New Dell Rapids City Council Called to Order

2018DRCityCouncil_1The new Dell Rapids City Council was called to order on Monday, May 7th with one new councilman taking position.  Chad Ronshaugen was the only candidate that filed a petition for the open seat in Ward 3 left by Mike Sterud.  Councilmen Bill Schmidt, Barry Berg, and Bob Mier ran unopposed as incumbents in their wards and will join Ronshaugen for another term on the Dell Rapids City Council.

Prior the the new council being called to order, the old council had to adjourn.  Prior to that happening, Dell Rapids Mayor Tom Earley shared some comments about Sterud. 2018DRCityCouncil_3

“It is my honor to be able to recognize Mike Sterud for his service to the community.  Mike, it’s been a pleasure having you on here,”  Mayor Earley said.

After the new councilmen were sworn to office, the council elected new officers and committee members.  Councilman Mark Crisp was elected the President.  Councilman Mike Geraets was elected as Vice President.

2018DRCityCouncil_2Committee appointments are as follows:

  • Finance and Public Works Committee:  Crisp, Schmidt, Haak
  • Policy and Procedure Committee:  Borchert, Ronshaugen, Berg
  • Surplus Property Appraisal Committee:  Entire Council
  • Minnehaha County Economic Development Association:  Geraets
  • Dell Rapids Economic Development Corporation:   Geraets
  • Library Board Liaison:  Mier
  • Dell Rapids Chamber of Commerce Board Liaison:  Ronshaugen
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Thefts on the Rise in Dell Rapids

CarTheftDellRapidsThe Dell Rapids City Council heard a report of thefts on the rise in the community during their regular meeting on Monday, May 7th.  Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office had Deputy Mitchell give the report to the council.

Deputy Mitchell reported that within the last couple of weeks the department has taken several theft calls, with most of the calls being things taken out of people’s cars or front porches.  He noted they have taken a lot of vehicle break-in calls.

“I just wanted to let you guys know that’s been on the rise for some reason.  I don’t know if it’s the warm weather or just people coming up from other parts of the state.  It wouldn’t be a bad idea to remind people to keep their doors locked and to lock up their bicycles,” said Deputy Mitchell.

“Has it kind of been in one area or pretty much all over town?” asked Councilman Bill Smith.

Deputy Mitchell responded that the car break-ins have mostly been happening in the Garfield Ave and 7th St area.

“The report I took for bicycle was on the west side of town, west of Highway 77, so it’s been all over,” Deputy Mitchell also noted.

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Free Spring Rubble Site Days Nearing

DellRapidsTowerThe free rubble site days for this spring are nearing in Dell Rapids.  The Dell Rapids City Council approved May 3rd (Thursday), May 5th (Saturday), and May 12th (Saturday) as the three free days for the rubble site.

As a reminder the Rubble Site is licensed by the State of South Dakota and is restricted to trees, branches, untreated wood, construction and demolition debris, sheet rock, plaster, concrete, carpet, furniture, mattresses, grass, yard and garden waste and leaves, and large household appliances. Fees are enforced by volume and type of material.  Dell Rapids residents only.

Unaccepted items include household waste, cardboard, plastic (of any kind), small electric appliances (TVs, stereo equipment, microwaves), toys, and bikes with tires, shingles, asbestos, tires, hazardous materials, fiberglass.

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Council Approves Upcoming Events

DellRapidsTowerThe Dell Rapids City Council approved two upcoming events during their last regular meeting on Monday, April 16th.

The first outdoor permit event that was approved was for a “Worship Under the Stars” event for Wednesday, May 9th.  Some students from the Dell Rapids High School Impact group will be hosting a “clean-up” day at the City Park during the day.  In the evening the group, along with Dell Rapids Connections, will be hosting a worship event in the evening from 6:30 to 10:00 p.m. with music.  The second event that was approved was the annual Memorial Day Parade and park service that will be held on Monday, May 28th.  Both of the events were approved with the fee waived.

In other business during the meeting, the council approved the transfer of the Retail On-Off Sale Malt Beverage license of Pizza Ranch from the previous owners to the new owners, Sirwick Inc.  The council also approved the next pay request for KHC Construction for the Waste-Water Treatment Facility SBR Project.  A preliminary plan request for Spruce Glen additions along with Resolution No. 2018-05 (Adopt Minnehaha County Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan) were also both approved.

