January 6, 2020 Regular Meeting

The Lakota City Council held its regular meeting January 6th, 2020, at the City Hall.  Mayor Russo called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. All Council Members were present, except Member Vasichek and Rainsberry, who were absent.  Interim City Superintendent Matt Herda was in attendance.  Audience members were Tom Hendrickson, Becky Nelson, Scott & Robin Sauvageau, and Ed Pawlikowski. 

Member D. Mattern made a motion to approve the minutes of the Nov 4th, 2019 regular meeting, seconded by Member Hess.  All voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Mayor Russo asked for additions to the agenda.  Auditor Vasichek asked to include Designate Depositories under new business.

Mayor Russo recognized Tom Hendrickson.

Mr. Hendrickson stated he is upset about the recent special assessments on his property in the Osborne Park.  Mr. Hendrickson stated his property did not have a street assessment during the last project so he did not feel he would be assessed this time.  Ms. Nelson stated there are no streets or utilities in this section of town.  Mayor Russo stated he does not think the city council can change any of the assessments at this time as the city followed all century code requirements.  Mayor Russo stated the assessment committee met on multiple occasions to review and discuss the assessments with the advice of Moore Engineering and all meetings were advertised to the public. 

Mr. Sauvageau questioned if his alley could be vacated.  Member D. Mattern stated there is a process that needs to be followed with all the property owners in the area, but it can be done. 

Mr. Herda stated he calculated what his special assessments would be over 20 years and it amounts to approximately $90,000 and he paid $10,000 for the property.

Ms. Nelson questioned if the property owners could request a street to be built.  Mayor Russo stated he is unsure how the process works, but he could find out.  Mr. Hess stated to establish a new street would be an additional expense to the property owner as it was not part of the current street improvement project.

Ms. Nelson questioned if the city could look into changing the special assessment calculation for next year.  Mayor Russo stated the city council will contact the appropriate officials to see what the options are. 

Mr. Pawlikowski stated he is on the special assessments committee and the committee met at least 3 times with only one individual attending to have their assessment reduced.  Mr. Pawlikowski stated all property owners had time to question their assessment after it was posted in the Lakota American.

Hendrickson, Nelson, S. Sauvageau, R. Sauvageau and Pawlikowski all left the meeting at 6:24p.m.


The council tabled discussion on the city hall location until all members are present.


Mayor Russo opened 2 bids for the purchase of the 1983 International truck and snowplow. 

Matt Locken - $3,760

Larry Elshaug - $3,782


Member Hess made a motion to accept the bid of $3,782 from Larry Elshaug for the purchase of the 1983 International truck and snowplow, seconded by Member Solberg.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Auditor Vasichek stated the Lakota Pool Improvement project has received a $159,445 federal grant from the LWCF and the council would need to approve the grant agreement.  Auditor Vasichek stated the project consists of replacing the north wall of the pool, installing a stainless-steel gutter recirculation system and installing a vinyl liner to the pool bowl with approximate total cost of $318,890.  Auditor Vasichek stated the project would need to go out on bids which should be done shortly.

Member Hess made a motion to approve the grant fund agreement between the city of Lakota and ND Parks and Recreation for the Swimming Pool Improvement project to receive $159,445 federal grant funds, seconded by Member R. Mattern.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried. 

Auditor Vasichek stated the city council would need to approve the security pledges provided by the State Bank of Lakota of $2,925,000.

Member D. Matten made a motion to approve the pledge of securities provided by the State Bank of Lakota, seconded by Member Hess.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Auditor Vasichek stated Ranetta from USDA would like to know if the city is going to proceed with imposing liquidate damages on Caldwell Tanks for the water tower project.  Member Hess questioned if anyone has heard from Engineer Voeller.  Auditor Vasichek stated she has not, and USDA is requesting information from AE2S that he has not responded to.  Auditor Vasichek was instructed to contact Charlie Vein from AE2S to get all items resolved and some guidance to the liquidated damages.

Mayor Russo instructed the council to review a recent citizen complaint filled out by Robert Zeug.  Mayor Russo stated the complaint consisted of city employees using snow removal equipment on private property and questioning where the airport snowplow is currently.  Member R. Mattern stated the complaint is ridiculous and he does not have any concerns with the current snow removal procedures. Supt. Herda gave an account for his recent interactions with Mr. Zeug and his snow removal and admitted he has moved snow for a couple people in different circumstances.  Member Solberg stated he is fine with the snow removal and helping people in a small community.  Auditor Vasichek was instructed to write a response to Mr. Zeug that the council has no concern at this time about the snow removal procedures.  Supt. Herda stated the airport blower was at SSR Pump and he received it back about 2 weeks ago and will be working on it as time allows.

Member Hess made a motion to approve the State Bank of Lakota as the cities designated depository, seconded by Member R. Mattern.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.



Supt Herda’s report and is attached hereto.

Member D. Mattern questioned the status of the power lines by Tronson Grain.  Supt. Herda stated North Holt was recently in town but have not completed Tronson Grain area yet. 

Mayor Russo stated Kevin Rysavy recently supplied him with a note and text messages to Mr. Rysavy written by Supt. Herda.  Mayor Russo questioned Supt. Herda if he has resolved his issues with Mr. Rysavy.  Supt. Herda stated that the matter is his personal business and does not affect the city.  Mayor Russo reminded Supt. Herda that his behavior always reflects on the city and he felt the notes and text messages where inappropriate.  Supt. Herda stated he felt the group who are talking trash at coffee hour are inappropriate.  Member Hess stated to Supt. Herda that he is always part of the city and he should keep that in mind when dealing with the public.     


