Council concerned about tax properties
– By Katie Zerr
Hearing there are more tax properties on the horizon, the Mobridge City Council vowed to be proactive in joining Walworth County in dealing with the issue.
Ward III Councilman Gene Cox told the council he attended a commission meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 5, telling commissioners the city would like to work with them in handling of properties reverting back to the county, because property taxes had not been paid.
Cox explained the county is in the process of evicting squatters from properties in Mobridge. He said he heard there are more properties that are on the verge of reverting back to the county.
“I think we need to be proactive in asking the county to not sell these properties until we can get someone to check them out,” he said. “We need to work together on the process.”
Mayor Jamie Dietterle told the council the city needed to work with the county to ensure that if there were the possibility of rehabilitating properties, people would have the opportunity to do so. He said one of the biggest concerns in Mobridge is the housing shortage.
“By asking the county not to put them up for open bids, we can avoid dealing with the continuing cycle of nuisance properties,” said Cox. “I can just see the for sale ads on eBay now.”
Ward II Councilwoman Amy Cerney asked if there was any recourse for the city if the county sold the properties.
“If the county is going to sell it, it seems that we should have a list of things that states this is what needs to be done,” she said.
Mobridge City Attorney Rick Cain explained that legal actions against these properties can only be taken if the city owns the property.
“What I’m trying to avoid is when someone else owns the property and we are dealing with absentees owners,” said Cox. “I’m trying to avoid the cost and the extra legal work of working with these owners by working with the county.”
Cox said he would continue to speak to commissioners and keep up with actions taken by the commission.
Airport fuel truck
Mobridge Regional Airport Manager Virgil Lenling told the council the used Jet A fuel truck he found for sale is not overly expensive as was discussed at the Monday, Feb. 4 meeting.
He said the reason jet fuel trucks are more expensive than other fuel trucks is because there are fewer of them and the cost increases every year.
These trucks contain certain features that are not necessary on other fuel trucks, he told the council. New trucks can cost between $300,000 and $350,000, he said. Most of these trucks are located on the east and west coasts and the truck in Ohio is the closest to this area.
The truck under consideration has been fitted with new hoses and connection, new fuel filter and has had engine work done, according to Lenling.
Lenling said he needed to see it before he recommends the council purchases the vehicle. He said he would make the trip to Ohio by plane with Kent Slater, owner of Slater Oil in Mobridge. With Slater’s knowledge of trucks and fuel transporting equipment, Lenling said they would be able to determine if the truck is worth the asking price.
Dietterle told the council he had researched the type of truck needed and also asked Slater to do the same. He said they could not find this type of vehicle anywhere else outside of the coasts and in the south.
“This sounds like our best option and if Kent can go along with Virgil it will really help us,” he said.
Slater, who attended the meeting, reiterated what Lenling told the council and said the transportation experts he talked to told him the same thing.
“These trucks are hard to find and if one is available, they get gobbled up quickly,” he told the council.
Dietterle said he believed it was the best option for Slater and Lenling to make the flight to Ohio and check out the truck. Lenling said they would be able to tell if the truck was priced right and see if he could get a better deal for the city.
The council approved the trip to Ohio for both Lenling and Slater.
– Katie Zerr –