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Big Sioux River Rip Rap Project Completed

The Big Sioux River rip rap project in Dell Rapids was recently completed by Dakota Clearing and Grading along with help from the city crew.  The project consisted of adding rip rap to the north and south banks of the Big Sioux River to spots both east and west of the Garfield Ave bridge.

“We got that in on probably the last window frame of time that we could have possibly got it in because as soon as they were done, the temperatures warmed up quite a bit and it would been too sloppy to be out there moving heavy equipment around.  Dakota Clearing and Grading did it in about three to three and a half days, and did a really great job,” said City Administrator Justin Weiland during the Dell Rapids City Council’s regular meeting on Monday, March 5th.

Weiland also noted that LG Everist needed to be recognized for the project as well for being the “good-neighbor company they are.”  LG Everist contributed all the material to assist the city with the project.



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Dell Rapids Bath House Renovations Discussed in Pierre

DellRapidsBathhouseDell Rapids Mayor Tom Earley, City Administrator Justin Weiland, Dell Rapids Finance Officer Claire Baartman, Dell Rapids City Council Member James Borchert, and retired architect and Dell Rapids native Mark Aspaas met with South Dakota State Historical Preservation Office (SHPO) officials along with Governor Dennis Daugaard and his wife Linda in Pierre recently to discuss possible renovations to the Dell Rapids bath house.  A report of the meeting was given to the Dell Rapids City Council during their regular meeting on Tuesday, February 20th.

Aspaas has put together some renderings of what a renovation could be as well as put together a potential cost estimate of about $275,000.  Those renderings along with potential uses for the building were discussed during the meeting in Pierre.

“The main purpose of the meeting was to get them (SHPO) to look at these renderings and tell us they had a comfort level of approving them because it’s on the historical registry.  We have to get their approval,” Weiland said to the council during the city council meeting.  “It was a positive meeting.  The governor and his wife responded very positively to the use that is being proposed at this time.” BathHouseRendering

There were a couple of proposed ideas for uses of a renovated bath house.  One idea is to develop a museum within the walls of the interior of the bath house that would provide information through narratives and photographs of the history of quartzite rock in Dell Rapids.  Printed wall panels could be used to portray the history of the quarries as well as the buildings in Dell Rapids that have been built with quartzite.

The other proposed use of the building would be as a public gathering space for family reunions, group gatherings, and other like events.  There could be tables and chairs inside of the building with power for crock pots.  The bath house could then be made available for reservation similar to the building in the northwest corner of the park that is used today.

“I think it’s an important thing to do.  Our community has more younger families moving into the community.  I suspect there is a significant part of the community that know there are quarries here, but haven’t got a clue as to what the role those quarries have played in the history of this community,” Mayor Earley mentioned during the council meeting.

Mayor Earley also noted Governor Daugaard has sent his fundraising process document to city administration.  He also said that fundraising efforts for this project could run similar to the library renovation and expansion project.

“We will be continuing to work on this and hopefully, at some point, we’ll get there.  I think the state historical people appreciate the fact of what we are trying to do in terms of preserving the old bath house,” said Mayor Earley.

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Planning and Zoning Board Gets New Member

DellRapidsTowerThe Dell Rapids Planning and Zoning Board will have a new member after the Dell Rapids City Council accepted the resignation of board member Paul Zweifel on Monday, February 8th during the council’s regular meeting.

Dell Rapids City Mayor Tom Earley brought an appointment to fill the open spot on the board to the council.  Mayor Earley’s appointment is former Dell Rapids Superintendent Tom Ludens.

“Tom certainly has experience with dealing with the public over his years of school superintendent.  I think he’ll bring another element of value to planning and zoning.  I think it’s important that we do what we can to make sure that it’s a vibrant board, and it has the resources to do the things they need to be doing,” said Mayor Earley.

Ludens commented, “I’ve enjoyed living here for almost 22 years, and I have nothing but positives about Dell Rapids.  Thanks for your appointment.”

