Chamber main focus at town board meeting

Leslie Silverman

Keystone Chamber of Commerce Board President Julie Smoragiewicz asked the Keystone Town Board for fairness when dealing with the Chamber at the most recent town board meeting.

“It does not seem appropriate for the chamber to be held to a different standard,” Smoragiewicz said. “It seems that at every turn our heads are being turned under water. And we’re focusing on trying to breathe. It’s just incredibly challenging to try to navigate the ever changing turns of the town.”

Smoragiewicz brought up several topics. Discussion about business license owners and chamber membership took place.

Referring to the minutes of the Feb. 21, 2018 meeting, Smoragiewicz stated, “when looking at the minutes unfortunately they’re not very clear. There’s no time frame listed.” 

Keystone inance Officer Cassandra Ott explained the situation by saying, “When this was first brought up in February of last year there was a lot of debate about raising the business license fee. The fee right now is $75 and they talked about increasing it to $100 and giving that extra $25 to the chamber. They ultimately decided to leave it at $75 and give $25 extra to the chamber. However, they did not create an ordinance so it’s not permanent. It was a one-time thing.”

Smoragiewicz also brought up concerns about the ground lease and Visitor Information Center.

“Mitch Johnson, city attorney, had no objections about the changes,” Smorgewiecz said. “The chamber wants to the lease. However there was much discussion about changes that can be made to the Visitor Information Center based on its location in the floodplain. We need to make sure that the building is structurally good for winter. In talking with (Ott), because it lies in the floodplain, only 50 percent of the value of the building can go into repairs and improvements.”

City engineer Alan Drews explained that as long as the structure isn’t changing the rise of the creek there should be no issues but acknowledged it is a “gray area.” 

“What (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) is trying to do is limit the insurance outlay they have,” he said.

The board asked Smoragiewicz to submit a building permit for any work the chamber is considering. 

A Roy Street Bridge inspection report was provided by Drews.

“We’re working on new structures to go in there,” Drews said. “Dec. 20 is our completion date to get it out to contractors and we are trying to get a set of plans to you guys at the least week of November.” 

The library will be hosting a Halloween kids carnival on Oct. 26 from 2-4 p.m.  Volunteers are appreciated for the event.

The library applied to participate in the South Dakota One Book program. The program encourages “people across South Dakota to read and discuss the same book through the year.”

The 2019 book is “Neither Wolf Nor Dog”  and the discussion takes place Nov. 13 at 6 p.m. The public is invited to participate in the event. 

The 35.10 (Bed, Board and Booze tax) ordinance was discussed.

Attorney Johnson suggested limiting the commercial entities that could benefit from the tax.

“I think that’s the intent,” Johnson said. “The first 50 percent would be for the businesses that pay the tax because plumbers or contractors, they’re not paying the tax. We don’t want to have some plumber come in here and say ‘you’re not promoting our business.’”

Johnson requested an opportunity to rewrite the ordinance and the matter will be placed on the agenda for the next meeting as a pending rewrite.

Paid parking for the season ended Sept. 23 and resume again May 15. The spring start up date coincides with the enforcement of employee parking.

The Keystone Senior Center has increased its membership, according to its board president Jon Veltman. Income for lunch has also increased over the previous two weeks. 

The center is also subletting part of its space to generate some revenue. During the meeting, Trustee Kwinn Neff donated a $200 check to the senior center, who is still about $8,000 short of its monetary goal to raise for funding a part time employee.

The museum closed for the season Sept. 22. The historical society board is considering charging admission next year. The museum has purchased a new program and equipment for taking inventory. 

Keystone resident Karen Boland asked the board to purchase dehumidifiers for the museum. The board will get bids on this and discuss at the next meeting.

The board approved a request by the town finance officer to attend the Black Hills Finance Officer Association meeting Sept. 26.

The board accepted a sealed bid for $7,000 for the Roy Street bridge beams and planking.

Trustee Sandi McLain offered to head a cemetery plot committee that will meet Sept. 20 at the senior center after the Friday potluck.

Action on an easement for a hydrant on Blair Street was tabled. 

The board approved a request to appoint a new member to the Keystone Library Board. 

A brief presentation by Grace of the Pines Hospice was given to the board.

The board approved the transfer of a liquor license from Hansen Investments Inc., located at the Rushmore View, to Duane Pankratz at the Rushmore View.

The second reading of the 2020 budget was approved.

The finance officer requested board members begin to use direct deposit. This will help “keep the books cleaner.” 

The next Keystone Town Board meeting takes place Oct. 2 at 5 p.m.

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