September 9, 2019 Regular Meeting

The Lakota City Council held its regular meeting September 9th, 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 from Moore Engineering, Engineer Donovan Voeller and Charlie Veen from AE2S, Attorney Doug Manbeck and previous employee Josh Ulland were in attendance.  Audience members were Kara Koski, Jared Crisman, Madison Sloan, Brian Schmidt, Josh Nelson and Jason Tester.

Member D. Mattern made a motion to approve the minutes of the August 5th, 2019 regular meeting, seconded by Member Vasichek.  All voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Mayor Russo recognized Jason Tester.

Mr. Tester stated he is currently completing renovations for the James Sloan residence and he would like the electricity to be turned on in order to continue his work.  Mayor Russo stated there is an outstanding utility bill for the residence and per ordinance it would need to be paid in full before services are started again.  Mr. Tester stated he does not have the funds to pay an outstanding bill for someone else, but he could provide a $300 deposit in order to turn on the electrical.  Mr. Tester stated the Sloan family is fixing up the residence to sell.

Member D. Mattern made a motion to approve a temporary electrical service for James Sloan property with a $300 deposit provided by Jason Tester, seconded by Member Hess.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Mr. Tester left the meeting at 6:04pm.

Mayor Russo recognized Kara Koski.

Mrs. Koski stated she was in attendance to ask the council to purchase temporary speed bumps for the north and west streets by the Lakota swimming pool.  Mrs. Koski stated there are currently slow traffic signs up, but she believes they have not worked to reduce speed in that area.  Mrs. Koski provided the council with prices for removeable speed bumps.  Member R. Mattern stated he believes speed bumps are a needed thing in those areas.  Member Hess stated he does not want to see the speed bumps glued to the street surface.  Mayor Russo requested Members Vasichek and Hess to research speed bump options and bring to the next meeting.

Mayor Russo recognized Brian Schmidt.

Mr. Schmidt stated he was in attendance about his property variance.  Attorney Manbeck read aloud the procedures to approve a property variance.  Audience members Jared Crisman and Madison Sloan stated they were in attendance to support the approval of the property variance as they are direct neighbors of Mr. Schmidt. 

Member Vasichek made a motion to approve the property variance allowing Brian and Mary Schmidt’s residential structure to be within 3 feet of the south boundary line of Lot Nine in Block Seven, East Addition, seconded by Member Rainsberry.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Mayor Russo stated the council has a second variance to review for Matt and Angela Herda. 

Member D. Mattern made a motion to approve the property variance allowing Matt and Angela Herda’s residential structure to be within twenty feet from the south boundary line of Lots 1-5 Block 37, Original Townsite, seconded by Member Solberg.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Mr. Schmidt, Mr. Crisman and Ms. Sloan left the meeting at 6:17pm.

Mayor Russo recognized Josh Nelson. 

Mr. Nelson stated he was in attendance to submit an electrical quote for a new service from Nodak Electric for $25,900 that CHS-Lakota is requesting.  Mr. Nelson stated this new service would be for a grain bunker that would have fans and conveyors inside located west of the CHS fertilizer plant.  Mr. Nelson stated CHS would like the service big enough for potential to have a second bunker built.  Auditor Vasichek stated when the fertilizer plant was built there was a cost share with CHS for the new service.

Mayor Russo stated he would like to see no more than 25% of the electrical service paid by the city as the service will only be used part time throughout the year.  Member D. Mattern stated he has no problem having the city pay for half of the service if there is potential to expand.  Member Vasichek agreed.

Member Vasichek made a motion to approve 50% match of the $25,900 quote provided by Nodak Electric for a new electrical service for CHS-Lakota, seconded by Member D. Mattern.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Mayor recognized Brad Hooey.

Mr. Hooey stated he is upset with getting charged additional usage on his sewer rate for his utility bill when he is watering his garden.  Mayor Russo stated the sewer usage is based on what the user has consumed for water.  Mr. Hooey stated there needs to be more common sense with how the sewer rate is calculated.  Member Hess stated the city could put a separate water meter on his outdoor faucet in the summer months but understands that is not ideal.  Mr. Hooey stated he does not want a second meter for his water faucet.  Member Hess questioned how Mr. Hooey would like the sewer rate calculated.  Mr. Hooey stated he thinks there should be a different rate in the summer months for sewer.  Mayor Russo suggested an average cost per household for a twelve-month period.  Auditor Vasichek stated she would like to look into how other communities handle garden watering before a rate change is made.

Jayme Tenneson entered the meeting at 6:36 pm.

