March 4, 2019 Regular Meeting

The Lakota City Council held its regular meeting March 4, 2019, at the City Hall.  Mayor Russo called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. All Council Members were present.  Engineer Brad Muscha attended via speaker phone and Supt. Zeug, employee Herda and employee Burkland were in attendance. 

Member D. Mattern made a motion to approve the minutes of the February 4th, 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 February 19th, 2019 special meeting, seconded by Member Rainsberry.  All voting in favor.  Motion carried.


Mayor Russo stated he is waiting on additional information from the NDLC on a generic version of the proposed ordinance. 



Auditor Vasichek stated MRES has provided contracts to complete rate studies for the electric and water utility rates with the expense of Electric study $8500 and water study $11,000.  Auditor Vasichek stated the rates were reviewed in 2015 and the city was provided with a 5 year recommendation.

Employee Burkland stated there are other firms that conduct rate studies that could be contacted.  Member Vasichek stated since the electric utility is the cities main revenue source, the city should have the rates reviewed on a routine basis.

Member Hess made a motion to approve the MRES electric 5 year rate study for $8,500, seconded by Member Vasichek.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Employee Burkland stated he received a contract from Thein Well out of Minnesota to complete annual well and pump inspections on both well sites with the cost being $275.  Employee Burkland stated he felt it was a very reasonable fee to have more piece of mind with the wells.

Member Hess made a motion to approve contracts from Thein Well to conduct annual inspections on the well site and pumps for $275, seconded by Member Rainsberry.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Auditor Vasichek stated an engineer from AE2S would like to verify the water tower color and logo.  Auditor Vasichek stated last year the council approved the tower color of Tank White.  The council agreed with the tank color and would like to review options for the logo.

Engineer Muscha entered the meeting via phone at 6:18pm

Engineer Muscha stated the response letter to Knife River was mailed out and we are now waiting for a response.

Mayor Russo requested to add items to the punch list for Knife River.  Engineer Muscha stated the complete list should be provided to Knife River by spring, 2019.

Engineer Muscha stated the BNSF crew has not come out to review the railroad track area to be paved, but believed they wanted to have it taken care of sooner rather than later.  Engineer Muscha stated he will follow up on the project.

Engineer Muscha stated he will start the conversation with Visu-Sewer to start planning the preconstruction meeting soon.

Engineer Muscha left the meeting at 6:24pm

Mayor Russo stated Kevin Rysavy that he would like to decline the appointed term to city council and asked the council who would be the next option.  The names Rich Riely, Bill Solberg and Rob Ouradnik were names mentioned of who has expressed interest.  Member Vasichek stated he would prefer a past member of the council to harass the experience.  Auditor Vasichek was instructed to reach out to Mr. Riely and Mr. Ouradnik before the next meeting.



Supt. Zeug report provided within the council book.

Supt. Zeug stated WAPA had a system blink last week.

Supt. Zeug stated there might be a new electric service on the south part of Lakota and he will need to look at the cost for the potential owner to upgrade/install service.  Supt. Zeug stated it could be $7,000 expense to the owner.  Member R. Mattern stated this owner is also intended on placing a laundromat at the location down the road.  Employee Burkland stated the water service would need to be increased for that and he will contact the owner on their plans.

Member D. Mattern questioned the need for incident reports on city equipment when it is wear and tear.  Employee Herda stated he believes it is wear and tear on the equipment.

Member Rainsberry questioned the electrical pole by Tronson Grain that is being braced by a city tractor.  Supt. Zeug stated after the elevator was tore down the pole needed to be braced and come spring he will be installing a pole to anchor the guide wire.  Mayor Russo questioned why the pole cannot be removed.  Supt. Zeug stated if he removed the pole he would need to move the guide wire back to the middle of Tronson Grain property and that would not work.  Mayor Russo suggested putting the transformer on the ground.  Supt. Zeug stated that would be very costly.

