Speed limit goes to 20 mph

Leslie Silverman

A letter recommending the speed limit through Keystone be changed to 20 miles per hour (mph) year-round was signed by the town board of trustees at the last Keystone Town Board meeting.


“My recommendation was that we go 20 mph year-round and that way we don’t have to worry about what days we’re changing it and all that,” said deputy Chris Plawman.


The sewer plant had a violation of total suspended solids and biochemical oxygen demands. 


“Our monthly average is 10 and we were at 11 partly due to the weather and we were switching from one cell to two cells,” said public works superintendent Jerry Przybylski.


This was reported to the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).


“We’re working on it to get it fixed,” Przybylski said.


There will not be a burn pile this year due to road construction. Przybylski wanted to stress to the public that sewer plants cannot handle non-flushable items such as wipes and paper towels. 


“You don’t want to flush paper towels, wipes,” he said. “That stuff does not break down. If it does make it out of yours it might get into ours and plug it up. People should be aware. Even tissues. They don’t break down.”


He plans on posting a list of what is not acceptable on the city’s Facebook page. 


The board is taking the COVID-19 virus seriously by practicing social distancing at meetings that are now being held in the gym.


“The community center is closed to non-essential personnel,” said Rick Brandfas, Keystone Town Board president. “The library is open to appointment only. We’re doing everything we can to keep the citizens of Keystone safe and virus-free.”


City Hall is open but closed to in-person visits. If one needs to do business with city hall, call, email, text or drop off paperwork in the drop box.

Plawman also showed concern.


“I know we have a lot of elderly folks that live in and around Keystone,” he said. “But if you know of somebody, maybe we can check on them, in case they don’t have what they need. I’m open to suggestions on how to do that.” 


The town engineer’s report said a base map from the Lidar data was composed for the paid parking lot. Parking lot staking and front street staking may be combined into one project.


Hydraulics is near complete on the bridge project. The town engineer was hoping to have a bid opening on April 22 at a special meeting.


Both bridges could be kept together in one project. The town, concerned about financial security, decided to not put the bridges out for bid right now.


“It would be nice,” said trustee Sandi McLain. “I think it’s a good idea. But considering the situation we should let it simmer.”

The $618,000 commitment would come from the town’s savings.


 “Let it simmer. We don’t know what’s going to go on with this,” agreed trustee Lynette Gohsman.


The Coronavirus may have an impact on the Living History program at the Keystone Museum, according to Keystone Area Historical Society Board president Jon Veltman. 


“That’s where about 500 kids come to the museum and we have the retired teachers put all of this on,” he said. “My concern is that the retired teachers are all in their 70s and 80s. We have 500 kids cycling through there in a month. I’d hate to not do it. We’ve done it for many many years.”


Veltman is worried about the logistics of the program. He also is worried about the Carrie Ingalls Festival, slated to take place in July.


“We’re kind of limbo just like everyone else,” Veltman said.


The museum agreed upon procedures (AUP) contract is being drawn up and is anticipated to be signed in the next few weeks. Citizen Casey McNulty asked about postponing the AUP in an effort to save money.


Trustee Kwinn Neff said, “That’s a question for the museum. It’s their audit.”


Neff has decided to put a July 3 committee on hold. He also requested a budget review for the next town board meeting.


McLain encouraged businesses to fill out forms from the state to qualify as an economic injury disaster area.


“Even though we have not shut down, we are trying to get (Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loans) worksheets filled out by all businesses,” McLain said. “Make sure you get that worksheet filled out. It doesn’t commit you to anything but it takes your numbers and if you’re not open it documents what your numbers were last year and then if you’re going to be down this year that worksheet will indicate it and open up to businesses free money as well as (Small Business Administration) loans which can be spread out over 30 years.”


The cleanup week this year has been canceled. This is due to budgetary expenses, as it cost the town $1,500 to do it last year.


“We need to save money the most that we can,” McLain said. Dumpsters will not be provided this year as a result of that decision. The town cleanup day, which historically coincides with Earth Day but usually lacks participation, has also been canceled. The town has also decided to stop funding fundraisers for the time being.


The food pantry is currently well stocked. Veltman had planned to do more food orders; however, Feeding South Dakota has since closed.


“It’s going to impact our ability to provide meats and frozen items at the food pantry,” Veltman said in a separate interview.


Feeding South Dakota is going to bring 30 boxes of non-perishable items to the senior center to be distributed amongst the community.


Bingo and Friday lunches have been suspended at the senior center.


The state department of transportation will work  on Hwy. 16A this summer and, as a result, the department of public works needs to move a hydrant in front of Jane’s Pizza.


In light of the COVID-19 crisis, the town board voted to suspend the need for a doctor’s note for employees if they feel they may have the virus.


Garrett Dixon of the Battle Creek Fire Department spoke to the board about cleaning the creek bottoms out.


“You might be able to get sections at a time cleaned out,” Dixon said. “The biggest thing is when these storms come in, limbs break off. That’s what gets put into the creek. And when we flood that all goes downstream and that's what gets caught up in the bridges.” 


The next town board meeting takes place on April 2 at 5 p.m.

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