BELLE FOURCHE – The third penny sales tax has been set aside for the Black Hills Roundup Grounds and it’s time to put it to use to replace the existing bleachers that have been part of the Roundup Grounds since nearly the beginning of the rodeo in the 1920’s according to the vision of Mayor Gloria Landphere. It’s been talked about for several years she told the Public Works Committee and it’s time to go forward.
There are two issues that the mayor sees that need addressed as soon as possible. One is safety, the other insurance. If there is a safety problem, she pointed out, then there is an insurance problem. Plans need to be put in place to get this done, she said.
Landphere showed the committee members a comparison of total revenue generated by the city for 2015, 2016, and the year to date for 2017. The chart showed revenue, sales tax only, expenses, and the cash balance available. Presently, there is approximately $453,000 in the third penny cash balance fund.
“I feel that we could live with the cash balance being $200,000 and some dollars,” she said. New restrooms need to be done yet, so that will draw down on the $453,000 she pointed out.
However, she continued, since the Common Council decided to fund the rodeo grounds $200,000 for 2018 and with a balance left of somewhere around $200,000 in the third penny fund, the project toward putting in new bleachers seems one step closer. With those funds available, the city would not need to borrow as much for the $1.3 million venture.
“We need to address these grandstands,” she said.
She asked the committee what their opinion was and what options she should pursue.
City Engineer Dirk Hoffman said that he thought the entire project should be done, then the financing found.
Roundup Chairman Clay Crago said that he thought it would be cheaper to do it all right away.
Dallas Conner mentioned that if it’s not done now, it will cost seating in the future.
“The final bid could be more or less,” said Justin Tupper. The cost of teardown and finishing underneath the grandstand will add to the project, however, the Roundup Committee is willing to add their muscle to the project. He added that the High School Rodeo committee was on board.
The mayor added, “It’s been talked about and needs to be done.”
The consensus of the committee was that the mayor should go forward with the project and search out financing. The mayor assured the group that she would have something substantial for the next Common Council meeting.
Following the discussion of the bleachers, the Public Works Committee heard from a concerned citizen regarding a water problem at his residence. John Fitzgerald explained to the committee that there is an issue with water seeping into his basement. He was informed by the city that he could not drain the water into the city’s sewer system, but must drain it down the street gutter. He went on to say that last winter this caused some icing on the streets and that he wanted to be sure he was following city ordinance.
Hoffman and the committee chair James Ager assured him that as long as he was following the city’s ordinances, he is doing what is required.
According to City Ordinance 13.12.170 that says “No person(s) shall make connection of roof downspouts, foundation drains, areaway drains, or other sources of surface runoff or groundwater to a building sewer or building drain which in turn is connected directly or indirectly to a public sanitary sewer unless such connection is approved by the Director of Public Works or designee for purposes of disposal of polluted surface drainage” Fitzgerald is compliant with the ordinance.
“I wanted to do what is right,” he said. Ager was confident he had done what was necessary.