The Milbank City Council convened for their regular meeting on Monday, July 11, at the Milbank Visitor Center.
The council approved the minutes from the June 13 and June 20 meetings. No treasurer’s report was presented. Bills in the amount $432,820.41 were approved for payment.
Mayor Pat Raffety thanked longtime councilmembers Scott Hoeke and Steve Wiener for their efforts on the board. Hoeke was not present, but Wiener was applauded for his 24-plus years serving the City of Milbank.
In new business, the appointment of John Weyh to a one-year term as the Ward One councilman was acknowledged, but approval was moved to the August meeting as Mr. Weyh was unable to attend the July meeting.
Craig Weinberg, the newest member elected to the council, was sworn in by Mark Reedstrom and began his term in office. He represents Ward Two. Weinberg’s wife, son, and parents attended the ceremony. The oath of office was also administered to Mayor Pat Raffety, and councilmen Roger Briggs and Josh Karels.
Roll was called. Briggs, Mike Hanson, Karels, Mindy Rogers, and Weinberg were present. Weyh was absent.
During the election of officers, it was noted that in the absence of the mayor, the president of the council is next in line to serve. He or she then has the authority to conduct meetings and sign checks, etc. In the absence of both the mayor and the president, the vice president then assumes those duties.
Rogers nominated Hanson for president. Weinberg seconded the motion. Briggs nominated Karels for vice president, and Hanson seconded it. The vote was unanimous.
The council also voted to approve the mayor’s employee appointments: John Forman will remain as the city administrator, Cynthia Schumacher as the finance officer, Boyd VanVooren as the chief of police, David Giesen as the fire chief, Weyh and Justin Mathiason as the assistant fire chiefs, and Reedstrom as the city’s attorney.
The mayor’s committee assignments for 2022- 2023 were also approved:
Airport and Finance – Pat Raffety
Fire -John Weyh
Grant County Development Corporation and Milbank Area Chamber liaison – Craig Weinberg
Grant County Emergency Board- John Weyh
Housing and Development – Mike Hanson and Josh Karels
Lake Farley- Mike Hanson Josh Karels
Parks and Cemetery – Mindy Rogers
Personnel- Craig Weinberg
Planning & Zoning- Craig Weinberg
Property Standards- Mike Hanson
Police- Mike Hanson
Rubble Site-John Weyh
Streets- John Weyh
Unity Health & Fitness – Mindy Rogers
Wastewater – Josh Karels
Water – Roger Briggs
Raffety addressed the council and said, ”Even though you are assigned to specific areas of the city, I encourage everyone to get involved in every part of the operations so you have a good understanding and we can have knowledgeable conversations about what is going on. You are not going to step on anyone’s toes. So, feel free to ask questions, tour facilities, or whatever you would like to do.”
The council then approved Rodney Thaden, Neil Folk, Nic Bray, and Jacob Wellnitz to Milbank’s reserve police officer roster. The fire department roster was also approved and an amendment was passed to add their newest member, Troy Morton.
The council approved the transfer of the retail (on-sale) liquor license from Lantern Inn Inc. to AA Restaurants, LLC dba Sly’s Steak House R2 at 1012 S. Dakota Street, Lots 3 & 4 in Redman Acres, Milbank, SD.
The consent agenda was also approved: 1. Ratified the hiring of Unity staff members Jessica Bohlen and Linda Schmidt in guest services at $12.03. 2. Approved Change Order #2, AWOS III-Project #3-46-0034-018-20021, decrease $6,686.80. Approve Certificate of Approval for final payment, $14,172.89. 3. Approve Change Order #2, West 7th Ave Project increase of $45,172.85. Weinberg asked if the increase for the 7th Avenue project was due to items the city had requested. Forman replied in the affirmative.
During the water report, it was stated that Milbank is using 70 percent spring water
During the housing report, it was noted that during the last meeting, the mayor had recommended the city earmark the extra revenue the city will see from the Valley Queen project to go toward housing and development. The mayor referred to the housing study completed in May 2022 that indicates the same information as the housing study that was done in 2015. Raffety said, “We have needed to do something for some time. Fortunately, we have good funding courtesy of that project.”
Resolution 7-11-22 laid out the framework for an agreement with the Grant County Development Corporation in order to use the money to assist in the infrastructure development for new housing developments in Milbank. The agreement gives the council oversight in the partnership.
No decision was made on the distribution of funds, but the council indicated they were in favor of the arrangement. The mayor appointed Karels and Hanson to the review board with the GCDC members. Resolution 7-11-22 was passed by the council.
The report on the streets stated the weekly sweeping of highways and downtown streets is ongoing. The parks and cemetery report included notice of a donation of 14 spruce trees to be planted in the cemetery. John Maynes donated the trees.
Earlier in the meeting, and during the public comments portion of the agenda, Virgil Snell addressed his questions about rates at the rubble site to the board.
A memorandum of understanding to delineate the use of Hurley Park by the Milbank School District as a practice football field was also brought forth. The agreement begins August 1, 2022, and remains in effect through November 30, 2027. Weinberg questioned its effect on the soccer program. Forman explained the understanding allows for both football practice and youth soccer this fall at Hurley Park and until the youth soccer fields at Lake Farley Park are completed. Completion at Farley Park is scheduled for next spring. The memorandum of understanding was passed by the council.
The next meeting of the council is a special meeting set for Monday, July 18, at the Milbank Visitor Center at 6 p.m. A bid for the construction of the American Legion Baseball field will be approved. The deadline for bids is July 14.
The next regularly-scheduled meeting of the council is set for Monday, August 8 at 7 p.m.