HOT SPRINGS – After being a discussion item for several weeks, and then being tabled for its first reading last month, Ordinance 1183, which provides for the amendment and revision of Chapter 4-A Animals and Fowl, was finally approved for its First Reading last Monday night, Nov. 6, at the regular meeting of the Hot Springs City Council.
The ordinance accomplished a few things, including adding pig/swine to the list of animals which can be kept within the city under specific provisions, while also adding additional protections for people from dangerous animals, as well as protecting animals from unjustified or inhumane euthanizations.
During her City Administrator address to the council, Kim Barbieri said she had been meeting with all of the department heads and said additional team building activities were in the works to help make all city employees feel more connected. She also said that she had been working on various activities related to the planned downtown highway reconstruction project tentatively slated for 2021, and that the SD-DOT had held meetings on Nov. 4-5 with landowners located south of University Avenue with another meeting planned for Nov. 29-30 landowners located north of University.
Barbieri said it had also been discussed that there are two bridges in which the SD-DOT is looking at replacing now as part of the project, including the Jennings bridge by the American Legion, as well as the Minnekahta bridge. She said while the Jennings bridge replacement has been engineered and ready to be done, she is hoping the Minnekahta bridge project can be delayed until a later time.
Also during the administrative updates, Mayor George Kotti discussed the possibility of some city buildings being converted to solar energy. GenPro from the Northern Hills had planned to attend the meeting to discuss the concept and how they could assist with the conversion project, but due to inclement weather, they were unable to make the trip to Hot Springs. They will instead make their presentation at the next meeting on Nov. 17.
Mayor Kotti also spoke about the municipal airport and how the city was looking at ways to expand services and features at the airport to stimulate economic growth. Ideas included developing new industries on-site, like an avionics repair shop, to a Air Park where houses could be built on the nearby land to allow pilots to land and pull up to their home.
During the Finance Administrator’s report, Misty Summers-Walton spoke of a wide range of topics, including how it had been difficult getting the city’s large surplus auction scheduled. As it stood now, plans are to hold the online-only auction from Dec. 6-12.
A broad list of other items were discussed and addressed by the city council over the course of the approximate one hour meeting, which included:
• Approving the 2018 liquor license applications for all 14 Hot Springs business establishments which had applied for them. Revenue from the licenses generates a total of $13,500 for the city, ranging from $400 for a package liquor license, $500 for a retail wine license to $1,400 for either a retail liquor or restaurant liquor license.
• Accepting the low bid of $1,085 per month from Jessica Priem for the meter reading contract. The other bid up for consideration was from Carl Neisner for $2,333.33 per month. The contract will cover the period of Dec. 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2018.
• Approving a utility easement for David Brandt, at 1027 Fresno Ave., where the city will extend sewer services for the west end of the street with the extension crossing through Brandt’s property. During the discussion, Mayor George Kotti said this was a win for all involved as it eliminated a lot of work for the city down the road, while also helping to make it possible for some new homes to be built in the area, in addition to making it possible for the landowner to replace a failing septic system.
• Hearing from Councilman Bob Nelson during his Public Safety Committee Report that the police department was hoping to increase its reserves from two to five. He provided additional info about that plan to the rest of the council in their packets for their consideration.
• Approving the travel request from Chief of Police Mike Close to attend the International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference in Orlando, Fla., in October 2018, contingent upon Close securing a scholarship to pay for the cost of the trip.
• And, after returning from a 30-minute Executive Session, the council approved the decrease in pay for Jim Lively, Class II Maintenance Operator, from $16.04 per hour to $15.55 per hour.