Wastewater and Water Rates on the Rise Again in Dell Rapids

DellRapidsTowerStarting with water usage in February 2018, the wastewater and water rates for Dell Rapids residents will be increasing.  The first reading of ordinances 851 and 852 to raise the wastewater and water rates were approved by the Dell Rapids City Council on Monday, December 4th during the regular meeting.

The proposed increase to the wastewater base rate will be $16.90, up from $16.00.  The per 1,000 gallons used rate will increase from $5.06 to $5.78.

“In 2017, the city implemented an $8.60 surcharge in order to pay the loan on the new wastewater treatment facility.  And going into this, we knew that we wanted to phase in these wastewater treatment costs.  So we did not implement the operation and maintenance rates that were going to be necessary to operate the facility because we won’t have the facility operating until the spring of 2018.  So we knew this was coming.  This is a 9% increase from where the rate currently is at,” said City Administrator Justin Weiland.

The proposed increases to the wastewater rates are expected to raise about $100,000 annually according to Weiland.  He also commented to the council that the city has estimated $100,000 to be the yearly cost of operations and maintenance to the new wastewater treatment facility.

The proposed increase to the water base rate will be $12.00, up from $11.50.  The per 1,000 gallons used rate will increase from $4.52 to $4.64.

“In the budget for 2018, there is included a 3% water rate increase.  There isn’t like the sewer rate that we know we need to increase it for operation and maintenance. The 3% increase is to keep up with inflation and increased costs associated with operating the water across the board,” Weiland said.

Weiland noted that this increase in water rates is also to reflect to the Department of Environment & Natrual Resources (DENR) that the city is increasing their rates on an annual basis.  He said that DENR recommends a yearly increase to keep up with the costs and to keep rates where the DENR sees they need to be as an average across the state.  Weilend mentioned that the increased rates could also put the city in better position for grant funding for the Southeast Infrastructure project.  The city plans on applying for several million dollars in funding for that project in January.


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Second Phase of Hwy 115 Project Complete – I29 Bridge Opens at Dell Rapids

DellRapidsI29BridgeThe second phase of the $18.8 million Hwy 115 project in and around Dell Rapids has completed.  On Wednesday, November 29th, the Interstate 29 interchange at Exit 98 to Dell Rapids reopened to traffic.

Coinciding with the opening of the interstate interchange, the north bridge on Hwy 115 heading south of Dell Rapids will be closed starting Monday, December 4th, resulting in a detour through Dell Rapids.  The detour will be the same detour used Hwy115DetourRoutewhen the south bridge on Hwy 115 was being replaced.  When driving north into Dell Rapids, motorists will be routed off of Hwy 115 to Centennial Dr., to Garfield Ave., and then to 4th St. back west to Hwy 115.  Trucks will be directed off of 4th St. at Orleans Ave. and will need to use 3rd St. to get back to Hwy 115.

“The DOT has reassured me that if they are shutting this bridge down, that the contractor is planning on working as expediently as they can through the winter.  They’re not going to show up, tear the bridge down, and take off site for six weeks, a month or even two weeks.  They plan on working through the winter.  They want to get as much work done when the water level is where it is now so that they can Hwy115NorthBridgebe ready to go in the spring.  It’s also their hope it pushes up their re-opening schedule on the bridge as well,” said City Administrator Justin Weiland during the regular meeting of the Dell Rapids City Council on Monday, November 20th.

The final phase of the project is the replacement of the north bridge on Hwy 115 and road replacement north to the four-way stop.  The highway from the four-way stop west to the new interstate interchange will also be replaced.  According to the South Dakota Department of Transportation, the overall completion date for the project is June 21, 2019.

The first phase of the project, the replacement of the south bridge on Hwy 115 and highway replacement to 248th St., began in April of 2016.  That section was completed in a little over a year with the bridge and new road opening May of this year.

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Dell Rapids School Vandalized

DellRapidsHighSchoolDuring the Dell Rapids City Council regular meeting on Monday, November 20th, Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Deputy Kellen Weidner gave a report of vandalism of the Dell Rapids High School.  Officer Weidner reported the vandalism took place during the night of Sunday, November 19th. Nazi graffiti was spray-painted on the side of the building.

“We are aware of it.  It’s something that is happening throughout the county, mostly in Sioux Falls,” Weidner said.  “If there’s any businesses or anything that happen to get any of that graffiti, make sure to contact us immediately.  That way we can keep going on that case.  All of the deputies are aware of it.”

