City administrator, council agree to contract

City band looks for financial support

Flandreau’s new city administrator will earn $90,000 a year when he replaces Don Whitman beginning May 2.

Jeff Pederson and the city have agreed to a contract that includes the salary plus benefits. Pederson, 60, and his wife, Andrea, plan to move to Flandreau from Paducah, Ky., and looked at four homes when they were here interviewing in order to prepare to find a place to live.

Mayor Mark Bonrud formally recommended Pederson’s hiring at the April 2 city council meeting, a decision that was unanimously approved by the council. After the meeting, Bonrud called Pederson and told him his offer to the city, in the negotiation process, had been accepted.

Pederson, who was one of two finalists for the job, brings 35 years of city management experience to the job, is a South Dakota native and has said that Flandreau has a lot of opportunities as a small community. He said he heard about gems in the community during the interview process and saw several things in town that fell into that category, including the Boys & Girls Club, the National Guard armory and the aquatic center.

Whitman, who is making $83,167 a year, is retiring May 1 after six years in Flandreau.

In other business,

  • The city band treasurer told council members that the band may not be able to perform as often this year because it didn’t get the money it requested for this year’s budget. The band asked for $5,000, which it had received some years but received $3,000 from the city.

The band pays its director $60 for each rehearsal and performance which was just over $1,000 last year, said Amy Weight, treasurer. Musicians are not paid to perform but are given between $5 and $8.50 in mileage each time they play, depending on how far away they live. That costs about $4,000 a year. The band also has expenses to buy some music, along with a few chairs and music stands.

In addition, the band’s sound system is in poor shape which deters guest artists from performing because they aren’t able to fully share their talents, she said.

The band has 69 members with 20 of those living outside of the Flandreau community. The group’s season is April through August with 10 summer performances.

In the past, the budget requests were granted, she said. This past year it was not so the band is looking at options. “One of our options is to have less concerts and rehearsals this summer,” she said. Each event costs about $300.

“I guess in a way we felt a little hurt. We are feeling we’re not as wanted,” she said.

A year earlier, the band had requested only $3,000 because it hadn’t needed to spend all of its money before that and didn’t want to ask for more if it had money in its account, Weight said. But once that was saved over a year and then spent the next year, the band requested its normal $5,000 but received $3,000 for this year.

Whitman said the band’s funding was cut by $2,000 in the city’s efforts to balance its budget. “When we were putting the budget together for 2018, every thousand dollars mattered,” he said, adding that the Boys and Girls Club didn’t get all it asked for either. “It just happened that we needed the $2,000 to balance the budget.”

Alderman Karen Sutton said the group could cut its budget by eliminating the $20 paid to the Achievement Day’s parade driver. But Weight said sometimes one of the band members just pays the driver out of their own pocket for pulling the flatbed with his semi and using his diesel fuel.

Alderman Ron Smith said musicians shouldn’t be paid mileage, but that the city should pay for items like a sound system, music, chairs and music stands.

After questions and further discussion, alderman Dan Sutton made a motion to give the band an additional $1,000 from the city’s reserve fund and encouraged Weight to find a fundraiser for the rest. Alderman Bob Pesall seconded the motion, which was approved unanimously.

After the meeting, Weight said the band would sign up for the car wash fundraiser and would talk about what else would help. “I don’t have any doubts we’ll make it work,” she said.

Bonrud said he wishes the band could have gotten its full budget request and hopes that the community steps up to donate to the group and any fundraisers so that it can continue playing a full schedule.

“I was trying to figure out how to get the band more money,” he said. “We didn’t help them out as much as I wanted to.”

  • Whitman explained a change in route for the planned sanitary sewer and water main replacements for phases two and three. The change will solve some issues raised by the state highway department.

The city plans to bore under Veterans Street at Third Avenue instead of having an open cut during the project. That will be better for traffic to the casino, he said. The city is working on getting easements from homeowners on the north side of Pipestone Avenue for the project as well.

The project is part of the work that includes finishing First Avenue, which the contractor was unable to do before winter weather started late last year. The contractor wanted to start working on the project already this spring, but the engineer said no because of snow and cold weather. They will have a construction meeting with the city before work will start.

There still is a lot of work to finish, especially by the school. Some areas on First Avenue have yet to be started, as well. “There’s a whole section on First from Wilson to Wind. They haven’t dug that up yet,” Whitman said.

The project has a mid-summer deadline or the contractor will have to begin paying late fines unless the city extends the completion date. “They do have a deadline that everyone agreed on of July 25,” Whitman said. “I don’t know when they’re coming back yet, and I don’t know where they plan on starting.”

  • The council approved a pay raise for Karen Gundvaldson in her new position as finance manager. She will be paid $50,000 a year plus benefits and will have the opportunity for a pay raise in the next budget process. Whitman initially proposed paying $53,000 because the city was below average in paying the former finance officer $50,819, according to a recent wage survey.

Smith said he would rather wait until all of the salaries are adjusted for next year rather than singling out one. “I’d like to look at the financial impact before we make that decision.”

When Gundvaldson was given the interim finance job in February, her pay was increased to $21 an hour or $43,680 a year.

In addition, Crystal Roberts was given a 4-cent an hour wage to bring her onto the utility billing clerk pay scale. She was promoted from payroll clerk and also was given a pay raise in February.

  • Tanner Harris of Flandreau was hired at $15.99 an hour for the job of street maintenance and equipment operator to fill the position vacated by Larry Pitsenberger, who moved to Minnesota.
  • Erinn Osborne with the Boys and Girls Club said this year’s raffle in July will be for a vacation voucher worth about $4,000. In the past, the fundraiser has included raffling an ATV, but because the group didn’t sell all of the tickets last year, organizers wanted to change the prize for this year. The agency will sell 500 tickets at $30 each.

The agency is open to youth from kindergarten to 12th grade after school and during the summer.

  • The council approved the transfer of the on-sale and off-sale liquor licenses from Wind Street Station and Wind Street Liquor Store to ROK Properties LLC, a Brookings-based business that has purchased the building where the former bar and store operated before closing several years ago. The owner plans to reopen the bar and off-sale business.
  • The cemetery mowing and trimming bid was awarded to Marty Parsley for $790. The city also received a bid for $1,150 for weekly mowing from Madison Lawn Care.
  • Tom Hansen and Vonda Crow were awarded the bid to operate the park concession stand and were the only bidders at $441. Last year, they paid $334 to operate the stand.
  • The city’s sales tax receipts for the first quarter of the year are down $8,309 compared to that same quarter a year ago but up $43,974 over that time period in 2016. For the first quarter in 2018, the sales tax receipts were $197,481.

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