Mr. Hooey brought samples of asphalt from the current street project and samples from asphalt off the streets in Fargo, ND.  Mr. Hooey stated the Lakota asphalt is not compacted well and it was laid below proper temperatures.  Mr. Hooey asked if there were thermal shots completed prior to the paving project.  Engineer Muscha stated thermal shots were taken by the project inspector throughout the day.  Mr. Hooey stated he would like to review the reports and provide them to the city council. 

Mr. Hooey stated the pavement laid in his driveway was junk and his light trailers parked on top of it sunk or created divots into the asphalt.  Mr. Hooey stated his driveway is not yet finished and he would like asphalt to be put back in its place.

Engineer Muscha stated the city elected to have a third-party conduct core samples from the areas of complete remove and replace.  Engineer Muscha stated the project followed NDDOT specs and charts for the project.  Engineer Muscha stated there were some deficiencies found of approximately $30,000.

Mr. Hooey stated the curb constructed at the childcare has water sitting at the bottom of it and there are two obvious bellies formed that need to be fixed. 

Mr. Hooey stated he believes the childcare should be paying a rental fee for the city owned facility.  Mr. Hooey stated there should be a fair market value put on any city owned building that is used for business use.  Mr. Hooey stated he does not appreciate as a taxpayer subsidizing childcare for other people’s kids.  Mr. Hooey stated the city crew are over at the childcare too often maintaining the property.  Mayor Russo stated the city crew does not mow, clean or other things like that at the childcare, but they do small maintenance on the building as it is city owned.  Mr. Hooey stated the crew spends additional time removing snow from the property and he thinks it should be hired out instead.  Mr. Hooey stated if the childcare will get a city owned building for free, he should be able to utilize the city hall basement and upstairs for free to do with as he wishes.  Mr. Hooey stated, “what is good for one is good for wall.”

Member Vasichek stated there is an important difference when it comes to the childcare building as a lot of outside money was donated to that building.  Member Vasichek stated it is a quality of life view on many things within the city such as the park, golf course and the childcare.  Mr. Hooey stated it isn’t right that he must support the childcare as a taxpayer and if someone can’t afford to have a child, they should not have children.

Mr. Hooey stated he is tired of the conflict of interest on the city council and is asking for either Auditor Vasichek or Member Vasichek’s resignations.  Mr. Hooey stated there was large project in the city last year and the council had the city auditor running the project.  Mayor Russo stated the council positions aren’t full time and someone needs to be the lead.   Mayor Russo stated he does not feel there is a conflict of interest within the council as Member Vasichek abstains from any motions when it comes to wages or disciplinary issues with Auditor Vasichek.  Mayor Russo stated he believes Member Vasichek brings a lot of knowledge and leadership to the council.  Mayor Russo stated Auditor Vasichek has been with the city for some time and has done a very good job in her position.  Mr. Hooey stated the childcare has been a “pet project” of Auditor Vasichek


Mr. Hooey stated he believes Auditor Vasichek has misappropriated funds of the cities to the childcare center.  Mr. Hooey questioned where the funds went from the sale of recycled asphalt from the street project and asked for proof of the funds.  Auditor Vasichek stated all funds for sale of millings were recorded in the street general ledger fund and deposited in the general checking account for the city.  Auditor Vasichek stated the city is also audited each year and could provide copies to Mr. Hooey of all documents. 

Mr. Hooey stated he has heard the childcare dishwasher went out a while back and the auditor found a new one for them.  Mr. Hooey questioned how many city hours were spent on that project by Auditor Vasichek.  Mayor Russo stated he is the one who found a dishwasher to replace the one at the childcare and delivered and installed it on his own time.  Mayor Russo requested Mr. Hooey to get his information straight before he makes accusations.

Auditor Vasichek explained to Mr. Hooey that the childcare project was originated from the Lakota EDC and a survey conducted throughout the city.  Auditor Vasichek continued that she had spearheaded the project as it was a city project and there weren’t any other individuals to do so.  Mr. Hooey questioned the council as to why the city Auditor was speaking to him directly and not the council.  Mr. Hooey stated the auditor is not part of the council.  Member Solberg stated the auditor was responding to Mr. Hooey as she was addressing his accusations.

Member Vasichek stated it comes down to what type of community he would like to live in.  Member Vasichek stated we could live in a city where things never change, and youth doesn’t come back to the community and there is no conflict of interest because people don’t want to get involved.  Member Vasichek asked Mr. Hooey to look at the bigger picture when it comes to the community.  Member Vasichek stated the childcare project brought the community together and had a tremendous amount of volunteer labor towards it.  Member Vasichek stated he needs to be accountable for every vote he makes on the council and every person on the council tries to what’s in the best interest of the city.  Member Vasichek stated that if Mr. Hooey’s goal is to remove two members who have a vested interest in the betterment of the community, then he would disagree with him.

