Motives of survey questioned at City Council meeting

By Marj Oleske

Fireworks were not the only hot topic at the City Council meeting held Wednesday, June  19. The Council approved payment for the annual Fourth of July Fireworks, and Mayor Dave Bakley was questioned by Roseanna Renaud and Councilman Gregg Claussen of his motives behind the recent questionnaire mailed with the city water bills.

Renaud’s concerns included: how was it paid for, was it a valid survey and was it used for personal agenda. Claussen was concerned because the Council was not informed of the survey being sent.  Claussen explained, “I feel we need clarification between committees vs. Council or Mayor vs. Council. Did the Council make the survey? Several people came to my house and asked about it, and I was unaware of the survey. I could not answer their questions. I approached Council members Moffitt, Gotheridge and McCue with this concern. The reply was they knew nothing about it. This makes us look uninvolved.”

In reply, Mayor Bakley explained that “The survey made no mention of the City Council. It went out from me, and me only. I wanted a general idea from the public for myself on the questions. I’ll pay for the stamps and the extra postage.”

Claussen reminded him to talk to the Council members with his concerns. “That’s why we elect them.”

Other Council members and City Finance Officer Jean Kirk noted that the comments made as people brought them in were all positive.

City Police Chief Julio Medeiros reported to the Council on the state of department. Local officers have been to many training sessions and have updated their tactical gear. Medeiros noted that “training is the key to the reduction of civil liability. We’re constantly looking at innovative ways to get training for the guys in our department.”

The department is taking advantage of a USDA grant/loan, and Billion Auto, in Rapid City, is in the process of getting a new police department car prepared.

Two new officers will be certified through reciprocity and academy. Officer Saunders is scheduled for the academy in November.

The department will be assisting with the triathlon to be organized by Jennifer May and the City Pool employees.

Medeiros has been looking at the statistics available through the new record management service. “We’re about 18 to 20 percent down on arrests from last year. That’s a good thing. Legislative Bill SB70 has been passed, and will put more people in probation, which will make a difference in our community. Many people will possibly be coming back to the area this fall. Those who were incarcerated for drug and alcohol problems. We need to be aware of what it could do to the community. Many people could be up for parole within those months.”

Theda Babby requested to be escorted out of town for their youth horse ride on Wednesday, June 26, at 8 a.m.

Chief Medeiros reminds people to be diligent in locking doors again, on homes, garages  and vehicles.

In other business, the Council approved the Liquor License for the Bennett County Golf Association, and approved a Special Malt Beverage License for the Fire Department for their upcoming street dance.

Fire Chief Chris O’Bryan approached the Council with the request to close part of Main Street on Friday, July 26th, for the Martin Area Chamber of Commerce Car Show and Ford’s Drive One for Your Community Event, and Fireman’s Street Dance. Affected business will be contacted for their opinion and approval.

Street Manager Paul Noel requested to have the Bobcat mower replaced. It is broken down beyond repair, and is really old. The drinking fountain at the park was also reported to be damaged beyond repair. The council considered removing the fountain, since many things at the park are soon destroyed. Barry Bettelyoun reminded the council that many people use the park, and having water available is essential. Noel was directed to find a way to replace the fountain.

The former Liquor Store sign was declared surplus. If anyone wants it, they may contact the City Office. 

The Council was informed of the Fourth of July Triathlon event which was spearheaded by Jennifer May. She has already talked to Chief Medeiros about safety issues. May was praised for taking the initiative to put the event together.

Building permits granted included Paul Noel, adding a fence, and Louis Nollett, moving in a building.

Code Enforcement issues of overgrown properties and the remedial steps being taken were discussed. It was also brought to the attention of the Council that the high school age kids are requesting a place to be able to park their cars and visit in the evenings. The problems of areas being trashed is an ongoing concern. No solutions were found.

The next regularly scheduled meeting scheduled will be July 10th, 2013 in Community room at 5:30 p.m.

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