During their regular meeting Monday, the Onida City Council voted to continue Resolution 2020-01 closing casinos, bars and restaurants to inside patrons but allowing curbside service through May 6. The resolution was initially passed during a special meeting on March 24 and set to expire April 8, but by continuing the resolution, the city is in compliance with social distancing directives issued by South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem. The policy of not pulling meters on delinquent utility accounts will continue, but late fees will not be suspended. Landlords will be notified of tenants with past due accounts. City Finance Officer Rondha Hiller stated she had been working with Pierre Area Referral Services (PARS) regarding relief for people experiencing hardships.
During public comment, Onida Fire Department Training Officer Josh Bakker requested the city consider allocating $65,000 toward the purchase of a new fire truck, $45,000 more than the current annual allocation. It was noted that no action could be taken at the April meeting since the issue came up in public comment and wasn’t an agenda item. If approved, the truck could be purchased at a considerable savings. In addition to the opportunity to purchase this truck in a city to city transaction, the OFD is gearing up to raise money to replace additional trucks in the department’s fleet.
Sully County Sheriff Bill Stahl reported to the council law enforcement activity during the past month, including truancy, welfare checks, DUI offenses, underage consumption, dog complaints, and a suspicious package. “Even with school out and a quarantine, it’s amazing the number of people out driving after midnight,” said Stahl. “All seem to be younger people, and a lot of vehicles are coming in from Hughes and Potter counties.”
Reporting on the activity of the city crew, City Superintendent Tim Jost said that he had arranged for the purchase of a new pool pump that is better quality and uses less electricity than previous pump. Jost also stated that filters at the pool had been changed. Trees along city streets and in alleys have been trimmed which should eliminate branches interfering with garbage collection. The wood pile at the dump has been burned, the furniture pile hauled to Pierre, and the dump inspection passed. Crushed cement has been acquired and is working well for some street repairs, and gravel for the alleys is ready to be put on. Jost reported on a couple of electrical issues the crew has encountered. Special note was made of the deteriorated condition of Ginseng Avenue. Work has already started on readying the pool for opening this summer; the parks committee directed that significant repair and updating to the pool locker rooms be done.
Bid opening for the next phase of the city water and sewer project is Thursday, April 9. After the bids are opened, consulting engineers Schmucker, Paul, Nohr & Associates will tabulate the bids and a contractor will be selected at council’s next meeting.
The council accepted the annual report as presented. Funds were transferred from the FIT account to the garbage account to cover the shortfall in that account. Hiller will inquire about having an outside firm collect the city’s garbage and report her findings at the next meeting. If garbage collection is retained by the city, the possibility of raising garbage rates by $2.00 was discussed.
Building permit applications for 203 South 8th Street and 1000 E Dogwood Avenue were approved. The building permit for 311 South 5th Street was denied and property owner will be advised he needs to seek a variance.
Representing Aflac, Karla Kendrick reported that the policies the city approved for their employees became effective April 1. She also presented some possibilities regarding other policies the city might consider.
In other business, the council met in executive session with pool manager applicants but tabled the issue until their May meeting. Onida’s annual water report is available for review in the city office and will be printed in the Watchman.