Weidner also reported that the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office deputies are doing their best to be out trying to see people who might be out after hours.

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Public Meeting Date Set for SE Project

DellRapidsTowerThe city of Dell Rapids will be having a public meeting at St Mary’s Catholic Church on Monday, December 11th for the south east infrastructure project.  The meeting will take place in the Parish Hall starting at 6:00 p.m. with a question and answer period with city administration.  The city’s slide show presentation will begin at 7:00 p.m.

A total of 145 property owners will be affected by this project.  A cover letter was sent to each property owner about the meeting to hear about the project and answer questions.  Letters for potential assessment to the property owners for the project have also been sent.

This project is to replace water and sewer lines in this section of the community, and then replace streets and add curb, gutter and sidewalks to areas that do not have it currently.  The area of the project will run south of 7th St to 3rd st and east of Garfield Ave to Beach Ave.SEProjectMap

“This is a big one.  This is an estimated $6.5 million project with about $800,000 in assessments associated with it.” said City Administrator Justin Weiland during the Dell Rapids City Council meeting on Monday, November 20th.  The assessed values are for curb, gutter, and approaches on properties that don’t currently have them in place.

“This is an investment and an improvement to our community. Obviously they are going to have to buy in. We want this meeting to provide the people the information they need,” said Dell Rapid Mayor Tom Earley.  “This is another critical point in the development of this community, and it’s something that needs to happen.”

The tentative timeline of this project will be in 2019 and 2020.  Trent Bruce of DGR mentioned during the council meeting that some sophisticated railroad crossings and likelihood of rock blasting that will have to be addressed during the project.  He also mentioned that giving contractors more time to do a project generally results in favorable bids for the project.

“This is an introductory meeting to let them (property owners) know that this is coming down the pipe,” Weiland said.


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Water Issue Brought to Council Again

DellRapidsTowerThe quality of the Dell Rapids city water was brought to the council’s attention again during their regular meeting on Monday, November 6th.  A Dell Rapids residentbrought concerns of water being a rust color and full of iron to the meeting.

“After five different times of draining a 60-gallon water heater, I finally have clear water.  That water heater’s only been in there since 2005.  There’s no reason I should have that much rust piled in the bottom of that thing…absolutely not,” she said.

She also mentioned that other houses in the Sunset Dr and 5th Ave area have the same water quality issues.

“Sunset has had an issue with that water line the last two years,” mentioned City Administrator Justin Weiland.

Councilman Mark Crisp said, “We are aware that we have some water issues.  We are currently working on a major project.  We can’t start at everybody’s house.  We had to pick a spot to start.  We’re going to be starting in the southeast part of town.”

Sample of water from Northview Dr. area of Dell Rapids

Sample of water from Northview Dr. area of Dell Rapids

Residents in the area of Northview Dr had similar water issues prior to the new water line replacement project in that area.  It was noted during the meeting that residents in that area installed water-filter systems and that helped the water issue a little.  It was suggested that a similar short-term solution could be done in this instance until a water line  replacement could be done.

“I just don’t know what else to say at the moment.  We are aware of it.  We’re sorry, we apologize, whatever I can say to you.  We know we have some situations around town, and we are dealing with it.  It’s going to be extensive project,” Crisp said.

Weiland also said during the discussion that the Sunset Dr area has the same vintage cast iron water line pipes and are about the same age as the ones that were replaced in the Northview Dr area.

No action was taken on this visitor discussion item during the meeting.

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Dell Rapids’ 2nd Electronic Recycling Day Successful

ElectronicRecyclingThe City of Dell Rapids held another free electronic recycling day on Saturday, October 28th, as part of their free rubble site days this year.  This is the second time the city has held a free electronic recycling day for its residents.

“It was a good event.  There were 46 TVs, several computer monitors, a lot of VCRs, radios, DVD players and other miscellaneous items dropped off,” said City Administrator Justin Weiland during the Dell Rapids City Council meeting on Monday, November 6th.

A total of two full trailers of electronics were collected during the event.  Even though the event was free for Dell Rapids residents, the city incurred costs of $730 to pay staff members of SEAM, the electronic recycling company, to oversee the drop-off.

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Dell Rapids Sales Tax Revenue Remains Strong

DellRapidsTowerSales tax revenue remains strong in Dell Rapids.  That report was given by City Administrator Justin Weiland to the Dell Rapids City Council during their regular meeting on Monday, November 6th.

