Council to let Third Avenue West traffic lights go
Asking the Mobridge City Council to help correct a mistake made by the city in 1997, Lyle Walth addressed the group Monday, March 18, about problems along a sewer line.
He told the council when he built his home on 12th Street and 12th Avenue East, he was required by the city to add a sewer line, a block of pipe and a manhole. He has since then sold two parcels of his property near his home and also paid for them to hook up to the city sewer line.
One of those property owners built their house on a hill they constructed in order to be able to hook up to the line because the manhole was too shallow. That would have caused backup problems in the home.
Walth said he asked Water Department Manager Brad Milliken why the city buried the lines in this manner. He was told it happened in 1997, before Milliken was in his position with the city, and he could not answer Walth’s question.
Walth said he has another person interested in buying property but he cannot use the sewer line and considered a septic system instead. Walth said he would like to have the city rectify the shallow manhole situation.
“I paid $6,000 for the connection and the manhole and someone in the city made the decision to bury that shallow,” he said. “I don’t feel that I should have to pay for it again.”
Mobridge Mayor Jamie Dietterle told Walth he didn’t know if the city was liable for the situation because City Attorney Rick Cain was not available for council and the city employee who made the decision was no longer with the city.
He said the council would take the information into consideration and discuss it with Cain to see if the city is liable for the situation.
Walth said he is willing to work with the city.
“I don’t think I should pay for all of it, but I will for part of it,” he said. “Everything is negotiable. I would like to see it repaired so other homeowners can tie into the line.”
Dietterle thanked him for his flexibility on the manner and said he would have Cain look into the matter.
Dietterle reported the South Dakota Department of Transportation requested the city either allow them to remove the traffic lights on Third Avenue West or take over the operation and maintenance of those lights. That contract would be $47,852 per year. He said DOT Area Engineer John Villbrandt informed him statistics show there is not near enough traffic to justify having a traffic control at that corner.
Dietterle said when there were children attending Beadle School, those lights were a necessity for the safety of the students. Now that building is a college and no children are using Grand Crossing, the need for the lights is gone.
After a short discussion on the issue, which included Mobridge Police Chief Justin Jungwirth agreeing the lights are no longer needed, the council voted to allow the DOT to remove the traffic lights when Grand Crossing is resurfaced this summer.
The council approved Ward III Councilman Gene Cox, Ward III Councilman Randy Carlson, City Planning and Zoning Officer Harley Overseth to be on the tax property committee. Christine Martin Goldsmith of the Economic Development Corporation will also be included if and when the entity becomes involved in action with the county.
The purpose of the committee is to work with members from the Walworth County Commission, State’s Attorney Jamie Hare, and Commissioners Duane Martin and Rick Godkin on action to be taken on properties turned over to the county because of non-payment of taxes.
Ward II Councilman Tony Yellow Boy asked who would be responsible for condemning properties if the committee decides that the properties should be demolished not rehabilitated.
Overseth said by ordinance he has the power to make that decision, but he was not comfortable testifying in court if someone should test the committees decision legally. He said the last time the city condemned properties they hired a man from Aberdeen to make the decision. That man has since passed away.
Overseth said finding someone who is willing to condemn the properties and to testify in court is difficult.
Dietterle said if there comes a situation where someone needs to condemn a property, they would find someone to do the job.
Milliken requested the council reconsider selling the garage on the Second Avenue East property recently purchased to make room for the new water tower.
The council has declared the garage as surplus property along with the fence on the property. Advertising for bids has not yet taken place.
Milliken said the garage at the wastewater plant is falling down and he would like to use the surplus garage to replace it.
The council agreed the water department could have the building and city employees would move it to the wastewater plant to be used as storage there.
– Katie Zerr –