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Keszler resigns from Sturgis City Council, city accepting applications through Feb. 26

Keszler resigns from Sturgis City Council, city accepting applications through Feb. 26

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Sturgis City Councilor Steve Keszler announced Tuesday he will resign his Ward 4 seat effective March 1, prompting the City Council to open up the seat for appointment to finish out a one-year term.

Mayor Mark Carstensen said residents of Ward 4 who would be interested in being considered for the post should fill out an application and return it to the city's finance office by 5 p.m. Feb. 26.

Carstensen said the city of Sturgis has two options by law to fill Keszler's seat, either by special election or appointment by the City Council. The mayor said the city chose the appointment route because of time constraints and the expense of holding an election.

"With the regular municipal election coming up, it cannot be included on that ballot since it's already been requested and drawn, and this came out afterwards," Carstensen said. "With the schedule we have laid out, it does make it rather tight, but we are asking all people who are interested in putting in their application for appointment to Ward 4 to have them submitted to the finance office on Feb. 26 by 5 p.m. That's the same time the municipal election petitions are due. It just made the most sense for us."

In other business, the City Council approved a $345,000 contract with Helms and Associates to provide professional services for a new taxi lane at Sturgis Municipal Airport.

Director of Planning and Permitting Dave Smith said the airport is continuing to see great success and growth. The new taxi lane would be constructed off the concrete apron on the northwest side of the Fixed Base Operation.

"By constructing this taxi lane, we will open up approximately 48,000 square feet of land lease area, providing a projected additional revenue of $5,760 in ground lease per year along with the additional property tax collection once private hangars are constructed," Smith said.

Along with the additional hangar space, Smith said more aircraft will be able to be based at Sturgis, increasing fuel sales and sales tax for maintenance on the airplanes.

The professional service agreement with Helms and Associates will provide engineering, design and construction management of the new taxi lane. Smith said the $345,000 price tag will be covered by yearly entitlements in 2021 and 2022 from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The City Council also approved a study from the South Dakota Department of Transportation on whether or not a traffic signal was warranted at the intersection of Lazelle and Eighth streets. The study was completed in November and recommends the city remove the traffic signal at the intersection for the majority of the year and only use the signal during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

The study suggests the poles remain up, but the city remove the signal heads and put folding stop signs on Eighth Street. During the rally, the study suggests city crews remount the traffic signal heads and then take them down again after the rally is complete.

Public Works Director Rick Bush said the study was agreeable and recommended the approval.

Contact Nathan Thompson at nathan.thompson@rapidcityjournal.com.

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