Reserve money can be used for other needs

Brenda Wade Schmidt

Flandreau city leaders will soon decide what to do with more than a half million dollars that hasn’t been spent on designated projects.
The money, which is in capital reserve funds, are restricted to two projects: $220,000 for widening of Broad Avenue and $300,000 for three other projects, including improving draining on Broad Avenue, reconstruction of Community Drive and resurface the area where the old tennis courts were near the community center. The designation expires in 2020 and 2021, 60 months after they were set up.
If money is designated in a restricted fund, that doesn’t obligate the city to use it for that purpose, said Jeff Pederson, city administrator. It’s a way to save for a project. “It just provides a period of time to hang on to those reserves as long as we have a designation for it,” he said.
The city has not initiated any of the projects stated for the restricted funds but can designate them for the same or different projects as they get close to expiring.
It’s time to start thinking about what else the money could be designated for, Pederson said. If it is not put into a new restricted fund, the money would revert to the general fund.
Council members had several ideas of future projects for the city from the dam project on the Big Sioux to tearing down Crescent Street Bridge, suggestions from Alderman Don Whitman.
Pederson said there are a lot of potential street projects or several streets in need of a two-inch overlay.
“Where infrastructure projects are concerned, it’s not a big pot of money,” Pederson said.
Alderman Dan Sutton said the community center is needing numerous improvements and some things there have outlived their life expectancy.
“That’s another project that has to be on our radar,” he said.
Additional discussions will be had on what to do with the money, including planned talks as the city prepares its next budget.
In other city business,
•The insurance company covering the crumbling downtown building owned by Jim Zandt denied a claim to pay for damages. The owner has said he would prefer to sell the building than renovate it and he has said he has an offer on the building, Pederson said. “He’s on his own whatever he plans to do,” Pederson said. The nuisance declaration on the building stays with it no matter who owns it.
The city also is waiting for its own report on whether there is asbestos in the building, he said.
“That will tell us two things, whether there’s asbestos in the building and what kind of asbestos it is,” he said. The survey, paid for with grant money, also will help decide what measures to take if there is asbestos.
Mayor Mark Bonrud said everyone hopes Zandt solves his own problems rather than the city taking control of the property. “It would be hugely expensive for us to undertake this,” he said.
Whitman said the money would never be seen again, even if the city puts a lien against the property.
“Yes, you can assess the property. Who’s going to buy it?” he said. “If we spend a lot of money on it as a city, we just have to go in understanding the city will never see that money again.”
Alderman Bob Pesall said the city could go after Zandt’s other assets, including property he owns in other communities.
•Sutton was reelected council president, and Pesall was reelected vice president.
•Council members voted to give Inter-Lakes Community Action an additional $755 toward their subsidy for a survey for the transfer system. Whitman voted no because the request came after planning for the budget.


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