Nehls says an emotional goodbye to city

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Mobridge Police Chief Mike Nehls submitted his letter of resignation to the city council Monday, April 16, retiring from law enforcement after more than 30 years.

In an emotion filled statement he told the council he was proud to have served the city for eight years and will have great memories of the years he lived here.

“This should be a joyous occasion for me,” he told the council, “but I am having different feelings tonight.”

He thanked the council for the eight great years he served as the chief and thanked the citizens of Mobridge for their support.

He said he has been considering retirement since August when he became eligible. He has received a job offer from the Groton School District and will return to his hometown to work.

“I want to express my sincere thanks to you for allowing me to serve as your police chief and putting your trust in me for eight years,” he said. “I especially want to thank Brooks Johnson who gave me a second chance and hired me back in 1992 and sent me to DARE training. That made a big difference in my life.”

He told the council he would always be an ambassador for Mobridge and he would be a frequent visitor.

“I have always said Mobridge was the best kept secret in South Dakota,” he said. “We have our problems but we live in a great city. It is a great place to raise a family.”

Mayor Kyle Jensen thanked Nehls for his years of service to the Mobridge community and for the changes he brought to the Mobridge Police Department.

“Through his work with DARE, he brought the program to great heights,” he said. “Mike does things by the books and brought a great amount of professionalism to that department.”

The council accepted the resignation and approved advertizing for a replacement.

Code enforcement
Mobridge resident Vern May addressed the council with his concerns about ordinance violation enforcement. He told the group that there is a perception in the community that some get special consideration when it comes to the condition of their property.

“They are up in my neighborhood writing up residents and the MDU power plant just sits there,” he said. “We need to look at our building codes and be sure they are fair to everyone.”

He said the owner of the former power plant, (Tom Unterseher) is getting special treatment from the council.

“This council and the new mayor need to sit down and look at our building codes and try to be fair to everyone,” he said. “You can’t favor one person over another. There are people on fixed incomes who try and take care of their property and they don’t need someone pushing them.”

Jensen told May there have been problems with code violations long before the MDU building and that the city has had re-occurring problem properties that don’t get the right attention.

“We don’t expect everyone’s property to look like a putting green but we expect things to be cleaned up,” he said.
May asked if there had ever been a variance or building permit issued for the MDU building.

“Why does that property get a pass?’ he asked. “All the windows are broken out, there are pigeons flying in and out and pigeon poop everywhere.”

Jensen said the owner of the property had complied with the council’s requests and have taken care of the problems. May asked Jensen to ride with him to the property to see the violations in the building.

“This is not fair and not right that you treat some people better than others and I disagree with it,” he said. “You have let him get away with this for 10 years. You need to make an example of that building.”

Jensen pointed out to May the owner of the building had renovated other buildings in town and may have plans to do the same to the MDU building.

Jensen then asked May to be proactive and help others who need help. May said he would be happy to do so, saying he was retired and had all the time in the world. He said his name was in the phone book.

Water meters
Mobridge Water Department Manager Brad Milliken reported the exchange of water meters in the new system is complete with the exception of one meter. He said the homeowner at 516 Fifth Avenue East has not responded to repeated attempts for water department employees to contact him at home or at his place of work.

He said tags have been left on the door and he has refused to call the telephone numbers that have been left.
Milliken said the owner is now paying double the water rate because he missed the deadline to have the new meters installed. He said the meter is still getting read every three months and the property owner is current on the bill. Milliken told the council a vehicle has been parked over the shut valve, obstructing the department’s ability to turn off the water as was the plan in this type of situation. He asked for council approval to turn off the water to the home.

Mobridge City Attorney Rick Cain suggested the property owner be sent a certified letter with a specific turn-off date. If he does not comply in the allotted time, Cain said the city has the right to have the vehicle towed and to turn the water off.

The homeowner will have until April 23 to contact the city to plan the meter switch.

– Katie Zerr –

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