Keystone talks slash pile ordinance

Leslie Silverman
The Keystone Town Board began discussions on a town slash pile ordinance. Although no action was taken at the Sept. 6 meeting, the goal is to have an ordinance in place by Nov. 1.
Board president Sandi McLain said an  ordinance  was created last year but that the city wanted to see what South Dakota Wildland Fire’s ordinance would look like before passing one in Keystone. 
“Our ordinance  should really match Wildland Fire, except we are a municipality,” she said.
The draft the board passed around was more of an outline of how to construct piles and burn correctly. It included an attachment of a video that would be viewed by the person or business who intended to burn. 
This would “ release liability” for the city, said McLain. McLain appeared in favor of smaller piles in town, “due to the situation last year,” which she did not elaborate on. However she also was concerned for  people  who work in the slash pile industry saying “we desperately need to burn these piles, otherwise there could be a tragedy.”
Other trustees agreed, saying Wildland Fire’s limitations of a six-foot in diameter, five-foot in height pile was just too restrictive. 
“We have the  power to make our own ordinance,” said trustee Matt Fullilove. “We should be able to have a municipal ordinance,” he said, for instances of large slash piles or when a large amount of snow is on the ground in months that fall outside of Wildland Fire’s Nov. 1 to March 31 restrictions. Fullilove called the Wildland Fire ordinance a “broad ban” and wanted the city to create an ordinance that takes it “out of litigation.”
Trustee Will Parks said  there are property owners that “already have existing piles that exceed 6 feet,” and wanted an ordinance that “exceeds that for larger piles.”
Attorney Mitch Jonhson encouraged the board to have one ordinance in place and asked for recommendations so he could draft an ordinance for the next board meeting. The board will then discuss the ordinance and have the fire department review it. 
An incident at the sewer plant was a “major issue,” but resulted in no penalties, according to Superintendent of Public Works, Jerry Przybylski.
The department is continuing to question homeowners about water connections in an effort to adhere to EPA requests.
Trustees approved increasing the rental use contract for  the Keystone Community Center. The agreement had not been updated in some time.
There will now be a $50, mandatory and non-refundable utility fee, in addition to an increased fee for kitchen rent and meeting room rent.
Trustees discussed the inability to lock the meeting room to users even if it’s not rented. Trustee Casey  McNulty suggested if the board was to replace some locks it should consider rekeying the entire building.
Fullilove suggested a keyless code instead of “a bunch of keys going around.”
Parks said it’s a lot more efficient since you are not certain how many times a hard key is duplicated.
There are six permanent doors to the Keystone Community Center.
The board will review options to see what’s available, and no action was taken on the matter.
The first reading of the 2024  budget was approved.
The Senior Citizens  Center is getting $20,000,  the park board is receiving $35,000, the museum $20,000 and the chamber $149,927.
The total appropriation is $957,694 with $225,000 being transferred to the water fund and $46,359 transferred  to the general  fund.
$426,466 is being transferred to the 300 fund to meet the appropriations which include bridge repairs, flood mitigation and sewer plant payments. 
Sales tax numbers for the month of Aug. were up 2.68%,while BBB numbers increased 5.79% for the same time period over last year.
The state parking lot  collected $40,878.49 for June, July and Aug. These numbers are slightly up from last year. 
The town is working on a punch list for Heavy Construction  for the pedestrian bridge to Watson Park.
Fullilove wants to talk to the city engineer about some things that were supposedly not done that may have been completed as a means of more “investigation” to get ducks in a row before the list is complete.
The next meeting is Sept. 20 at 5pm. The earlier meeting is so trustees can meet with Duane Pankratz to discuss a well on his property. The entire meeting is open to the public.

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