November 9, 2019 Regular Meeting

The Lakota City Council held its regular meeting November 4th, 2019, at the City Hall.  Mayor Russo called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. All Council Members were present, except Member Hess & R. Mattern, who were absent.  Member Hess entered the meeting at 7:06pm.  Engineer Brad Muscha from Moore Engineering was in attendance.  Audience members were Angela Herda, Josh Ulland and Sheriff Keith Olson.

Member D. Mattern made a motion to approve the minutes of the October 7th, 2019 regular meeting, seconded by Member Vasichek.  All voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Mayor Russo asked for additions to the agenda.  Member D. Mattern stated at the previous meeting a motion was denied being continued by the Mayor and he believes that is not right.  Mayor Russo stated the discussion can be had under unfinished business.

Mayor Russo recognized Engineer Muscha.

Engineer Muscha provided the council with his agenda and questioned if the special assessments had been certified to the county.  Auditor Vasichek indicated they had.

Engineer Muscha stated he received a letter from Welle Law regarding the street project and liquidated damages against Knife River.  Engineer Muscha stated he will draft a response to the letter.

Member Rainsberry questioned the status of Brad Hooey’s driveway.  Engineer Muscha stated the driveway work was completed by Knife River, but a few areas need to be addressed in the spring.  Engineer Muscha stated the east edge needs material removed to allow drainage.  Engineer Muscha stated he has had communication with Brad Hooey regarding the work.

Member D. Mattern questioned when the warranty period will start.  Engineer Muscha stated the one-year warranty will start on August 30, 2019, but the defective work warranty will start once the items are corrected.

Engineer Muscha suggested providing a deadline of June 1st, 2020 to Knife River to complete the concrete work and if not complete the city would hire a separate contractor and deduct that amount from the contract.

Engineer Muscha stated he received the estimate for the customer castings for the manholes and will obtain a separate estimate.

Engineer Muscha provided the council with an invoice for additional engineering services for the street project for $15,473.90.

Member Vasichek made a motion to approve Moore Engineering’s invoice #12 of $15,473.90, seconded by Member Solberg.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Engineer Muscha stated the city is still on the CWSRF list for sewer relining in the future.  Engineer Muscha stated the city still has approximately 15,000 LF of clay sewer left to improve.

Mayor Russo recognized Angela Herda.  Mrs. Herda stated Nelson County has declared an emergency with the October 2019 snowstorm.  Mrs. Herda requested any information on additional expenses incurred by the city with the storm. 

Mayor Russo recognized Josh Ulland.  Mr. Ulland stated he was in attendance to listen.



Member Vasichek stated he has found 2 different options for removable speed bumps for D Ave West at the Lakota pool.

Member Vasichek made a motion to approve the purchase of 4 folding portable speed bumps to be placed on D Ave West at the Lakota swimming pool, seconded by Member Rainsberry.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Auditor Vasichek supplied the council with images of the roadside of Sandy Burt residence and where her wooden sidewalk is.  Auditor Vasichek was instructed to draft a letter to Mrs. Burt explaining the setback requirements on property and that the city will be unable to reimburse her for sidewalk damages.

Member D. Mattern stated at the previous meeting a motion to appoint Matt Herda as the interim superintendent was on the floor and he seconded it with the mayor denying it.  Member D. Mattern stated the council should have been allowed to vote on the motion.  Attorney Manbeck stated the appointment of the city superintendent is made by the mayor with council approval. 

Member Vasichek suggested completing the voting process of the motion left in the September meeting. 

Motion made from the October 7th, 2019 regular council meeting:  Member R. Mattern made a motion to appoint Matt Herda as an interim supervisor for the city crew, seconded by D. Mattern.  Now on a roll call vote, Members D. Mattern and Rainsberry voted in favor, Members Vasichek and Solberg voted against.  Mayor Russo voted against for a tiebreaker.  Motion denied.

Engineer Muscha left the meeting at 7:03pm


Member Solberg requested to hold on reviewing superintendent position applicants until Member Hess arrives.

Auditor Vasichek gave information on recent electrical outages in town and the schedule for the old water tower demolition.


No additional report provided.


Sheriff Olson stated it has been a quieter month, but still active.  Sheriff Olson stated Roger Elvick is no longer allowed at the Lakota and Michigan post offices and recommends to not sign any documents tor tax forms Mr. Elvick is supplying. 

Sheriff Olson stated during the October snowstorm there were 12 rescues made and one individual had to stay overnight in their vehicle.

Member Hess entered the meeting at 7:06pm


Member Solberg stated he and Member Hess reviewed all recent applicants for the superintendent position and do not believe they meet the requirements.  Member Hess stated he is comfortable with staying at the status quo.  Member D. Mattern stated the position has been advertised for 3 months and the city needs to decide what to do.

Member Solberg stated if the council were to require additional interviews on applicants Matt Herda and Kelly Bazal, he would prefer to remove himself from the panel.

Member Hess stated he would recommend Mr. Bazal for the position.  Member Solberg stated he would also recommend Mr. Bazal for the supt. position.  Member Solberg stated he does not have a problem with Mr. Herda’s work ethic, but his concerned with his skills with dealing with conflict with staff and the public. 

Mrs. Herda questioned if the complaints were made from the public or the staff and council.  Mayor Russo stated he receives 4-5 complaints about Mr. Herda a month and he is not the only one. 

Member Hess stated he is concerned with Mr. Herda’s temper and things escalating when dealing with the public as he himself felt Mr. Herda was going to attack him during a conversation the two of them had.  Member Solberg stated he does not feel Mr. Herda is ready for the superintendent position.

