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First of many for new administrator

Shawn Kessel served in his post as the new Dickinson city administrator for his first Dickinson City Commission meeting held in City Hall on Tuesday.

"I want to thank the commission for hiring me and for allowing interim city administrator Rummel the time to introduce me around town," Kessel said. "I've met some wonderful people in Dickinson already and I'm very excited about being here."

City Commission President Dennis Johnson welcomed Kessel, joking he may find things a little dryer here then where he was formerly employed, Wahpeton.

"We're happy to have you here and I'm sure you're going to find this side of the state will have a lot less water in it then the eastern side of the state," Johnson joked.

Water has been an issue in Dickinson as of late, specifically in terms of water main breaks occurring throughout the city.

Skip Rapp, the city's public works manager for water and sewer reported to the commission on the 10 breaks that have occurred over the last month. Rapp said about $70,000 has been spent by the city up to this point to fix the breaks.

"These guys have been out all night long -- nights, weekends, holidays --fixing the breaks" Rapp said. "We've been averaging two to three a week since the middle of December. This past weekend is probably the first weekend that we haven't had to go out."

As the ground freezes it puts pressure on the underground pipes which can lead to the pipes shearing, Rapp said.

Commissioner Shirley Dukart asked if the number of breaks so far is above or below average, to which Rapp said all depends on the weather. Rapp added that there have been a few more breaks this year then usual, but so far nowhere near the record high. He said when the ground thaws in the spring, the city may see more breaks.

In other business, new police officer James Peterson was sworn in by Kessel.

Peterson who is originally from Florida told the commission his family would come to North Dakota for hunting every year and he finally decided to stay and that's how he ended up in Dickinson.

"Well we've had some recent burglaries, so good hunting there too," Johnson said.

Also on the agenda:

* A public hearing and approval of a special use permit for a construction yard in a general commercial zone in north Dickinson. Commissioners Joe Frenzel and Dukart abstained as their real estate businesses are involved in the transaction.

* A public hearing and approval of a special use permit for real estate offices in a multi-family residential zone.

* A presentation on the November election by Dickinson Watchdog member, Jack Jackson.

* Approval of an agreement to apply for a static aircraft display to be placed at the Dickinson Municipal Airport.

* City Engineer Shawn Soehren told the commission he believes the city should prepare projects to be submitted for funding in the event of an economic recovery package.