August 5, 2019 Regular Meeting

The Lakota City Council held its regular meeting August 5th, 2019, at the City Hall.  Mayor Russo called the meeting to order at 6:10 p.m. All Council Members were present.  Engineer Brad Muscha from Moore Engineering and City Supt. Josh Ulland were in attendance.  Audience members were Trent Matejcek, Ed Pawlikowski, Rob Ouradnik, Brian Schmidt and Sheriff Keith Olson.

Member D. Mattern made a motion to approve the minutes of the July 1st, 2019 regular meeting, seconded by Member Hess.  All voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Member D. Mattern made a motion to approve the minutes of the July 8th, 2019 special meeting, seconded by Member Hess.  All voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Member D. Mattern made a motion to approve the minutes of the July 30th, 2019 special meeting, seconded by Member Vasichek.  Motion carried.

Mayor Russo recognized Rob Ouradnik, Trent Matejcek and Ed Pawlikowski.  Mayor Russo stated he would like to appoint these three individuals to the special assessments commission.  The new members took their oath of office and signed the document.

Engineer Muscha stated he would like to plan a special assessments meeting for August 7th at 9am.

Ouradnik, Matejcek and Pawlikowski left the meeting at 6:14pm

Mayor Russo recognized Brian Schmidt.

Mr. Schmidt stated he was in attendance to look for guidance on his proposed addition to his house and the proper setbacks for it.  Mr. Schmidt stated his current plans for his addition would have the overhang of his roof 18” into the 5 foot setback requirement on the south side.  Mr. Schmidt stated he has spoken with his neighbor to the south, Jarad Crisman and has indicated he would have no problem with the proposed construction.  Mr. Schmidt stated he would like a variance by the city council to be able to start his project.  Attorney Manbeck stated a variance could be completed by the council, however purchasing 2 feet from Mr. Crisman might be a better arrangement for the property owner. 

Mr. Schmidt stated he would check with Mr. Crisman on the possibility to purchase 2-3 feet of property staying in line with the setbacks, but asked the council if that didn’t work to move forward with the variance procedure.  The council stated they had no problem approving a variance, but it would need a publication in the newspaper for final approval at the next regular meeting.  Mr. Schmidt stated he would be in contact with Auditor Vasichek on what the outcome is and if a publication for a variance would be needed.

Mr. Schmidt left the meeting at 6:18pm

Mayor Russo recognized Engineer Muscha.

Engineer Muscha provided the council with his agenda for the meeting.

Engineer Muscha stated he reviewed the streets prior to the meeting and has placed paint markings for needed patch work.  Engineer Muscha has indicated Knife Rivers subcontractor intends to be in town August 8th or 9th.

Member Solberg stated he is concerned with the leaves dropping from trees and how that will affect the sealcoat.  Engineer Muscha stated Knife River is required to sweep and clear the streets prior to seal coating.  Engineer Muscha stated the punch list items will need to be complete along with the additional work prior to seal coating.  Engineer Muscha stated he has not received a signed document from Knife River accepting the additional work to be done, nor have they signed change orders #1 & #3.  Engineer Muscha stated he is unsure why they have not signed the documents but will continue to communicate with them in order to obtain the documents.

Engineer Muscha stated typically the contractor will need to wait at least 7 days after patch work is complete to allow curing time before they can seal coat.

Engineer Muscha stated Knife River has indicated the concrete work will be started the week of August 12th.

Member Rainsberry stated he is concerned with the direction this project is going with barely any work competed this summer again and nearing the time when liquidated damages would be enforced.  Member Rainsberry stated since Knife River hasn’t approved the additional work items along with the extended substantial completion date of September 1st, they would technically be in violation of the current substantial completion date of July 24th, 2019.  Member D. Mattern stated with the next request for payment from Knife River, the city should deduct liquidated damages until the contract and change orders are signed.

Mayor Russo stated he would not sign change order #5 until Knife River signs and approves the document and recommends deducting current liquidated damages of $25,200 from the payment request #6.

Member Vasichek made a motion to approve change order #5 with Knife River Materials with the stipulation Knife River Materials will need to sign change order #5 prior to the city of Lakota’s signature, seconded by Member Rainsberry.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Engineer Muscha stated payment request #6 would need to be approved and if liquidated damages were withheld, once change order #5 would be signed by Knife River the liquidated damages amount would need to be released to Knife River following the receipt of the change order.

