City hears three annual reports

PHOTOS BY BENJAMIN CHASE/PLAINSMAN Huron City Commission members heard annual reports Monday night from Beadle County Humane Society Director Kim Krueger, left; Huron Event Center manager Brenda Jager, center; and Ted Haeder, President/CEO of Greater Huron Development Corporation

HURON – Huron city commissioners heard annual reports from the Beadle County Humane Society, the Huron Event Center, and Greater Huron Development on Monday as part of the regular meeting.

Kim Krueger, the director of the Humane Society, kicked off the annual reports.

She noted the nationwide increase in animals being surrendered after the drastic adoption increase during the early months of the pandemic has also been felt in Huron. Krueger stated that she and her staff attempt to educate pet owners about responsibilities surrounding pets and encourage rehoming before surrendering the pet.

Krueger reported that the shelter took in 786 animals in 2021, which was down significantly from 2020. She explained that 229 were adopted out from that number.

Krueger did explain that some animals were euthanized, due to old age or suffering animals, but she explained that the distinction of a “no-kill” shelter is that less than 10% of all animals are euthanized, and the shelter fell well below that number in 2021.

Licenses were encouraged in the city. Krueger explained that the cost to license a pet is $5 for a fixed animal and $10 for an animal that is not fixed. The cost goes up significantly if an animal is impounded without a license.

In response to a question from the commission, Krueger explained that there are varying levels of impound fees, based on “repeat offenders.” Costs begin at $35 and go up to $75 before legal issues begin to potentially get involved.

She also explained that calling the non-emergency police line for a loose animal or a noise complaint on an animal is the best way to ensure it is handled in a timely manner.

The second annual report was delivered by Brenda Jager, the manager of the Huron Event Center.

Jager remarked that the painting in the Event Center looks great and other flooring work has really upgraded the visual appeal of the facility.

She explained that the Crossroads Hotel has new ownership and that the Event Center hopes to maintain a positive relationship with the hotel moving forward.

Jager noted the upcoming audio/visual improvements in the ballrooms as the upcoming improvements that she is looking forward to that could help attract even more events to the city.

Finally, Greater Huron Development Corporation (GHDC) president and CEO Ted Haeder presented the annual report for his organization.

He noted the major focus of GHDC is to bring more housing into the city due to the need within Huron for additional housing at all levels.

Haeder also mentioned the work done downtown on facade grants, with seven grants awarded to improve the frontage of downtown businesses. Five of those seven have been completed.

GHDC continues to work with the school system, Haeder noted, to develop programs to meet workforce needs. He also mentioned the workforce grants for relocation of employees that businesses in town can apply for through GHDC.

Mayor Gary Harrington prompted Haeder to discuss the new fixed-base operator, or FBO, provider at the airport. Haeder explained that the previous FBO provider intended to leave, and in order to ensure no gap in coverage at the airport, GHDC became the owner of the FBO license for a short time before Revv Aviation came on board as the new FBO provider.

Before all the annual reports were presented, the meeting began with the commission convening as the city board of adjustment to review a variance request from Dennis Milbrandt. Milbrandt was proposing to construct a detached garage less than 10 feet from his residence with the distance from the door to the lot line less than 20 feet, both less than city code.

City planner Barry Cranston explained that the distance a detached building can be constructed from a residence is a matter of old building code still being on the books in the city, and that the distance to the lot line was a matter of inches. With no objections, this was unanimously approved.

The city also held a public hearing for two licenses for Dollar General to sell on-off sale malt beverage and South Dakota farm wine as well as wine and cider. With no objection, this was approved.

The commission had a long discussion regarding four lots of Estabook subdivision properties. Dave Stahl presented the commission with an offer to purchase four lots at $8,500 per lot for special assessment costs. Current total assessments on the four lots are $87,000, or $21,750 per lot.

City financial director Paullyn Carey had been authorized by the commission to accept 50% of special assessment costs on the properties, which would be $43,500, or $10,875. Stahl’s proposal amounted to slightly more than 39% of the total special assessment costs.

Commissioner Drew Weinreis questioned how long the city will hold onto the properties if they aren’t sold now while Commissioner Bryan Smith worried about the precedent set of accepting less than 50% for four lots after holding at 50% for other lots in the same development.

After lengthy discussion, commissioners Weinreis and Mark Robish voted to approve the sale, while commissioners Smith and Rich Bragg voted against the sale. That left the deciding vote in Mayor Harrington’s hands, and he voted against the sale, defeating the sale by a vote of 3-2.

Dakota Herb, LLC came to the commission requesting a medical cannabis dispensary license, the first to be issued by the city. Dakota Herb had already received a variance from the city to operate at 276 Kansas Ave SE. This was the final step after getting state approval. The vote was four for the license and one against, with Robish the lone nay vote.

Commissioners also:
    •    Approved the renewal of the Home Occupation Permit by Damaris Arevalo, 505 Simmons Ave SE to operate a clothing store.
    •    Approved closing a Water-Sewer Maintenance II position and opening a Water-Sewer Maintenance I position.
    •    Approved termination of Carlos Salazar from the lifeguard position.
    •    Approved promotion of Jamison Demarce to the concession manager position.
    •    Approved adding Braxtyn Mendel to the fire cadet program.

The commission closed the meeting in executive session for a personnel matter.


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