Mr. Hooey stated he feels he has been ignored when it comes to his concerns with the street project.  Member Vasichek stated not one member of the council is happy with the street project, but the council has taken continued actions to try to correct mistakes.  Member Vasichek stated there are two views to every point, and he listened to his and asked Mr. Hooey to do the same.

Member Vasichek stated if there are any records Mr. Hooey would like he could come to city hall and request them in accordance with the century code.

Mr. Hooey stated he feels the city is subsidizing the daycare and it should stop.  Mr. Hooey stated the daycare should be able to make it on its own as a business.

Mayor Russo stated the city crew does many things for individuals and businesses in the town and he would disagree with the amount of time Mr. Hooey is implying the city crew spends at the daycare.

Member Solberg stated Lakota is a small town and the city has helped different businesses and individuals when there is time in the past and the childcare is no different.  Member Solberg asked Mr. Hooey to be community minded when it comes to the city assisting projects.

Member Solberg stated he agrees with Mr. Hooey when it comes to the street project and believes there are compaction issues that need to be resolved and questioned if it could be due to the oil content.  Member Solberg stated if there are any issues or information, he needs to bring it up.  Mr. Hooey stated his biggest issue is the street project.

Mr. Hooey stated he thinks the city should conduct additional core samples of the streets.  Mr. Hooey stated when it comes to his driveway project, he will not accept recycled asphalt on his property. 

Mayor Russo questioned what Mr. Hooey would like done to his driveway to rectify the situation.  Mr. Hooey stated he would like a smooth surface that is packed very good and drains properly.  Mr. Hooey stated ideally, he would like it to be gravel instead of asphalt.  Mayor Russo stated he will take note that gravel surface is requested for Mr. Hooey’s driveway.

Mr. Tenneson left the meeting at 7:09pm.

Member Vasichek questioned Mr. Hooey if there are any certain record request he would like to make before he left the meeting.  Mr. Hooey declined and left the meeting at 7:10pm.

Mayor Russo recognized Engineer’s Voheller and Veen.

Engineer Veen stated they are in attendance about the allowance issue with Caldwell Tanks and associated with the water tower project.  Engineer Veen provided the council with the bid documents and reviewed each item showcasing how the allowance was incorporated for the bid.  Engineer Veen stated it is his recommendation to deny Caldwell Tanks request to split the allowance with the city and if Caldwell Tanks refuses to complete the work then to notify their bonding agent.

Member Solberg stated at the meeting with Caldwell Tanks, they had stated they had never seen a bid document like the one AE2S used for the project and that is why the allowance portion was missed.  Engineer Veen stated he does not know what they would be as AE2S conducts projects all over the United States and utilizes the same form.  Engineer Veen stated for this standard project it was a lump sum price instead of a unit price.

Josh Nelson left the meeting at 7:25pm.

Engineer Voeller stated the substantial completion date for the water tower was in July,2019 and would consist of the new water tower being filled and conducting the chlorination.  Engineer Voeller stated the final completion date was September 1st, 2019 and would include the tear down of the existing water tower. 

Member Solberg questioned the reason for the delay on the tower.  Engineer Voeller stated the electrician didn’t have the correct cables in July and needed to order them.

Engineer Veen suggested the city to respond to Caldwell Tanks May 2019 letter requesting to split the allowance expense.  Engineer Veen stated AE2S can assist with drafting the letter.

Engineer Voeller stated Sibley Electric should be working on the tower this week along with MicroComm switching over the Scada system.

Engineers Veen and Voeller left the meeting at 7:36pm

Mayor Russo recognized Engineer Muscha.

Engineer Muscha provided the council with his agenda.  Engineer Muscha stated the street project is substantially completed as of August 30th, 2019.  Engineer Muscha stated the council should review the punch list items and respond to him by the end of the week if there are any additional items to be listed.

Member D. Mattern questioned the thickness of valley gutters.  Engineer Muscha stated it ranges from 6-8 inches.  Member D. Mattern stated the ally on the west end of town that was paved by mistake also was seal coated by mistake. 

Engineer Muscha state the pay request from Knife River is $474,915.96

Member R. Mattern made a motion to approve Knife River’s application for payment #7 for $474,915.96, seconded by Member Hess.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Member D. Mattern questioned how long before the city should look at seal coating again and if that should be budgeted for.  Engineer Muscha stated the streets should be seal coated again within 5-10 years and the city should budget approximately $310,000 for it.