No additional report provided.

Auditor Vasichek stated Engineer Muscha from Moore Engineering stated he has not received a response from Knife River at this time.


No additional report provided.



Member Hess stated he has received 4 applications for the water operator position, and he will meet with Member Solberg to start interviews shortly.  Auditor Vasichek was instructed to continue advertising the position.

Member R. Mattern stated he was approached by a parent of the childcare center who is upset with wages provided to the employees of the center.  Auditor Vasichek stated the city does not engage in the operations of the childcare and any concerns should be addressed with the childcare director or the childcare board of directors.

Member Hess stated his mailbox has been snowed in and would like the snow moved.

Member D. Mattern stated he has been getting a lot of special assessment complaints for the street project. 

Member D. Mattern stated he received a complaint from Raynette Zespy at the First Community Credit Union about the volume of the sound system.  Auditor Vasichek stated she will turn down the volume immediately and notify Mrs. Zespy.



None given.


Mayor Russo had no report.


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

Auditor Vasichek stated Member Rainsberry brought it to her attention about kids getting hurt during sporting events at the community center and would like to see more pads for the wall and the overhead door.  Auditor Vasichek stated she has started to look at different options but will request Supt. Herda to provide some measurements of the area.  Member Hess stated he would like to know a price for next meeting.

Auditor Vasichek stated she has started the process for the utility rate studies and will let the council know how it goes.

Auditor Vasichek reminded the council that they will need to start the discussion of water meters soon so they can be ordered.

Member D. Mattern asked Auditor Vasichek to find out if the State Bank of Lakota has provided payment for the 2nd logo on the water tower and if so, has a thank you been published.  Auditor Vasichek stated she will contact the bank immediately about the payment and get something in the newspaper.

Council reviewed the financial and utility reports.


Member D. Mattern questioned the mileage on Hughes Lift Station Service.  Supt. Herda stated he will follow up with Bill Hughes on the bill.




Attorney Manbeck was not in attendance.


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 Hess seconded the motion.  Motion carried on roll call vote of 4-0.


Advanced Business Methods                             $         289.00

Aflac                                                               $          698.94

Ameripride Services                                         $            87.00

At&t                                                                $           68.62

BCBS                                                               $       2,420.22

Brossart, Scott                                                  $          500.00

Cardmember                                                    $       1,876.71

Dakota Supply                                                 $          210.41

Dept. of Environmental Quality                         $            55.60

EFTPS                                                              $        1,562.82

EFTPS                                                              $        1,672.10

Farmers Union Oil                                            $        2,822.32

GF Utility                                                         $             41.00

Hawkins                                                          $           416.08

Hughes Lift Station                                          $        5,323.00

Job Service                                                      $           891.93

Lake Region Pest Control                                 $           355.00

Lakeside Lock & Key                                       $           515.00

Lakota American                                              $           580.35

Lakota Auto Truck & Tire                                 $             60.00

Lakota Bucks                                                   $           500.00

Lakota Farm Service                                         $       14,721.00

Lakota Hardware                                              $           393.03

            Lakota Municipal Utilities                                $           380.00

Lakota Municipal Utilities                                $           586.15

Lakota Municipal Utilities                                $        8,877.50

            Lakota Sanitation Service                                 $        7,642.03

            Leach, Rick                                                      $         7,126.00

            MARC                                                             $         2,120.38

            MRES                                                              $      61,724.38

            Moore Engineering                                           $        3,979.63

            Mortenson & Rygh                                           $        8,380.00

            MMUA                                                            $           375.00

            Nationwide                                                      $           290.00

            ND Municipal Power                                        $           150.00

            NDPERS                                                          $         4,548.28

            ND Rural Water                                               $            400.00

            NMPP                                                              $          5,128.00

            Nelson County Highway                                   $           411.50

            Nelson County Sheriff                                      $         4,636.80

            Nelson County Treasurer                                  $       24,097.90

            Nelson Electrical                                              $         2,307.33

            Neonlink                                                          $             47.40

            Nodak Electric                                                 $            776.81

            ND One Call                                                    $                3.60

            ND Telephone                                                  $             59.96

            ND Water Users                                               $           100.00

            North-Holt Electric                                           $        1,940.00

            NorthStar Aviation                                           $        1,276.00

            Office of State Auditor                                     $           280.00

            Office of State Tax                                           $           174.02

            Polar                                                                $         1,418.12

Quill                                                                $              25.99

Rysavy Plumbing                                             $            112.80

T.H. Renovations                                             $            300.00

TEAM Lab                                                       $            713.00

Temple Display                                                $           717.89

Verizon                                                            $           275.82

Witzel Construction                                          $           907.50

            City Salaries                                                     $        8,979.77

City Salaries                                                     $        9,381.05

            TOTAL                                                            $    206,710.74

Next regular meeting is scheduled for February 3rd, 2020, 6pm. 

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

Meeting adjourned at 7:25 p.m.

            APPROVED BY:                                             SUBMITTED BY:



Jeff Russo, Mayor                                            Amie Vasichek, Auditor