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It’s now illegal to operate a Segway on city sidewalks in Rapid City, but that could soon change.

At the Legal and Finance Committee meeting on Wednesday, a public-initiated request for city staff to draft an ordinance to allow Segways on city sidewalks was briefly discussed before the committee voted 3 to 2 in favor of the proposal. Alderman Jason Salamun and Alderwoman Becky Drury voted in opposition.

According to a city memo, Segways, called “electrical personal assistive devices” in city documents, are currently considered vehicles by city and are prohibited from being used on city sidewalks. Bicycles and skateboards are also prohibited from downtown city sidewalks.

Salamun said he may support a pilot project to allow Segways on certain city sidewalks but that opening up the city’s busiest sidewalks to Segways may be too much, too fast.

“There might be a place for it, however, I hesitate to make the downtown core the first place that we allow Segways, where it’s probably the most congested,” he said.

Alderman Chad Lewis said allowing Segways in one area but not another would create confusion and be difficult to regulate.

“It’s the 21st century, Segways are out there, and I don’t think they’re that big of a problem anyway,” he said. He added that a downtown tour with Segways seemed the most likely application should they be allowed.

November sales tax

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The committee recommended acknowledging the city’s sales tax collections for November, which came in at $2,318,181, a 4.2 percent increase compared with collections in November 2018. For the first 11 months of 2019, collections are at $25,753,248, a 2.45 percent increase compared with 2018.

Parking tickets cleared

The committee recommended approving a resolution writing off about 3,800 parking tickets from 2015 worth $58,838. The city routinely removes parking tickets from its books that it believes are uncollectible. Auditors of the city’s finances prefer the city to only have three years' worth of unpaid tickets. The unpaid tickets do remain in the city’s system.

UPS gets grant

The committee recommended acknowledging an update from the city’s Opportunity Capture Fund Committee, an economic development fund that disperses taxpayer-funded grants to area businesses.

At a recent Rapid City Economic Development Partnership meeting, the board requested $76,500 for a grant to United Parcel Service (UPS). The Opportunity Capture Fund Committee then approved granting $104,000 to UPS with half of the funds being dispersed upon purchase of a new lot and the other half being distributed once construction of a new building is complete.

According to minutes from the meeting, the increase in UPS’s total projected payroll from the project would be $1.2 million per year when fully staffed, with a weighted average annual salary of $55,000 for employees. The funds can be converted into a loan if UPS doesn’t meet certain benchmarks within three years, known as a clawback provision.

All committee actions must be approved by the Rapid City Council before being final. The next council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 6:30 p.m. in City Hall.

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Contact Samuel Blackstone at samuel.blackstone@rapidcityjournal.com and follow him on Twitter or Facebook @SDBlackstone.

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