Member D. Mattern made a motion to approve Knife River’s pay request of $262,859.14 less liquidated damages of $25,200, totaling the payment of $237,659.14, seconded by Member Vasichek.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Engineer Muscha stated BNSF will be in town the week of August 12th to remove the unused railroad tracks so paving can be completed. 

Member Hess made a motion to pass the resolution confirming appointment of members of the special assessments commission for the city of Lakota, ND, seconded by Member Rainsberry.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Member Hess made a motion to direct assessments to be levied for the Street Improvement project, seconded by Member D. Mattern.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Engineer Muscha stated the council will need to determine suitable compensation for the special assessment commission members.  Member Vasichek stated he believes the members should receive the same amount as the council members for their meetings.

Member Vasichek made a motion to approve paying the special assessment committee members $75 per meeting, seconded by Member Hess.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Engineer Muscha stated the council will also need to set the interest rate for the special assessment to the property owners.  Engineer Muscha stated the maximum rate could be 1.5% above the loan interest rate.  The BND loan interest rate for Lakota’s project is 2%.  Engineer Muscha stated the standard most communities chose is 1% above the loan interest rate. 

Member Solberg stated he is concerned with the elderly population as 1% is a large amount to burden taxpayers with.  Member Solberg stated he would like to know what 1% would amount to for a property owner.  Engineer Muscha calculated the payment for a 100/ft. lot would be estimated at $40/month payment for the property owner.

Member Hess made a motion to set 1% interest rate above the Bank of North Dakota loan interest rate for the Street Improvement project special assessments, seconded by Member R. Mattern.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Engineer Muscha stated the assessment district boundary shows an error with not including Karen Doyle within the assessment district.  Engineer Muscha stated the city would need to obtain a signed document from Ms. Doyle in order to place her within the district or all the publications would need to be re-done to place her within the district and would not allow the city to meet the deadline of November 1st to provide an assessment list to the county.

Member Solberg stated he would communicate with Ms. Doyle about signing the document and respond to the council with her answer.

Member Hess made a motion to approve the Requisition for payment #9 to BND for $281,180.19, seconded by Member Vasichek.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Engineer Muscha stated the sanitary sewer relining for 4th St E and 6th St W crossings have been completed and the contractor is requesting payment for work done.  Engineer Muscha stated the payment will be deducted by 5% retainage as he has not been provided with televising videos or the report.  Engineer Muscha stated the payment with the retainage deduction would be $46,474.

Member Hess made motion to pay Visu-Sewer Inc. $46,474 for sanitary sewer relining of 4th St East and 6th St West railroad crossing, seconded by Member Rainsberry.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Member Solberg questioned when the dirt work at the curbs for the street project will be scheduled.  Engineer Muscha stated they were added to Knife River’s punch list and should be done this month.

Member Solberg questioned if the manholes were to be raised prior to seal coating.  Engineer Muscha stated some on the punch list are complete.

Member D. Mattern stated there are many water valves that are low in the streets causing a hazard to vehicles.  Engineer Muscha stated he will review the streets again after the meeting and document which valves.

Engineer Muscha left the meeting at 7:01pm





Auditor Vasichek provided the council with the 2020 preliminary budget.  The council took a moment to review and discuss the preliminary budget.

Auditor Vasichek stated the proposed list of funds levied is as follows:

General                        $105,200

Library                         $   8,010

Cemetery                     $   3,605

Airport                         $   7,010

Emergency                   $   2,010

Special Assessments     $  20,280

Member R. Mattern made a motion to approve the 2020 preliminary budget, seconded by Member Solberg.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Auditor Vasichek stated Matt & Angela Herda have submitted a building permit for a residential home and garage on their property at 605 4th St West, Lakota, ND.  Auditor Vasichek stated the building permit indicates needing a 5’ setback variance. 

Member R. Mattern made a motion to hold a hearing to grant a 5 foot setback variance for construction at 605 4th St West to be held on September 3rd, 2019, seconded by Member D. Mattern.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor. 



Supt. Ulland’s report was provided and attached to the minutes.

Supt. Ulland stated the crew did try to remove the backhoe from the utility pole by Tronson Grain’s property and were unsuccessful as the pole moved 6 inches. 



No additional report provided.



Sheriff Olson stated his office took in 199 verified calls. 