Engineer Muscha stated a notice will be submitted to the newspaper for the final acceptance of the street assessment for the meeting on October 9, 2019 and this would be the final time a property owner could request to change the assessment.

Member D. Mattern questioned the rate for the assessment.  Engineer Muscha stated it came out to $75.12/foot for the assessment.

Member Solberg question who and when are coming to re-do the grass seed work.  Engineer Muscha stated he will find out and get back to the council.

Member Hess made a motion to approve the BND Request for Loan Funds #10 for $504,241.62, seconded by Member R. Mattern.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Engineer Muscha stated Visu-Sewer has completed the sewer re-lining project and would request to make the final payment of $2,446 to them.

Member Hess made a motion to approve final payment to Visu-Sewer for sewer re-lining, seconded by Member Vasichek.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Engineer Muscha stated DWSRF program is requesting any project information for the 2020 priority list.  The council indicated they do not have any upcoming projects.

Engineer Muscha left the meeting at 8:08pm.





Mayor Russo stated the State Fire and Tornado insurance fund can now be administered with local insurance companies and Ron Nelson from Farmers Union Insurance has requested to handle the cities account.  All council members indicated they agreed.

Auditor Vasichek stated the 2020 final budget would need to be approved and no changes have been made form the approval of the preliminary budget.

Member D. Mattern suggested budgeting $60,000 each year for a seal coat project during the next budget cycle.

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

Member D. Mattern made a motion to approve a building permit submitted by Matt Herda, seconded by Member Solberg.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Auditor Vasichek stated the community center janitor has concerns with numerous keys handed out for the community center as he has witnessed many kids at the center around 10pm.  Auditor Vasichek was requested to get a quote to change the exterior locks of the community center by next meeting.

Auditor Vasichek stated Community Impressions Program has linked Lakota with the city of Ashley as a partner.  Auditor Vasichek stated the city of Ashley would like to do the review this fall.  The council elected to instead participate in the program next summer.

Mr. Ulland provided the council with electrical quotes for the city shop project from Nelson Electric and Ohnstad Electric.  Mr. Ulland stated Nelson Electric’s bid is $18,800 and Ohnstad Electric has submitted a $60/hr. bid for the project.

Member Vasichek made a motion to approve Nelson Electrical Solutions bid of $18,800 for electrical improvements at the city shop to be completed by November 15, 2019, seconded by Member Rainsberry.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried. 



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

Supt. Ulland stated he received quotes from North-Holt Electric for numerous projects around town.  Bid #1910 for $8,785 was for electrical disconnection and upgrades for the old water tower service to neighboring services.  #1909 for $3,090 was for electrical service for a new house on F Ave East.  #1908 for $620 was for electrical service for a new house in Sundeen’s Addition. 

Supt. Ulland stated North-Holt intends to be in town to start working on the Tronson Grain project.

Member Hess made a motion to approve North Holt Electric bid for various electrical work of $12,495, seconded by Member Vasichek.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Supt. Ulland stated for the 7200 conversion on the west end of town, the secondary has not been changed over.  Supt. Ulland stated he checked with the state electrical inspector and he could convert the secondary wires for the city if they kept him employed as a part-time employee.  Supt. Ulland stated it would save the city from hiring it done.

Member Solberg stated he was interested in the idea of keeping Supt. Ulland as a part-time employee for various electrical work but questioned what rate of pay Supt. Ulland would entertain.  After discussion, Supt. Ulland suggested a wage of $24/hr. for electrical work along with possible snow removal or other items requested by the city.  Member D. Mattern stated he would like the position to be an on-call basis.

Member D. Mattern made a motion to hire Josh Ulland as an on-call part-time employee at the rate of $24/hr., seconded by Member Solberg.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Member Vasichek thanked Josh Ulland for attending the council meeting after his employment ended with the city.


No additional report provided.



The monthly call report was provided to the council.



Member Vasichek stated he contacted the company who dropped the golf course mower off and stated the mower is valued at $3,000.  Member Vasichek stated he doesn’t feel it is a good investment at this time.  The council agreed.

Member Rainsberry stated he has contacted Newman Signs for quotes on billboards and will provide it to Auditor Vasichek via e-mail to send to the council.

Member D. Mattern stated he went to Minneapolis recently and acquired a snowplow truck for the city.





Mayor Russo stated with the absence of a city superintendent, he would like to appoint Auditor Vasichek as the interim Administrator again.  The council agreed.

