Library to have new lights, vac truck purchased

By Jeff Smith

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The sidewalk or  “Streetscape” project is inching closer to beginning as City of Hill City administrator Brett McMacken had only more easement agreement to finalize last week.

McMacken will then work with the S.D. Department of Transportation for bid letting and awarding the project to a contractor.  McMacken said the easement agreements sound easy to get but they aren’t.

“I can’t e-mail these forms out to have them signed because they are triplicates from the state,” McMacken said.

The easements are temporary and all of them have been able to be acquired without a cost to the city.

“Everybody is happy to participate in the project,” McMacken said.

McMacken added that when the project began the belief was that the project was all public sidewalk and easements weren’t needed. It wasn’t until the last part of the process where an engineer called into question why easements weren’t obtained and the rules changed. It has been a wrench thrown into the plans that wasn’t expected.

Deegan Drive residents would like to investigate the possibility of gravel streets being turned into asphalt. City engineer Kale McNaboe has created some costs for that and another neighborhood meeting will be set up for that. Costs will be talked about and there are some other options to discuss.

The Business Improvement District (BID) Board will be starting up again now that the tourism season is wrapped up. McMacken will need to chat with Eileen Hamm, the president of the BID Board, about when the next one will be.

“I think it’s a time we can re-energize that and reconvene as a group,” McMacken said.

Engineering components are in the works so that the alleyway behind the Hill City Senior Center and Boys & Girls Club can be asphalted. 

At the Oct. 9 city council meeting Alderwoman Kathy Skorzewski spoke about the CodeRED system and how it could be better utilized. She thought that it would have been a good idea to have a notification go out about the Run Crazy Horse and Main Street being closed for certain parts of the day.

In the future there could be notifications being sent that will inform the public when streets are closed for events.

“I think we should start to look to utilize that system that we bought and put in place for outreach and things like that,” Skorzewski said.

McMacken said there could be certain parameters set so only certain people will see alerts in case there will be an emergency on Allen Gulch Road.

The Hill City Public Library will get LED light panels installed in the near future. The library board budgeted $7,000 for these lights. Can lights will be fastened to the ceiling and then panels will be mounted on those.

Mikal Lewis, Hill City Public Library board of trustees president, said the project will be done on a weekend.

“We have tried to figure out the best way to do it because when we pull them down we are going to  have an unfinished ceiling,” Lewis said.

When the lights are pulled down the ceiling will be refinished and then new lights will be installed.

All the lights will be the same. Lewis requested the city to authorize a purchase of $6,120 for 24 lights and panels. All of the council members approved the purchase.

Eight can light will also be used for the annex project and two light panels  for the annex project.

McMacken said the electrician might need to do extra work that could raise the cost of the project.

Lewis also spoke about the annex project.

“We pretty much have everything figured out,” Lewis said. “Things are moving right along.”

The Friends of the Library have received a $5,000 donation from a local couple as long as the other members match the $5,000. Lewis expects to come back to the city and ask them to use some money from the  Bed, Board and Booze (BBB) Fund to cover the rest of the project costs.

The library board has also found a 30 foot refrigerated trailer that will be near the library garage so that all of the books can be cleared out of there.

Custer’s old vac truck is now Hill City’s. Custer offered the truck to Hill City first before anyone else. The price was set frim at $25,000 because that’s what can be used for a trade-in.

“It appears to be in pretty good shape,” McMacken said.

Hill City also requested to get maintenance records for the vehicle. The records only go back to 2015.

One of the things Custer employees brought up was the water pump on the truck has been worked on and re-built. That repair and items worked on cost the city $10,000.

Skorzewski stated that since 2015 almost $15,000 in maintenance had been done on the truck.

“They put a good amount of repairs into it,” Skorzewski said.

Dan Pladson, Hill City public works director, said what was repaired were some of the main worn items.

“It will run for a long time because of that,” Pladson said.

He insisted that it would run for many years going forward.

Another option would be contracting out vac truck services, but Pladson said that they would pay for the truck within three years of having to contract a vac truck service.

McMacken said that Custer offered them training help and future assistance to troubleshoot any problems.

The city has approved to have two emergency well house transfer switches installed.

McMacken said they were looking at only having one well house transfer switch installation this year and where were expecting to spend $12,000 to $15,000 for one manual transfer switch.

At the city council meeting the common council discussed two price quotes that were received for two well houses. McMacken said the quotes came in lower than expected.

Pladson was at the well houses when both companies were figuring out the quotes and they both understood what was needed.

There was a discussion about the differences between the quotes from Studt Electric, Inc. and Freeman’s Electric Service, Inc. In the Studt Electric plan there was a step to install a main disconnect while Freeman’s just had the manual transfer switch.

Freeman’s Electric Service will do the work at the two well houses that were looked at.

There is a generator on hand now and with the transfer switch installation if the power goes out water will still be be pumped at the well houses.

Janet Wetovick-Bily, executive director of the Hill City Area Chamber of Commerce, asked the common council members to think about what Hill City is like when Hill City is vibrant and bustling. Her point was that the city is part of the chamber and making the city the way that it is.

“You are our partners and team members,” Wetovick-Bily said. “I want you to think about that and why you are so vital to the chamber.”

Wetovick-Bily said it is important to support everybody’s dreams and visions for Hill City.

“My simple invitation to you is to dream big and continue to partner with the chamber,” Wetovick-Bily said.

She mentioned some items in the Hill City Comprehensive Plan that people have thought will help preserve Hill City and helps make businesses thrive.

The Public Works  Department will need a new software and computer to help the wastewater treatment facility operate properly. There might be only a limited number of vendors that have the type of equipment needed. Things are dying on their current computer and pretty soon they won’t have a machine.

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