From January through September of 2017, the city has collected just over $929,000 in sales tax revenue.  During the same time frame in 2016, the city collected just under $869,000.  Every month but two have seen an increase in sales tax revenue in 2017 from 2016.  The city just had three straight months of over $100,000 collected in each month.

“The interesting note on that is that the months of July, August, September, if you look at the history, all three of those months are the highest collection months the city has seen probably in our history.  We’ve had three really, really positive months of sales tax collectoin.  So that’s good news especially when we’ve heard of the sales tax are down in the state and the city of Sioux Falls,” said Weiland.

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Dell Rapids City Council Approves Scoreboard Eagle Scout Project

ManualScoreboardThe Dell Rapids City Council gave the green light for an Eagle Scout project that will place manual scoreboards on two baseball fields at Dell Rapids City Park.  The approval was given during the council’s regular meeting on Monday, October 16th.

Jack Prasek presented plans to the council for a manual scoreboard to be given to the Dell Rapids Baseball association that he will build for his Eagle Scout project.  The scoreboard is planned to be placed on Field F on the south side of the river once completed.

“It will mostly be a simple scoreboard with a home score, guest score, and an inning.  We plan on having brothers or sisters doing the scoring at the games,” said Prasek during his presentation.

The manual scoreboard will start five feet off the ground and go to a height of ten feet.  The width of the scoreboard will be five feet.  Also included on the structure will be a walkway platform about two feet off the ground to be used to reach placing the scores.  There will be hooks placed on the scoreboard to hang numbers for the home score, guest score, and inning.  A lock box will also be built on the structure to store the numbers. DellRapidsFieldF

The cost of the project is estimated to be about $375-400.  Dell Rapids Lumber was chosen as the lumber company to purchase materials for the project.  The Dell Rapids Baseball Association will be paying for all the costs associated with the project.

None of the baseball fields have scoreboards at this point.  The hope is these manual scoreboards will be a benefit to the players and fans, and possibly these manual scoreboards will lead into digital boards sometime in the future.


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Two Dell Rapids City Employees Recognized

DellRapidsTowerTwo Dell Rapids city employees were given awards during the 84 Annual South Dakota Municipals League Conference held Tuesday, October 3rd through Friday, October 6th.  This year’s conference was held at the Ramkota Hotel and Conference Center in Sioux Falls.

City of Dell Rapids Code Enforcement Officer and Building Inspector Ben Gruis was awarded the annual Jim Fjerstad Safety Award.  This award goes to only one individual in South Dakota per year.

“Ben runs our safety program for our city.  He was recognized at a luncheon in front of everyone that was in attendance at the luncheon.  He was unaware that he was going to receive the award, and his wife was there, so it was a nice moment,” said City Administrator Justin Weiland at the Dell Rapids City Council meeting on Monday, October 16th.

Public Works Director Larry Schildhauer was also recognized during the conference.  Schildhauer was inducted into South Dakota Municipal League Hall of Fame during a luncheon.  Schildhauer has provided the city with 42 years of service.

“Governor Daugaard was the keynote speaker at that luncheon, and in the middle of his speech pointed at Larry and called out Larry for being his classmate.  Said what a great guy he was and  they don’t get to hang out enough.  He commended him for his years of service, so that was pretty nice moment as well,” Weiland also said during the council meeting.


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City Council Updates from Oct 2nd

DellRapidsTowerThe Dell Rapids City Council met in regular session on Monday, October 2nd, at the Dell Rapids Fire Hall.  In a light agenda, the following items were discussed:

  • The Downtown Halloween Trick or Treat event permit was approved for Friday, October 27th.
  • Unpaid utility bills were approved to be sent to collections after a courtesy call was given.
  • Resolution No. 2017-12:  Minnehaha County Legislative Priorities was approved.
  • Administration updated the council that they are not ready to make a recommendation of a new website provider yet.
  • An update was given about the asphalt overlay project.  The areas that were completed were Harrison Avenue, Third Street south of the railroad tracks, two sections on Fifth and Sixth east of Iowa Avenue, and Third Street and Orleans on the truck route after the water main break.

After the meeting concluded, the council was given a tour of the fire hall.

The Dell Rapids City Council will meet again on Monday, October 16th, at 7:30 p.m.  The meeting will be at the City Chambers and can be seen on Big Sioux Media.

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