Member Rainsberry stated he has spoken to the individual who has been driving his ATV erratically in his neighborhood and the driving has lessened.  Member Rainsberry stated he believes the individual has not been around due to work.  Sheriff Olson stated the department has been unsuccessful at catching the individual in the act of driving recklessly.



Member Hess requested to spray the weeds on the west and south ends of town to help with the drainage.

Member Vasichek stated Golf Course groundskeeper Roger Sateren stopped in his office the other day to state the mower blades have arrived at the golf course but they are attached to a mower.  Mr. Sateren stated to Member Vasichek that he did not commit to purchasing a mower but would like Member Vasichek to contact the company to find out the price of it.  Member Vasichek stated he has been unsuccessful with contacting the company, but once he finds out the price he will either entertain it to the council or send it back.

Member R. Mattern stated he received a verbal complaint from Matt Young about the property near his residence that has multiple unregistered vehicles in the yard.  Mayor Russo stated there are procedures that need to happen to have the cars legally removed from the property, but Mr. Young would need to fill out a complaint form and file it with the city hall before this can be done.

Member D. Mattern questioned Auditor Vasichek about what information she found with the city of Michigan on their fund to tear down dilapidated residential structures.  Auditor Vasichek stated the city of Michigan utilizes a portion of their sales tax fund to demolish unkept properties received from the county from unpaid property taxes.  The city council discussed the option to utilize the sales tax economic development fund for this type of use instead of establishing a fee on each utility bill.

Member D. Mattern questioned if the city has anything to require a large utility deposit for returning utility customers who have left a balance on their previous account.  Auditor Vasichek stated when a utility account is left unpaid, she will file a collection or small claims against the owner.  Auditor Vasichek continued that if the utility customer does return to connect to the utilities again, by ordinance the customer would need to first pay any outstanding bill plus the $100 connection fee.

Supt. Ulland stated he has received a quote from North-Holt to remove the utility pole away from Tronson Grain’s property for $32,470.  Supt. Ulland stated this would clean up the area and put it all underground.  Supt. Ulland stated he spoke with Nodak Electric to get a comparable quote and they stated it would roughly be $45,000.

Member D. Mattern stated Tronson Grain would be $5,000 towards the cost of having this pole removed. 

Member D. Mattern made a motion to accept the estimate of $32,470 by North-Holt Electric to move an electrical pole and transformers by Tronson Grain, seconded by Member Vasichek.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor. 

Supt. Ulland stated the computer is in desperate need to be replaced at the water treatment plant.  Auditor Vasichek stated she is waiting on USDA to approve the additional expense under the water tower project funding.

Supt. Ulland stated the crew has started the electrical room construction and have discovered the beams are rotted.  Supt. Ulland stated he would recommend moving the electrical box to the inside of the storage room instead.  Supt. Ulland stated he will send out requests for bids to electricians, but would like the city to buy the materials needed to help save on expense.

Member Rainsberry made a motion to approve purchasing materials for the electrical work to be completed at the city shop, seconded by Member D. Mattern.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Supt. Ulland stated the crew will need a new snowplow truck before winter.  Member D. Mattern volunteered to search for one with a price range of $25,000-$35,000.

Member Hess stated he felt the snow blower should last for some time and we should not need to purchase new.




Mayor Russo had nothing additional to report.


Auditor Vasichek’ s written report was provided and attached with minutes.

Auditor Vasichek stated the floor scrubber was received for the community center and she will be submitting the grant reimbursement paperwork this week.

Auditor Vasichek stated with the Community Impressions program Lakota has the potential to be linked with the city of Milnor but she is waiting to hear back on their acceptance.

Auditor Vasichek stated letters have been sent to Ms. McGee and Mr. Boyer about the condition of their properties.  Auditor Vasichek stated the city crew has mowed Ms. McGee’s property and the expense will be assessed to the property and Mr. Boyer stated he would clean up his property the weekend of August 10th.


Council members reviewed the financial and utilities reports.


Attorney Manbeck stated he reviewed the state law on removing junk or garbage from someone’s property and he does not believe the city can do this legally.

Attorney Manbeck stated AE2S Engineer Donovan Voehller contacted him recently on the city’s view on Caldwell Tanks on not included the allowance within their bid price.  Attorney Manbeck stated after consulting Auditor Vasichek he communicated the city stands by their original communication that the city has no fault in the bid document and the additional expense would land on Caldwell Tank.