Sheriff Olson left the meeting at 7:37pm.

Mayor Russo stated Mr. Herda’s current wage is $25.76/hr.

Member D. Mattern stated M. Herda deserves a chance and make it on his own.

Member Vasichek stated a decision needs to be made about the position and maybe it would be best to interview the two applicants as a full council.  Member Solberg stated he would like Member R. Mattern present for the discussion.

Attorney Manbeck stated the council should look into a plan for when employee Burkland would like to retire.

Member Vasichek made a motion to appoint Matt Herda as the interim superintendent with a 6-month probation period at the wage of $25.76/hr. and with the requirement he will need to obtain his water certification, seconded by Member D. Mattern.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor, except for Members Solberg and Hess who abstained.  Motion carried.

Member Vasichek made a motion to offer Kelly Bazal a city laborer position at the wage of $22/hr. seconded by Member Hess.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Auditor Vasichek questioned when the council would like Mr. Bazal to start work.  The council suggested immediately. 

Mr. Ulland questioned where that leaves his on-call position.  The council stated they will review any changes to that once a response from Mr. Bazal is received.


No additional reports.




Mayor Russo stated he attended the MRES Regional meeting at Hillsboro on October 25th and they indicated no electrical rate increases for 2020. 

Mayor Russo stated all employee evaluations will be complete by the December meeting and he would like Member Hess to come to that meeting with wage recommendations.

Mayor Russo stated he would like Auditor Vasichek to complete employee evaluations on Nancy Skogen, Matt Herda and Kim Burkland.

Member D. Mattern questioned if the city should place the old snowplow and truck for sale and if so, what dollar amount should be placed for a minimum bid.  The council decided to place the truck and plow for sale with a minimum bid of $5,000.



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

Auditor Vasichek stated with the water tower project there are leftover USDA grant funds that would need to be used towards the project and improving the ADA compliancy of the city hall.  Auditor Vasichek stated these funds could also be utilized for ADA compliancy if moving the city hall to the city shop.  Auditor Vasichek stated the council will need to decide on this soon as the engineer is currently specking doors for handicap accessibility for the city hall.

Auditor Vasichek stated the Lakota Community Foundation has given funds to numerous projects within the city.

Auditor Vasichek included the city council should be deciding soon on water meter options for the project. 


Council reviewed the financial and utility reports.



Attorney Manbeck stated he will be wintering soon and will be returning in April 2020.


After review of the bills and vouchers, a motion was made by Member Hess to pay all the bills presented for payment and those bills paid prior to the meeting.  Member Vasichek seconded the motion.  Motion carried on roll call vote of 5-0.


Acme Tools                                                     $         703.74

Advance Auto Parts                                          $           25.75

Advanced Business Methods                             $         506.42

Agcom                                                             $           87.39

American Test Center                                       $         475.00

At&t                                                                $           68.62

BCBS                                                               $      3,158.46

Border States                                                    $      6,640.30

Cardmember Service                                        $         676.23

CMS                                                                $           50.75

Dakota Supply                                                 $       4,287.46

Dept. of Environmental Quality                         $           55.60

EFTPS                                                              $        1,744.24

EFTPS                                                              $        1,537.87

Farmers Union Oil                                            $           406.84

FedEx                                                              $             16.15

Ferguson Waterworks                                       $           359.86

Frederick, Robert                                              $           500.00

GF Utility                                                         $             26.00

Hawkins                                                          $           570.58

HD Electronics                                                 $           143.07

Heartland Paper                                                $             45.82

Herda, Matt                                                      $             80.00

Interstate                                                          $             97.98

Kassian, Dan                                                    $           750.00

Lakota American                                              $           110.40

Lakota Bucks                                                   $           100.00

Lakota Farm Service                                         $           174.00

Lakota Golf Club                                              $         1,354.32

Lakota Municipal Utilities                                $           380.00

Lakota Municipal Utilities                                $           394.66

Lakota Municipal Utilities                                $        5,023.00

Lakota Sanitation Service                                 $        8,011.62

Mailfinance                                                      $           803.07

Manbeck Law Office                                        $           290.00

Mead & Hunt                                                   $       10,577.34

Mid-American                                                  $         2,198.92

Moore Engineering                                           $      15,473.90

MMUA                                                            $           600.00

Nationwide Retirement                                     $           145.00

NDPERS                                                          $        2,275.21

Nelson Co. Sheriff                                            $        2,318.40

Nelson Electric                                                 $      21,789.50

Neonlink                                                          $             48.20

Nodak Electric                                                 $        5,645.56

ND One Call                                                    $            15.60

ND Telephone                                                  $            59.96

North Holt                                                        $       8,785.00

Polar                                                                $          724.56

Powerplan                                                        $        1,648.08

Pro Turf                                                           $        3,798.00

Quill                                                                $             50.00

Skogen, Christian                                             $          250.00

Tronson, Leanne                                               $            50.00

United Laboratories                                          $          142.65

Vasichek, Amie                                                $            23.50

Vericheck                                                        $            12.50

Verizon                                                            $          106.43

City Salaries                                                     $     10,163.49

City Salaries                                                     $       9,050.27

Water Tower Project Checking #879

Starion Bond                                                    $   619,973.44

City of Lakota                                                  $   343,285.84

            TOTAL                                                            $ 1,098,866.55

Next regular meeting is scheduled for December 2nd, 6pm. 

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

Meeting adjourned at 8:45 p.m.

            APPROVED BY:                                             SUBMITTED BY:



Jeff Russo, Mayor                                            Amie Vasichek, Auditor