled and allowed to warm up and be ready for the summer.
The council also approved the purchase of six portable chairs that will be available for rental at the pool for $10 a day.
Springer updated the council, saying he and his crews are busy spraying weeds, planting grass and cutting and trimming trees. They had planted a tree for Arbor Day. He will be replacing some of the barbeque grills at Washington Park to keep them usable.
Director of the De Smet Development Corporation, Rita Anderson, told the council the new day care will be opening soon. Groundwork has already begun on the new townhomes in the Wilder Pass subdivision. She said there was a good response to the townhomes. Anderson also told the council a 15–20-unit apartment complex is ready to be built; they just need some land, and the development corporation is working on acquiring that. She mentioned a new business, De Smet Mercantile and Coffeehouse, is expected to open the first part of June.
Anderson says that the consensus is that South Dakota tourism is expected to be high this year, which should be good for our local economy. She also reported that the new community guides are out and then passed one to each council member and the mayor.
• The council approved three pay requests. The first was to Helms and Associates for their work on the airport turnaround project in the amount of $574.09. A payout was made to J7J Earthworks in the amount of $20,261.91 for the work on the airport turnaround. The final payout of $1,803.63 was made to Clark Engineering for their work on the water looping project.
• Building permits were approved for Siver Rentals, LLC for a residential structure, Daniel Piehl for a privacy fence, Richard Janssen for a concrete patio, Phyllis Poppen for a deck, Jennifer Grover for a privacy/chain-link fence and Brandon Vockrodt for a garden shed.
• The city pool needed two more lifeguards and two more for basket help and filled all four slots with the applications received.
• Chad Kruse gave a report to the council about the Old Settler’s Day preparations. Things are going well; the parade will be at noon on the 12th; the street dance will be hosted by the firefighters.
• The council spent close to one hour in executive session.
• Braun Intertec was chosen to do the acceptance testing for the airport turnaround project. Their fees would be $4,780 for asphalt testing.
• Permission was given to apply for the Department of Health mosquito grant.
• The council approved the fire department’s request to apply for a Wildland Fire Grant to purchase a skid unit for a side-by-side unit they have. The cost of the skid unit is $7,533.
• The Hazel L. Meyer Memorial Library staff requested to apply for a $5,000 grant from the American Rescue Plan, and the council approved it.
• The council agreed to move the June meeting to June 14.
• A custom-made reception desk for the Event Center was donated, and the council accepted the gift. The person behind the donation wishes to remain anonymous. The council also wished to express their thanks to the donor for the generous gift.