Mayor Russo stated the NDLC is still working out a small cell tower ordinance.  Mayor Russo stated the NDLC is also considering options to utilize the surplus funds the state has.


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

Auditor Vasichek stated the EDC continues to obtain a grocer in town again but has fallen short.  Auditor Vasichek asked the council if they have any suggestions to please share them.

Auditor Vasichek reminded the council she will need the feedback survey information on the strategic planning.


Council members reviewed the financial and utilities reports.


Attorney Manbeck stated there is a MRES Attorney seminar in Sioux Falls on October 5th, 2019 and depending on the agenda, he would entertain attending if the council would like.

Member Vasichek made a motion to approve travel expenses for Attorney Manbeck to attend the MRES Attorney Seminar on October 5th, seconded by Member Hess.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.


After review of the bills and vouchers, a motion was made by Member Vasichek n 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 6-0.


Advance Auto Parts                                          $           85.24

Advanced Business Methods                             $         281.00

Advanced Engineering                                      $    54,632.66

Aflac                                                               $         232.98

Airport Association                                          $           75.00

AM Conservation Group                                   $      1,062.44

At&t                                                                $         166.81

BND                                                                $      5,418.25

BCBS                                                               $      5,647.70

Blue Tarp                                                         $         452.48

Border States                                                    $         140.50

Breazile, Nick                                                  $         250.00

Cardmember Service                                        $         604.12

CHS                                                                 $         405.81

CMS                                                                $           99.62

Dakota Implement                                            $         113.99

Dakota Supply                                                 $       7,472.40

Dept. of Environmental Quality                         $          273.06

EFTPS                                                              $       2,713.34

EFTPS                                                              $       2,274.30

Edwardson, Reed                                             $          166.45

Farmers Union Oil                                            $          926.13

Gaffney’s                                                         $           354.50

GCR Tire                                                         $           354.73

GF Utility                                                         $           200.50

Hazelwood Enterprises                                     $        1,105.00

Heartland Paper                                                $           430.57

Herda, Matt                                                      $           436.78

Home of Economy                                           $             69.89

Knife River                                                      $    262,859.14

Krabbenhoft                                                     $           527.85

Lakeside Lock & Key                                       $           165.00

Lakota American                                              $        1,199.32

Lakota Auto Truck                                           $           183.89

Lakota Bucks                                                   $           100.00

Lakota Hardware                                              $        1,245.51

            Lakota Municipal Utilities                                $           380.00

Lakota Municipal Utilities                                $             75.00

Lakota Municipal Utilities                                $           352.52

Lakota Municipal Utilities                                $        6,657.37

Lakota Park Board                                            $           282.00

            Lakota Sanitation Service                                 $        8,136.86

            Mailfinance                                                      $           803.07

            Manbeck Law Office                                        $           290.00

            Mattern, Dennis                                                $         1,198.21

            Mead & Hunt                                                   $       46,104.40

            MFOA                                                             $             30.00

            Mid-American Research                                   $        1,456.42

            MRES                                                              $      36,490.15

            Monster Lawn                                                  $           157.50

            Moore Engineering                                           $      29,705.66

            Municipal Government Academy                      $             25.00

            Nationwide Retirement                                     $           145.00

            NC Abstract                                                     $             25.00

            Nelson Co. Sheriff                                            $       2,318.40

            Newman Traffic Signs                                      $          592.42

            Nodak Electric                                                 $       1,884.09

            ND One Call                                                    $            25.20 

ND Telephone                                                  $          119.77

Nelson, Ron                                                     $          197.50

Ohnstad Electric                                               $          849.64

            Polar                                                                $         796.69

            Quill                                                                $         150.32

            Rysavy Plumbing                                             $           49.80

            US Bank                                                          $     14,056.25

            United Laboratories                                          $          367.88

            Vericheck                                                        $            11.60

            Verizon                                                            $          429.03

            Visu-Sewer                                                      $     46,474.00

            Vigen, Craig                                                     $          255.13

            City Salaries                                                     $     15,711.25

City Salaries                                                     $     13,724.15

            TOTAL                                                            $  583,054.24

Member Hess requested a reminder e-mail to be sent out for the Main Street Initiative meeting in Lakota on September 26th.

Next regular meeting is scheduled for October 7th, 6pm. 

Member Vasichek made a motion to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Member R. Mattern

Meeting adjourned at 8:58 p.m.

            APPROVED BY:                                             SUBMITTED BY:



Jeff Russo, Mayor                                            Amie Vasichek, Auditor