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City addresses resident concerns discusses fire department challenges

The Tea City Council met Aug. 7 and heard from residents about their concerns on the development of the old Atkins property on the northwest side of town.

Three homeowners noted they now have 4-foot tall weeds in the backyard and the rain that came last weekend has made the area worse. One said the water behind his house was 3 feet deep. The men said they have been taking turns mowing and spraying the area.

HDR engineer Ben Scholtz said that he meet with planning and zoning administrator Kevin Nissen three weeks ago. He noted that subdivision development takes time and that the developer is also responsible for maintaining weeds.

Mayor Casey Voelker thanked them for coming to talk about the matter and noted that it’s helpful when the public says don’t forget about it.

The fire department gave an update on three areas - new truck purchases, retention plan and EMS response.

With the growth of the community, it is hard for the department to maintain the same service as the numbers grow. They estimate that 70-80 percent of their calls are EMS calls. The department currently has 11 EMTs. In order to address EMS response the department plans to implement a data collection system to make decisions, developing ways to prioritize calls to dispatch, looking at people in the city who want to just do the EMS part in the department and looking at a contractual agreement with PC EMS for transportation to the hospitals.

They noted that firefighter retention is a nationwide problem. In South Dakota, there are more than 300 fire departments and only five of them have paid firefighters. Volunteering is the U.S. is dropping way off, they said.

The department is looking at a new ladder truck, but the estimated cost is $2 million and those are about 2.5 years out from when you place the order. Paying 10 percent at the time of the order is pretty normal procedure.

The council approved the second reading of ordinance 308, an ordinance to rezone phase 2B and 3, Nine Mile Lake Addition from agriculture to single family residential, multi-family residential and amending the official zoning map of the city of Tea.

They approved the annexation petition of tract 4, except lot H-1 in Landmark Industrial Park.

They also approved the building plans and permit for Tea Auto Repair Center at 715 Figzel Ct. The plans call for a 3,300 square feet building with a mezzanine.

The council discussed water rates. The preliminary discussion would address residential water usage with 0-4,000 gallons at a lower rate, 4,000-20,000 gallons at the average rate and above that would be super users. The council will address the rates in a resolution at the Aug. 21 meeting.

They approved the pay applications for the regionalization wastewater pump station and force main from Metro Construction for $278,451.64 and the Tea Athletic Complex from LT Companies Inc. for $252,492.

They also approved the 2020 and 2021 annual reports since the audit is finally complete. Since their first meeting in September would be Labor Day, they moved that meeting to Sept. 12.

The council went into executive session at 8:25 p.m.

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