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City Approves New Batting Cage

NewBattingCageA new batting cage will be constructed next to Field E in Dell Rapids after the city council gave its approval.  The Dell Rapids City Council approved the request by the Dell Rapids Baseball Association during the regular meeting on Monday, February 5th.

The Dell Rapids Baseball Association in partnership with the Dell Rapids Softball Association are working on a project to construct a new batting cage along the right field side of Field E.  The start of the project will be this spring in hopes of completing the project early into the baseball and softball seasons this summer, if not sooner.

“As you guys are probably aware, our numbers keep increasing, increasing, increasing, and we have one batting cage right now and that’s up by Rickeman Field.  So really, the youth fields don’t have any batting cages.  We would like to put a cage to start with, one single cage, down the right field line of Field E,” said Dell Rapids Baseball Association board member Jeff Holm.  Holm presented the project during the council meeting.

The Dell Rapids Baseball Association has been in contact with local companies and contractors to provide the materials for the project.  The goal is to try to get most of the materials and work volunteered or at cost to keep the price of the project as low as possible.  The baseball and softball associations did not request any city funding for the project.  Any costs associated with this project will be paid by the Dell Rapids Baseball Association.

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2017 Sales Tax Revenues Up, Building Permits Down in Dell Rapids

DellRapidsTowerThe city of Dell Rapids is on pace to see an increase in sales tax revenue in 2017 over the previous year.  This report was given to the Dell Rapids City Council during their regular meeting on Tuesday, January 2nd by City Administrator Justin Weiland.

Sales tax revenue is currently at $1,128,559.85 through the month of November.  During the same reporting period in 2016, the city collected $1,060,266.89.

“Sales tax is through November, and we’re tracking at 6.4% above previous November.  So we anticipate we will exceed 2016 sales tax totals once again as we have consecutively over the last several years.  So that’s definitely positive,” said Weiland.

The December numbers are not quite finalized, but Weiland said as soon as those numbers become available, the final 2017 sales tax revenue report would be shared with the council.

Even though sales tax revenues for 2017 are trending in a positive direction from 2016, building permit revenue in 2017 was down for the city of Dell Rapids.  The city collected $13,261.50 in building permit fees in 2017 which resulted in $3,681,153.46 worth of building improvements in the city.  In 2016 the city saw $11,816,021.31 worth of improvements and in 2015 the city saw $11,023,410 worth of building improvements.

“These building permit totals were down pretty extensively from the previous year.  I think you can attribute that to the lack of any large scale, commercial or industrial, construction like we have had in the recent years going back to the grocery store, Shopko, or last year was the Midwest Fresh building and the Broin building.  Those kind of combined really elevate your numbers.  We didn’t have one of those in ’17, so I think that’s why you see that number significantly lower than previous years,” Weiland noted.

Not only did the city not have a large scale commercial or industrial construction project in 2017, the total number of new homes built in 2017 was also down compared to 2016. A total number of 10 new homes were built in 2017 which was down from 12 new homes in 2016.

Weiland also said, “The housing starts were a little bit lower than the average has been over the last 10 years or so.  This is something we need to keep an eye on.  I think we’ve all kind of predicted that we might reach a point when housing starts might be a little bit lower from year to year. The housing lot availability is going to continue to dwindle as they get sold.  I really think that’s something that we need to watch and be progressively thinking about the next step for housing.  You don’t want to be limited because your options aren’t there.”

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City Council Election Date Set

DellRapidsTowerThe Dell Rapids City Council set the election date for the open City Council positions for Tuesday, April 10th, 2018.  The election will be held at the Dell Rapids Lutheran Church.  This will be a shared election date with the school for the Dell Rapids School Board election.

There is an open position in each ward this year.  Bill Schmidt’s term in Ward 1, Barry Berg’s term in Ward 2, Mike Sterud’s term in Ward 3, and Bob Mier’s term in Ward 4 are all becoming vacant due to term expiration.

“Petitions can begin circulation on January 26th, and they must be submitted and completed by 5:00 p.m. Friday, February 23rd,” said City Administrator Justin Weiland during the council’s regular meeting on Tuesday, January 2nd.

Petitions need to be filed in the office of the finance officer located at City Hall at 302 E 4th St.  They are open between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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