City reviews resolution on specials

The Dickinson City Commission has to keep rolling, even when a few spokes go missing next month. During Monday's regularly scheduled meeting, two commissioners said they'd be absent during the next meeting, along with the city administrator. The ...

The Dickinson City Commission has to keep rolling, even when a few spokes go missing next month.

During Monday's regularly scheduled meeting, two commissioners said they'd be absent during the next meeting, along with the city administrator. The second meeting in May doesn't look much better.

However, the commissioners managed to get in as much work as they could before May hits. They discussed a resolution on special assessments.

The commissioners had discussed during two previous meetings their thoughts on using special assessments in the city. Based on those views, City Administrator Greg Sund wrote a resolution to reflect the city's consensus.

"The key phrases here support using special assessments for development issues; and also for voluntary replacement of sidewalk, curb and gutter; and for removal of diseased and hazardous trees," Sund said.


Sund said the resolution states the commission does not support special assessments for replacing utility lines, or anything in a developed area.

Mayor Dennis Johnson proposed two "whereas" clauses to add in place of another, which would more closely reflect the commission's intentions for special assessments.

"Whereas the city commission desires to minimize the amount of special assessments to the city's citizens; and whereas the city commission believes the use of special assessments to finance infrastructure improvements and infrastructure maintenance rather than property taxes, sales taxes or enterprise funding can be misrepresented by the city to the public that it is keeping taxes low," Johnson read from his proposed changes.

While Commissioner Carson Steiner said he was happy with the new language as it is, Commissioner Rhonda Dukart said she preferred an extra meeting to think about it.

"There's no rush on this too, because there might be a grammatically better way to say what I said here," Johnson said.

Johnson requested Sund keep the original copy of the resolution to present along with the mayor's proposed changes.

Since the city has not had a policy on special assessments before this, Johnson said the issue will be discussed at a future meeting, when it is known all five commissioners will be present.

In an unrelated matter, City Engineer Shawn Soehren updated the commissioners on the special use permit for St. Benedict's to open a group daycare.


Although the commissioners had hoped to keep the most significant issues off the agenda during May due to the expected absences of commissioners, Johnson said this one is an exception.

Johnson said if the involved parties could not reach an agreement during the upcoming planning and zoning meeting April 18, the city commission would take on the issue once more.

"I think another issue to consider is by the time we get to the May meeting, it will have been six or seven weeks since that was on the agenda," Johnson said. "I'm not sure it's fair to the parties to have them wait another two or three weeks, or four more weeks. That might be one of those items that has to be acted on."

Johnson said six to seven weeks in planning and zoning is a reasonable amount of time to discuss the special use permit.

The permit was initially denied at a Dickinson Planning and Zoning meeting in January, before the Dickinson City Commission reviewed the issue March 19. There the commissioners sent the issue back to planning and zoning.

The planning and zoning commission has met twice to review the issue since the city commissioners sent back the permit request.

"At that (first) meeting we presented them with some of the possible restrictions that could be applied to the daycare," Soehren said.

Soehren said rather than apply those stipulations themselves, the planning and zoning commissioners agreed to allow St. Ben's administrator to work with concerned neighbors to reach an agreement.


"Unfortunately, at that point (during the second meeting), they hadn't really talked about resolutions that would suffice or satisfy both sides of the equation," Soehren said.

During Monday's meeting, the commissioners also discussed these unrelated issues:

E Dickinson Planning and Zoning Commissioner Deborah Ford resigned from her position. Soehren said Ford resigned because the meeting time, 7:10 a.m., conflicted with her schedule.

The city is accepting applications to fill the open position. Interested candidates can fill out a citizen interest form, available at .

E City employees are soon moving e-mail addresses. The address matches the city Web site domain name. The new addresses follow the format of .

Sund said the current address with the domain name will remain active for some time once the switch is made.

Though all commissioners were present on Monday, Dukart and Steiner are expected to be absent during the May 7 meeting, along with Sund. Dukart and Sund are also going to be absent during the second meeting due to a retailer conference in Las Vegas.

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