Keystone town board goes through changes

By Jeff Smith

Vanessa Row, Keystone Finance Officer, swears in Rick Brandfas at the Keystone town board meeting on May 2. Brandfas became the town board president and will conduct the meetings now that Sandi McLain is no longer part of the board.

The Keystone town board has a a familiar face on the board of trustees and a new town board president. Sandi McLain, the outgoing board president, was on the town board for the past nine years.

“You have all been very, very supportive,” McLain told the town board and audience members.

“Keystone has been the love of my life. I wouldn’t be here unless I didn’t love it so much.”

Lynette Gohsman was elected to the town board in April, receiving six more votes than McLain.

Gohsman said she was glad to be elected to the town board.

“There are things I want to accomplish for the town,” Gohsman said.

She wants to focus on parking issues in Keystone and then wants to update some ordinances since some are outdated.

Rick Brandfas became the town board president at the meeting. He knew ahead of time but said it was exciting. He hasn’t been involved with the town for too long, just becoming a resident in fall of 2016.

He was a little nervous becoming the president of the town board because he still doesn’t know everyone in town, the complete infrastructure of the town or all of the street names. He became ok with it because in bigger cities people on the councils don’t know everything.

He is anticipating Keystone to have a challenging year.

“There will be ups and downs. That is part of the experience,” Brandfas said.

The DOT is going to be working on plans for the curbs and crosswalks, Changes have been made with water wells but there are still problems and the sewer plant is being updated. Plus there will have to be more work done on finding out more about private septic systems and taking advice on how to regulate those with Pennington County. The post office relocation is moving forward too.

Not everything is doom and gloom either though.

There are a lot of new faces on the chamber of commerce board that are excited and energetic about Keystone about their plans. There are a lot of different ideas that they think will make Keystone better in the future.

Keystone will also be hosting a South Dakota Municipal League Conference. Brandfas said most of the Keystone town board trustees will be involved.

“I’ll be speaking at the event,” Brandfas said.

He will be going to other Keystone organization meetings to be informed and stay updated on different things.

Brandfas has plans to look into making changes at the traffic light on Highway 16 so that it can signal left into Keystone on Reed St.

“During peak season you might be 12 cars deep waiting to turn left and there are dozens of cars coming,” Brandfas said.

Brandfas talked to others about it and they’re on the same page.

He doesn’t think it will be too big of a deal to add another light to the stoplight and adjust the programming.

Brandfas is thinking that the DOT will have to come and do a survey on this issue.

Number five passed the tests it needed to in order to operate. On May 14, it will be up and running which will be a huge benefit to Keystone.

Jerry Przybylski, public works superintendent, said it will be pumping 85 gallons a minute which will be a huge upgrade. The cell where liner was taken out of was tested to see if there was any moisture underneath the concrete. Przybylski said there weren’t any voids found but there is going to be work done to fix some cracks.

Vanessa Row, Keystone Finance Officer, is going to be helping out at the Keystone Museum on Mondays and Tuesdays. She is retiring later this year and has been training Cassandra Ott on the finance officer position.

Ramada Inn is going to be doing the same type of agreement for parking as they did last year. During the day, visitors are allowed to park at Ramada Inn. At night, Ramada Inn guests are allowed to use the city’s parking.

“As we know our tax base was up quite a bit last year. It was this type of innovative thinking that helped progress the city,” Tim Johnson said, one of the owners of Ramada Inn.

Amanda Bair, teacher at Hill City High School and sponsor of the Leo Club, made a request to the town board to donate money to the club in order to bring a speaker to the school district.

“He is flat out amazing. His name is Mike Smith and he’s based out of Lincoln, Nebraska,” Bair said.

His big topics are leadership, changing culture and climate in the schools as well as pursuing dreams.

The student senate and Leo Club have been busy raising money to bring Mike Smith to the area. Around $6,000 is needed to bring the speaker to Hill City. The Keystone Town board decided to donate $500, which was taken from the promotional fund.

The DOT is going to be putting some bump outs in Keystone on Winter St. next year and Row said they need to see if there will be any additional costs to the town of Keystone for this. The town is hoping to get some answers before the budget hearing in August.

A new scooter rental shop is going to be in Keystone soon. Black Hills Scootours is going to be the first moped rental business in Keystone. A small fleet of 49cc scooters will be available to be rented by any licensed driver over the age of 18-years-old.

Andy Anderson spoke about the new business at the town board meeting. The scooters will all be street legal and pamphlets will be provided to people so they can be directed toward lower speed roads.

Gohsman asked if there would be any legal repercussions if people were to go on sidewalks. Anderson said the riders would need to sign a contract and abide by state road laws.

The scooter rental business will be located on Swanzey St. across from informational kiosk that is operated by the Keystone Chamber of Commerce.

The town board was also sent a letter requesting that they provide support for amending state laws to allow for the provision of mobile salon services.

Mike Trike, a Keystone resident, said that he would be in support of a mobile salon business and thinks that it would be good for the senior citizens in Keystone.

Row will be writing a letter addressing the proposal of having the availability of a mobile salon in Keystone.

The United States Postal Service has decided that the Keystone retail services center will be relocated to Roy Street, behind the Borglum Story museum.