The Milbank City Council held their regular meeting on July 13 at 7 p.m. in the Milbank Community Room.
Josh Karels was sworn in as the newest member of the city council. Karels was appointed by Mayor Pat Raffety to fill a one-year term for Ward Three. The seat was vacated by Evan Grong in April.
An election for council positions was also conducted. Scott Hoeke was elected president and Mike Hanson was elected vice president.
The council approved six additional mayoral appointments — all incumbents:
John Forman- City Administrator
Cynthia Schumacher- Finance Officer
Mark Reedstrom- City Attorney
Boyd VanVooren- Police Chief
Kevin Schuelke- Fire Chief
David Giesen and Justin Mathiason- Assistant Fire Chiefs
The current rosters for fire department and reserve police officers were also approved.
The council accepted the resignation of police officer Paige Zempel. Zempel has accepted a position with the South Dakota Highway Patrol.
The council approved the motion to pay the city’s June bills for a combined total of $356,468.68. They also approved a $1,000 transfer from the contingency fund to the council proceedings fund.
The council approved Resolution 7-13-20. The resolution allows for contractual documents with the State of South Dakota for the receipt of Cares Act Funds.
The city refinanced a long-term bond. The refinance is expected to save $290,000 over the life of the bond.
The council passed Resolution 7-13-20B with a 3-2 vote. Weiner, Johnson, and Hanson were in favor of the resolution; Hoeke and Karels opposed.
Resolution 7-13-20B was presented to the council by a special committee designed to study the traffic issues surrounding the new elementary school. Milbank Police Chief VanVooren stated the path and loop for parents to drop off students includes nearby blocks that are very narrow.
The resolution states there will be no parking any time on the west side of Ninth Street between Fourth Avenue (US Highway 12) and Seventh Avenue; the north side of Summit Avenue between Seventh and Ninth Street; and the south side of Fifth Avenue between Seventh and Ninth street. The resolution also includes a No Turn sign at the intersection of the new elementary school exit and Ninth Street directly across from Fifth Avenue.
During open public discussion, Milbank residents Steve and Vicki Strege requested action to alleviate the drainage issues in Pribyl Park and surrounding their home in Vista Villa. Valley gutter has been installed to help address the issue. The council pointed to future plans for two detention ponds to be built during the expansion of the Milbank Industrial Park, which they believe will reduce the problem. The city also plans to mow ditches and complete some excavation work later this summer to offer some immediate relief.
Lance Hamann addressed the council regarding parking spaces outside Thrivent, his business on Main Street. Hamann said he had three parking spaces before the Main Street renovation. He said he is now down to one space and one handicap space. Hamann indicated many of his clients are elderly and would need to walk down the block or possibly cross an icy street in the winter. Councilman Hoeke and Milbank City Administrator Forman agreed to research a possible solution.
The City of Milbank’s water department received an award from the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources for drinking water compliance. Systems operations team specialists Richard Poppen, Donald Settje, Darin Thiele and Ronald VanHoorn were commended by Mayor Raffety for staying compliant with state water guidelines.
The mayor read the executive proclamation declaring Alphonse Joseph Holtzmann Day in Milbank on July 28. Mr. Holtzmann will celebrate his 100th birthday on July 28.
The next regularly scheduled meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Monday, August 10, at the Milbank Visitors Center.