Nord named new board member


The Trent town board has named retiree Richard Nord as a replacement town representative after board president Bob Dickey’s resignation last month.

Nord, 68, was sworn in and started his duties at the monthly board meeting Feb. 13. He will serve through the April 10 election and plans to run for the one-year position at that point. Although he is retired, he drives bus for the Flandreau School District.

Jonathan Damm, who was named the new president of the three-member board at the meeting, said four people applied for Dickey’s position. Damm and board member, Matt Anderson, met in a closed-door session to interview those interested and to discuss their qualifications before selecting Nord.

“Everyone had very good qualities, and it was a very tough decision,” Anderson said. The remaining three people also have taken out petitions and would need to collect 10 signatures to get their names on the April ballot.

After citizens filed a petition for a recall election, Dickey resigned under controversy following the January meeting. He had served for decades in various volunteer capacities in Trent and continues his paid maintenance position with the town.

Under board assignments, Anderson will work with the Trent gym renovations, and Nord will be the point person for streets and roads.

In other board business,

  • After giving one final notice, the town will start shutting off water to the eight people who are more than three months past due on their bills. Those accounts add up to $4,059.50 in outstanding payments, including one person who owes $1,719.50, city records show. In addition, residents that are 30 and 60 days past due on payments also add up, said Kim Nelson, city finance director.

She said every winter, people get behind in payments. Sometimes when contacted, they will pay just enough to not get shut off. The town needs to more aggressively collect on the money due because a town ordinance says Trent can shut off water when an account is 60 days past due, she said.

Damm said the amount of money owed the town, especially by people more than three months behind, is sizeable compared to the overall budget in the small town.

“We’ve played this game with some of them for years. We’ve got to do something to get this caught up. That’s a lot of money out there,” he said.

Trent has been looking at budget options as money has gotten tighter and the board has voted to implement a second-penny sales tax. Residents have referred that decision to a public vote, and it will be on the April 10 ballot as well.

In addition, board members in January eliminated the expense of having someone patrol for stray animals, in part as a budget cut. Board members said it was not an effective use of the money.

  • Jeremy Elverud said he will no longer be mowing and spraying this summer but will continue to do lift station repairs and alley work. He said he will be willing to train someone else on the mowing and spraying duties. The town plans to advertise the job.
  • Board members and the Trent Fire Department have been working for months to try and figure out which volunteers are allowed to serve alcohol under the city’s insurance coverage for events at the Trent gym. The group will get together with the insurance company representatives to get an answer, the board decided.

“Obviously, we’re still not on the same page with this. We need to figure this out so we can move forward,” Damm said.

  • The city will move $7,400 from the street budget to pay for tuck pointing on the city office building. The building needed repairs or it would have deteriorated to the point of not being able to be saved, Damm said.
  • The board voted to accept the donations of an ice maker and a used electronic sign for the gym. Anderson also will look into the concern that the propane budget for the gym has been larger than budgeted.

 


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