By Marj Frew
Martin’s City Council met on Wednesday, July 10, with many citizens present to visit about their concerns over the condition of some of the streets and the ongoing problem of potholes.
All council members were present, along with Mayor Gary Rayhill, City Attorney Sarah Frankenstein, City Finance Officer Jean Kirk, Street Manager Paul Noel, and Police Chief Brandon Petersen.
Members of the public included Marj Frew, with the Bennett County Booster, Mason Heath and Ace Hahn, on behalf of the Post 240 Legion baseball team, Sarah Harris, Leslie Ferguson, Lennie Allison Pettit, Tammy Red Owl, Judy Claussen, and Matt and Rose Gordon.
Following the general business of approving the agenda and last meeting’s minutes, the council approved a standard lagoon payment of $1,163.00.
The council approved a reimbursement to Kirk Wilson for $1,310.00 for the parts he ordered from Daktronics for the repair of the scoreboard at the softball field. The scoreboard is working now, but one of the lights is still out.
Jamie Saxton and Todd Alexander will be checking out the wires within the scoreboard, to check for any that are loose.
Police Chief Brandon Petersen reported that in June the law department had 129 calls for service, with 215 events logged through the 911 dispatch. Thirty-five arrests were made, with seven being felonies, and 28 misdemeanors. Petersen also informed the council that he is still in the process of finding a vehicle.
Jean Kirk informed the council that Beau Byrd, from U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson’s Rapid City office, will hold mobile office hours in Martin on Wednesday, July 17. He will be at the Martin City Office from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.
Post 240 Legion baseball team members Ace Hahn and Mason Heath visited with the council to request a donation for an upcoming fundraising golf tournament being organized by the team. The donations will be used for flight pin prizes, which will be divided equally once donations are finalized. A donation of $500 was approved for the team.
The council went into executive session. Following the session, the council approved a motion to authorize City Attorney Sarah Frankenstein to negotiate with whoever she needs to, to gain access to the county jail.
The public comment portion of the agenda had many residents speaking to the council. Mayor Rayhill began the discussion, “The floor is open to whoever who wants to speak to the council.”
Lennie Allison spoke up, “I think Gregg knows what we are here to discuss, can you talk for us?”
Council member Gregg Claussen thanked the group for coming to the meeting. “I visited a little bit with the council before the meeting started to let them know why you are here, and what your concerns are. Angie and I have been looking at the streets in my ward, and I showed some pictures of the potholes to some of the council members. Basically, I voiced some of your concerns about the lack of maintenance on your streets.”
He continued, “Some of you share the opinion that the city needs to develop a plan of something to do about this.”
Matt Gordon and Sarah Harris spoke up. “It’s a mess.” Gordon added a little color from a Woodstock movie quote.
Harris informed the council that she has been buying gravel to fill potholes on her street. The rain continues to wash it away. “The big holes need to be fixed.”
Allison asked the council, “How many of you have driven the streets in our area? What do you think?”
Mayor Rayhill confirmed, “I agree with Matt.”
The general opinions voiced were that it would damage the undercarriage of cars. Driving at night is difficult because it is difficult to see the potholes. Matt Gordon added, “You try to miss them, and you can’t.”
Rayhill shared their concerns. “This is one of wettest springs we’ve ever had. We have had a major water project going and our city foreman has been busy. I’m sure if I ask him, the infrastructure is on his work list. I’m going to ask Paul.”
Paul Noel agreed. “Do you guys want to buy some gravel? If you get it, I’ll lay it. On Major Allen Street we are waiting for the cold mix, which we have, but need to see how much is available from other projects.”
Work which has been done in the past was discussed, with options of how to best make improvements being voiced.
“What’s happening now is nothing is being done,” added Claussen. “We blade it and it rains,” replied Noel.
Drainage is also a problem in the area. The rain is impeding the work that has been done. Existing culverts are not effective due to their placement.
Gordon added, “There’s only one Paul, in his defense. We are asking you to pay attention to that area, get out there faster. When it was graded, it helped, but it doesn’t last. What you have done works well, we just need to pay attention to it.”
Discussion was held on street options with curb and gutter. The cost is high, and tends to be prohibitive.
Allison asked, “Is there enough money in the budget to fix our roads if they have time? Is there a priority to which streets you work on?”
Gregg spoke up. “We leave it up to Paul. Whatever he feels the streets need, we let him do. I know he was trying to work on Major Allen, that’s a busy street.”
Council member Walter York asked Noel to call around for some prices on gravel that would be needed.
Claussen added, “Our ward isn’t the only one that has gravel streets. We have a lot of areas that could use gravel for repairs. We need to make a plan.”
All in attendance were in agreement that improvements and a plan need to be made.
“Thank you very much for listening to us, we appreciate that,” Gordon and others added to the end of the discussion.
Trash Can Lids
The lids on the trash cans along Main Street are needing to be replaced. It was approved to order 13 replacements which have been found at $95 each.
Noel reported to the council that the park well was inspected, and had three holes in its stem pipe which was installed about nine years ago. The stem pipes were replaced with the hope that it will buy another 15 years of trouble free service.
DOT Access Agreement
An application for a Department of Transportation Highway Access Permit for a new Dollar General store located to the west of Lynn’s Dakotamart was approved. The permit will go back to the State Highway Access Approach Permit department for approval.
The Water Project was reported to be finished. According to Kirk, they need to clear some things and the city has not received a bill. By next month it should be all completed.
The council approved cashing out 150 hours of vacation for Paul Noel.
Building Permits were approved for: Sybil Cook, deck and replace existing fence; Randy Bettelyoun, install privacy fence; Robert Schlack, building a deck; and David Gotheridge add on to deck and porch.
Complaints included a request from Tootie Moffit asking if her water meter could be moved closer to her house, as it is very difficult to read. Noel agreed to move it to her fence, which is as far as it can be moved.
Another complaint was noted by Mayor Rayhill about thistle growing in an area just beyond the city limits on the north side of town. The landowner will be contacted.
The next regular meeting will be held August 14, at 5:30 p.m., in the Library Community Room.