Member Solberg questioned Attorney Manbeck on who the city should contact for legal advice on the water tower contract with Caldwell Tanks.  Attorney Manbeck suggested Howard Swanson or Christian Fischer.

Mayor Russo requested Auditor Vasichek to contact AE2S on a schedule for the project and communicate the information to the council.

After review of the bills and vouchers, a motion was made by Member D. Mattern to pay all the bills presented for payment and those bills paid prior to the meeting.  Member R. Mattern seconded the motion.  Motion carried on roll call vote of 6-0.


ADAPCO                                                         $      1,461.50

Advance Auto Parts                                          $           25.58

Advanced Business Methods                             $         281.00

Aflac                                                               $         810.62

Agcom                                                             $         450.34

Altru                                                                $         114.08

Ameripride Services                                         $           50.32

Aronson, Tate                                                  $           25.00

At&t                                                                $         282.77

BND                                                                $    18,487.50

Benson Excavating                                           $      1,150.00

BCBS                                                               $      6,642.60

Border States                                                    $      1,009.42

Builders First Source                                        $         120.06

Cardmember Service                                        $       1,336.40

CHS                                                                 $            54.21

CMS                                                                $          151.95

Dakota Implement                                            $            83.39

Decorated Wearables                                        $          450.00

Deere Credit                                                     $       1,528.51

EFTPS                                                              $       2,582.56

EFTPS                                                              $       2,511.61

Farmers Union Oil                                            $       3,236.88

Fastenal                                                           $          299.99

Fisk, Jessica                                                     $           200.00

Garden Hut                                                      $           333.20

GF Utility                                                         $             56.00

Hawkins                                                          $        2,450.70

Heartland Paper                                                $        3,000.00

Herda, Matt                                                      $             80.00

Home of Economy                                           $             13.99

Hughes Lift Station Service                               $           424.05

Job Service                                                      $        1,362.27

Lakeside Lock & Key                                       $               4.50

Lakota American                                              $          121.36

Lakota Auto Truck                                           $            73.30

Lakota DQ                                                       $            37.03

Lakota Drug                                                     $            10.79

Lakota Grocery                                                $            38.79

Lakota Hardware                                              $          457.48

Lakota Municipal Utilities                                $           380.00

Lakota Municipal Utilities                                $           392.46

Lakota Municipal Utilities                                $        7,026.56

Lakota Sanitation Service                                 $        8,233.02

Landscapes Unlimited                                      $           530.00

Mailfinance                                                      $           803.07

Manbeck Law Office                                        $           530.00

Menards                                                           $         1,258.07

Mid-American Research                                   $        2,088.76

MRES                                                              $      27,190.01

Moore Engineering                                           $      18,691.05

Nationwide Retirement                                     $          580.00

ND Dept of Health                                           $             28.24

NDLC                                                              $          878.00

NDPERS                                                          $       4,781.53

Nelson Co. Sheriff                                            $       2,318.40

Nelson Electrical                                              $       2,548.75

Neonlink                                                          $            47.00

Nodak Electric                                                 $       3,211.00

ND One Call                                                    $            19.20 

ND Telephone                                                  $            59.89

Office of State Tax                                           $          391.62

Polar                                                                $         728.94

Praxair                                                             $          93.75

Pro Turf                                                           $      3,928.00

Quill                                                                $           58.13

Railroad Management                                       $         235.41

Ralston, Julia                                                   $         175.00

Ritteman, Mike                                                $          10.00

Rysavy Plumbing                                             $          96.46

Stone’s Mobile Radio                                       $        225.50

City Salaries                                                     $    15,084.81

City Salaries                                                     $    14,893.04

            TOTAL                                                            $  169,325.42

Auditor Vasichek stated the current employee policy needs to be changed to reflect Supt. Ulland is an hourly employee and entitled to overtime pay.  

Member D. Mattern made a motion to change the employee policy manual section #2 to include allowed overtime for hourly employees, seconded by Member Hess.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Next regular meeting is scheduled for September 3rd, 6pm. 

Member D. Mattern made a motion to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Member Hess.

Meeting adjourned at 8:27 p.m.

            APPROVED BY:                                             SUBMITTED BY:



Jeff Russo, Mayor                                            Amie Vasichek, Auditor