Member Rainsberry questioned how the research for a replacement of the pressure washer is going.  Employee Herda stated he has not had a chance to get numbers from the state surplus.  Mayor Russo stated he would like the state surplus option before this was discussed further.

Member D. Mattern stated he would like to understand more about the reason for the employee Herda’s incident reports since each occurrence was an equipment breakdown, not an incident.  Supt. Zeug stated he was not sure it was a breakdown and didn’t know that until the report was made.  Member Vasichek suggested creating a repair order for equipment.  Employee Herda stated he does record keeping for services on each piece of equipment.  Employee Herda stated he could provide a breakdown report and service report each month for the council.  Auditor Vasichek was instructed to create a equipment maintenance sheet/work order for the city crew.

Employee Herda stated the snow blower on the airport tractor is tired and should be replaced and he would like to price out a replacement.  After discussion the council instructed employee Herda to price a new chute for the blower.


No additional report provided.


Report provided in the council books. 


Member R. Mattern questioned if the city should turn up the electric floor heat at the community center since it is running a large amount of propane.  Supt., Zeug stated he was unsure on the settings of the thermostat.  Employee Burkland stated he has increased the floor heat a couple degrees a week ago and it should help the propane heat.


No reports provided.



Mayor Russo stated the city has hired Ed Pawlikowski as a meter reader for the town starting March, 2019.  Mayor Russo stated if Mr. Pawlikowski is unable to read meters at any time, he has assigned meter books to each city crew member to be responsible for on a 3 month rotation as follows:

March-May, 2019

            Kim Burkland: #2 & #7

            Matt Herda: #3 & #4

            Bob Zeug: #5 & #6

Supt. Zeug requested to instead be assigned the books he has read in the past and is more familiar with.  Mayor Russo stated the assignment is a 3 month rotation and in the end all city crew employees will be familiar with all routes.

Supt. Zeug questioned if vacation time will be allowed during meter reading.  Mayor Russo stated if the employee is able to read meters prior to vacation, vacation would be allowed.  Mayor Russo stated each employee is responsible for their own book and would have it read in a 3-4 day period.

Employee Burkland stated he felt books #2 & #7 would be half the town.  Mayor Russo stated he paired the books together with the assistance of administrative assistant Nancy Skogen as she knows the amount of stops in each book.

Mayor Russo stated he made a visit to the city shop earlier today and is very unhappy with Supt. Zeug.  Mayor Russo stated to Supt. Zeug that he allowed him to store personal items in the city shop until Supt. Zeug was able to purchase a home.  Mayor Russo stated this agreement was when Supt. Zeug started employment with the city and Supt. Zeug purchased a home in early 2017.  Mayor Russo stated Supt. Zeug will need to remove all personal items from the city shop on his own time and not during work hours.  Supt. Zeug stated all items will be removed by the weekend.

Mayor Russo asked Supt Zeug to explain why he was at Everett Wiseman’s residence on 2/27/19 for 35 minutes at approximately 2:30pm.  Supt. Zeug stated he was visiting with Mr. Wiseman about city stuff and was also taking his break at that time.

Mayor Russo stated he is not happy with Supt. Zeug’s performance in particularly with the interaction with co-workers.  Mayor Russo stated he was made aware that Supt. Zeug will only text one of his employees and refuses to have verbal interactions with that employee.  Supt. Zeug stated he feels he and employee Herda are not on the same page and employee Herda does not listen to direction.

Mayor Russo stated the city crew needs to figure out their differences and only texting an employee is not acceptable behavior.  Mayor Russo stated he in concerned that Supt. Zeug does not keep his word in an agreement.

Mayor Russo questioned how water school was for Supt. Zeug.  Supt. Zeug stated it was educational.

Supt. Zeug stated he will need to check with social security, but felt he will retire October, 2019.

Mayor Russo questioned if employee Herda has been water operator certified.  Employee Herda stated he has not completed the testing yet, but plans to do so at a 3-day water school in March at Bismarck.  Employee Herda stated once passed he would be a level 1 operator.  Employee Burkland stated he himself is a Level 2 operator.

