The Mobridge City Council, Tuesday, Jan. 8, voted against approving the presented roster of the Mobridge Volunteer Fire Department ending the active status of the fire department.
The roster was presented as part of the regular meeting. This is an annual part of the new year’s business.
The move came after the council went into executive session at 5:36 p.m. for a personnel issue and resumed the regular meeting at 6:09 p.m.
There was no direct action taken on what occurred in that session.
The council then voted against approving the roster presented to the council for 2019 Mobridge Volunteer Fire Department, with only councilwoman Jade Mound voting against the motion to not approve the roster.
On Wednesday morning, Mayor Gene Cox said no one on that roster list was fired by the council, but that the current roster was not approved.
He said the members are welcomed to re-apply for the open positions on the department and are encouraged to do so.
“The city council and Christine (city administrator Christine Goldsmith) have started the process to rebuild through the application process,” said Cox. “We have contacted the state fire marshall and officials in the surrounding communities to ensure we have support if needed.”
Cox said this type of situation happens in governments and the city will deal with the matter as best it can.
“As in any form of government there will be bumps,but we will survive,” he said.
Walworth County Sheriff Josh Boll addressed the council concerning a proposal for transporting prisoners for housing at the Faulk County Jail.
Boll told the council members the county commission had no legal right to negotiate a deal with the city or with Faulk County. He said by law, he is the only one to make those decisions.
“The county commission doesn’t have the authority to negotiate any contracts,” he told the council. “I am the person that is responsible for those negotiations.”
He told the council commission members who asked the city to work on a proposal for what it would cost if Mobridge Police Department transported prisoners to Faulk County Jail, if the county enters a contract with that county for prisoner housing, had no right to do so.
“I will have the last say on that,” Boll told the council. “They are putting the cart before the horse. They should have consulted with me first.”
When asked about whether he or the commission would decide to close the jail, he said deciding on the closure is the commission’s responsibility, but he would make the decision where the prisoners would be transported.
Boll told the council he is not angry with them. They were only doing what was asked of them.
No decision has been made on closing the jail or where to transport the prisoners.
The city presented a proposal to the commission at the request of commissioner Marion Schlomer. He spoke to city officials about taking over the transport duties, if Faulk County Jail were the facility the county would use, should the Walworth County Jail be closed.
Several officials from the City of Mobridge and the commission worked together on the parameters of the proposal, which was presented to the commission at the last meeting in December.
No contracts were presented at either of those meetings.
The council discussed increasing the cost of the applications for temporary liquor licenses to cover the costs of attorney fees connected to the process.
City Finance Officer Heather Beck told the council that the city loses money on the applications, which costs non-profits $50 and businesses $200 for special event applications. She said the city has had costs of more than $500 in attorney fees that have not been recouped by the application fees.
Councilwoman Jade Mound told the board she did not approve of raising the fees for the non-profits since these events are raising funds for causes, such as helping area residents who are fighting cancer.
“These non-profits are not looking to make money for themselves,” she told the board. “Increasing the fees takes money away from those donations.”
Councilman Tom O’Connell said he didn’t think a few dollars more for the applications would harm the non-profits that could make it up in other ways.
Councilman Curtis Reichert said he thought the city should consider raising the fees slightly to help recover what the application consults cost the city. Councilman Tony Yellow Boy made a motion to keep the fees at the current rate.
That motion was defeated with Yellow Boy and Mound voting in favor of the motion.
A second motion was made to raise the fees to $75 per application. That motion was passed with Mound and Yellow Boy voting against the increase.
The council approved hiring Duane Martin to act as zoning officer in a part-time capacity and to enter into a contract with Mike Olson from Aberdeen for consulting services and code enforcement issues.
Martin, who has extensive experience in real estate and assessment, is currently on the Mobridge Building and Zoning Committee. He was approved for hire at a salary of $7,000.
Olson, a 21 year veteran of law enforcement and 16 years experience as a code enforcement officer, will be hired on a retainer of $1,500 and work on a case-by-case basis at $75 per hour, plus mileage, meals and lodging. The temporary contract will be up to $10,000 per year.
Yellow Boy told the council as many nuisance issues that are dealt with in the city, the $10,000 would not last long.
Mobridge City Administrator Christine Goldsmith told the council she had contacted several of the municipalities that work with Olson in this area and that she was told he was worth every penny they pay him. Goldsmith told the council the city is actively seeking an individual to hire to fill both positions, but has not had any success as yet. She said the city had budgeted for a full-time position in 2019 and that would cover the cost of these temporary positions until another solution can be found.
The council approved the contract with Olson.
A video of the meeting can be found on the Tribune website at www.mobridgetribune.com. Follow the video link at the top of the page.
– Katie Zerr –