Council supports pool project
Moving forward with funding the outdoor pool project and steps needed to proceed with restoration of the Oscar Howe murals were the highpoints of the Monday, March 3, meeting of the Mobridge City Council.
Mobridge Finance Officer Heather Beck told the council the original capital outlay for the pool budget had expired. The city had been setting aside $50,000 per year for a new pool. The city had already set aside $100,000 in the 2014 budget and the new resolution will begin in 2015 should the bond issue pass in the upcoming election. Since that resolution had expired, the city, in support of the new outdoor pool project, passed a resolution to contribute $50,000 per year from capital Outlay to help pay for the new pool, until the project is paid in full.
She told the council that the resolution passed by this council can be changed by another sitting council if need be.
“This resolution becomes effective if the opt out resolution is approved by the voters on April 8,” Mobridge City Attorney Rick Cain told the council. “That should reduce the amount that will need to be raised each year in the opt so the numbers that have been thrown out in the past for the increase in the property tax should be reduced by a third or so. The opt out won’t cost the tax payers quite as much.”
The council unanimously passed the resolution.
“Our council has been committed to supporting the pool project and I think it is good that we get it in writing,” said mayor Jamie Dietterle. “What we are looking for is to ease the burden on the taxpayer should the resolution be passed.”
Friends of Scherr Howe (FOSH) representative Haden Merkel asked the council for permission to request approval for the change of the scope of the project and the vendor that will restore the murals, to the Conservation Center in Chicago. There are two options for the project; one would cost $77,000 and the other $83,000. She told the council former executive director of Economic Development Christine Goldsmith had obtained $80,000 in grant funding for the Scherr-Howe projects. If FOSH decided on the $83,000 restoration, the group would raise the additional $3,000.
“There are a good chunk of the grants that are for both the restoration of the murals and renovation of the bathrooms,” Merkel told the council. “Unless we ask for an extension those grants have to be used by this summer.”
Merkel said the group would continue to work raising funds and search for grants to complete the bathroom project.
Ward II Councilwoman Amy Cerney said the City of Mobridge is actually the entity that has been awarded the grants.
“What Friends of Scherr-Howe is looking for is permission from the City of Mobridge to go back to these grantors and say we need to change the scope of the project and that we have decided to go with the Chicago group,” she told the council.
Merkel told the council if they say no to changing the scope, the group would ask for an extension.
Cain asked if the project had been let for bids since it is more than a $25,000 project.
Cerney told them the grants are specifically written for art restoration based on an assessment of the project from the Conservation Center in Minneapolis.
Merkel said whoever should want to bid the project would have to come out to assess the project. Cerney said groups wouldn’t come out to assess the project without getting paid to do that.
Cain asked if the grant moneys would come to the City of Mobridge and the city would have to write the checks to the restorer.
Cerney said she doubted there would be any bidders but asked if the city would have to accept the lowest bid.
Cain said the requirement is that the city accepts the lowest responsible bid.
He said he would research whether funding of projects such as art restorations are exempt from the bidding process since it is so specialized.
Ward III Councilman asked how much funding would be lost if the grantors would not allow the changing of the scope of the project.
“How much of the funding has been designated to the bathrooms,” he asked.
Cerney told him that to her knowledge none of the grants carried a percentage of what should be designated to each project.
The council will address the request again after Cain completes the research on the bidding of art projects.
Ward I Councilman Tom O’Connell told the council there have been some problems with sewer and water lines freezing because of warming of frozen ground.
He said the warmer weather pushes the freeze line deeper into the ground, which then causes the freezing problems. He said residents who will be leaving their homes and businesses for more than 24 hours at a time are urged to leave a faucet running to prevent freezing lines.
On Tuesday, Mobridge Water Department Manager Brad Milliken said the city is already experiencing some of the same freezing problems that occurred in 2008.
“Residents who had this type of problem before should take steps to prevent it again,” he said. “The lines are freezing at about five already and we could be in for a lot more problems as the weather warms up.”
Milliken said in the next couple of weeks, with the freezing and thawing cycle that occurs in the spring, these problems will continue to happen.
He said leaving a faucet running at about a pencil-sized stream would help to prevent the underground freezing.
-Katie Zerr –