Mayor Russo questioned if Supt. Zeug is water operator certified.  Supt. Zeug stated he and Rob Ouradnik spoke on this previously and with the short period of time Supt. Zeug stated he would be employed with the city, they did not feel it was necessary.  Employee Burkland though Supt. Zeug could receive his certificate if needed through reciprocity through Minnesota.


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

Auditor Vasichek stated office employee Nancy Skogen has been utilitizing her personal cell phone for city business and would like to council to consider reimbursing her for the use going forward.  Member Vasichek suggested using a free app called Slack that would allow anyone using it to send out messages from your desktop to anyone’s phone.  Member Vaschek stated this would elliviate the use of personal cell phones for a work basis.

Member D. Mattern questioned the status of the electronic sign for Main Street.  Auditor Vasichek stated the city has received $10,000 towards the project and is just waiting on the council to decide to move forward. 

Member R. Mattern made a motion to purchase and install an electronic message board for Main Street using a combination of Sales Tax, Lodging Tax and Occupancy Tax funds along with funds donated by MRES and Nelson County JDA, seconded by Member D. Mattern.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Auditor Vasichek stated it might be time to rent a scissor lift for the community center in order to change out bulbs and spray off the dust in the gym area.  Member R. Mattern suggested contacted Josh Nelson to use his lift.

Employee Herda stated there is a bad cable for the basketball back board on the east side of the building that needs to be repaired.  Auditor Vasichek stated she will check with the school on what they would like to do to replace it.

Council members reviewed the financial and utilities reports.


Attorney Manbeck was not present for a report.

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, except a bill from AE2S.  Member Vasichek seconded the motion.  Motion carried on roll call vote of 5-0.

Advanced Business Methods                             $         281.00

Advanced Engineering                                      $      2,150.20

Aflac                                                               $         293.18

Agcom                                                             $           53.79

Ameripride Services                                         $         129.63

At&t                                                                $         356.13

BND                                                                $    17,387.53

BCBS                                                               $      4,276.80

Cardmember Service                                        $           51.76

CMS                                                                $           61.50

Dakota Business Solutions                                $         227.95

Dakota Implement                                            $            31.90

EFTPS                                                              $       2,025.78

Farmers Union Oil                                            $       3,238.05

Ferguson, Robert                                              $            25.00

GF Utility                                                         $            41.00

Hawkins                                                          $       1,047.27

Heartland Paper                                                $          260.46

Krabbenhoft Auto                                             $            62.34

Lakota Auto Truck & Tire                                 $           85.05

Lakota Farm Service                                         $           25.00

Lakota Grocery                                                $             7.35

Lakota Municipal Utilities                                $         280.00

Lakota Municipal Utilities                                $         100.00

Lakota Municipal Utilities                                $         688.41

Lakota Municipal Utilities                                $     10,762.02

Lakota Sanitation Service                                 $      7,506.31

Manbeck Law                                                   $         480.00

MARC                                                             $         892.58

MRES                                                              $    80,424.34

Moore Engineering                                           $         552.50

Nationwide                                                      $         145.00

ND Dept. of Health                                          $           37.66

NDPERS                                                          $      3,346.19

Nelson County Highway                                   $         260.00

Nelson Co. Sheriff                                            $      2,318.40

Nelson Electrical Solutions                               $         658.35

Neonlink                                                          $           45.40

Nodak Electric                                                 $      1,329.21

ND Telephone                                                  $           59.31

Polar                                                                $         736.11  

Quill                                                                $           90.80

Rysavy Plumbing                                             $         245.15

Stuart C. Irby                                                    $          38.61                                       

City Salaries                                                     $   10,536.64

City Salaries                                                     $   10,684.70

            TOTAL                                                            $ 164,336.36

Next regular meeting is scheduled for April 8th, 2019 at 12pm. 

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

Meeting adjourned at 7:51 p.m.

            APPROVED BY:                                             SUBMITTED BY:



Jeff Russo, Mayor                                            Amie Vasichek, Auditor