BISMARCK — After six years of negotiation, an ordinance authorizing the lease purchase of city-owned land by the St. Francois County Ambulance District (SFCAD) was approved at the regular monthly meeting of the Bismarck Board of Aldermen held Thursday evening at the municipal court building.
SFCAD and the Bismarck board had previously agreed to build a district ambulance house in the city within the next 10 to 12 months. David Tetrault, SFCAD CEO, attended the board’s regular meeting last February to answer any questions the aldermen might have about the proposed construction. Attending the meeting with Tetrault were architect David Kromm and SFCAD Board of Directors member J.D. Hodge who represents District 2, which includes the city of Bismarck.
Tetrault explained that SFCAD planned to place district houses in seven locations around the county to help decrease emergency response times. Bismarck was chosen as a preferred location because of its proximity to Iron Mountain and Iron Mountain Lake. He said the new ambulance house would decrease response times in Bismarck from 12 minutes to four to six minutes.
The new district ambulance house will be built on property adjacent to the Bismarck Airport.
In other action by the board:
• The board approved the city’s participating in a Christmas Tree Lighting program to be held at the Bismarck Depot on Dec. 1. The lighting will take place at 6 p.m. followed by the arrival of Santa Claus at 6:30. The board approved the amount of $400 to pay for the purchase of refreshments and candy for the night’s events. The Depot Committee said its members would supply the cookies.
Mayor Dennis Mayberry offered praise for the Christmas Tree Lighting program, saying it would be a good event for the city to be involved. He also thanked the Bismarck Chamber of Commerce for donating the tree and Mel Jordan’s donation of a display cabinet for the depot.
The Bismarck Chamber of Commerce is also planning a holiday event. Christmas in the Park will take place Saturday, Dec. 8 in Sundale Park.
• Discussion was held concerning the banning of cell phones in city meetings. Mayor Mayberry said he disagreed with the proposed ban because he might need to answer an emergency call.
“We’re all adults here,” he said. “I think people can learn to not use cell phones in our meetings. They can put them on silent. I don’t see any reason to ban them.”
Alderman Charles Macee said he considered the use of cell phones in city meetings to be “bad business,” but could also understand the mayor’s viewpoint. Alderman Carol Baker said she believed cell phone use had become a distraction in recent months with people in the audience texting or leaving the room to take calls in the middle of meetings.
With the city’s intent to move future board of aldermen meetings from the municipal court building to the depot beginning next month, the mayor asked Depot Committee President Liz Bennett to make up a “no cell phone” sign to affix outside the building.
• A search for new tables for use by the board of aldermen at monthly meetings held at the train depot was approved. A bid for a horseshoe-shaped table submitted to the board was considered too pricey.
• Approval was given for a request from Police Chief Dave Dickerson to have texting added to his cell phone package. The plan will allow for up to 250 texts a month at a cost of $4.99.
• The board voted to give full-time city employees a Christmas bonus of $150 this year. Part-time employees will receive a bonus of $75.
• Oct. 24–26 was approved for the city’s Annual Fall Cleanup. No tires or mattresses will be picked up.
• The Annual Halloween Parade was approved for Oct. 31 at 2 p.m.
• Discussion was held regarding the difficulty city utility workers are having in reading meters in fenced-in areas without gates. In such cases city employees sometimes have to enter the properties by walking through a home, a possible source of liability for the city. The board said it would consider a change to the city ordinance on fencing that would require gates to be installed.
• A progress report was received from the city inspector on nine properties within the city limits considered dangerous. The board was also presented an invoice from the inspector for his work.
• Liz Bennett reported that the Depot Committee was holding a workday at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. Discussion was also held about details regarding the Christmas Tree Lighting program.
• Reports were received from the police, fire and utility departments, along with animal control
• Administrative Assistant Alan Williams reported that work was going well at the city’s wastewater treatment plant construction site. He suggested the board might want to meet with him there at the end of the month to inspect the workers’ progress.
• Minutes from the Sept. 13 regular meeting and special meetings held on Sept. 13 and 20 were approved.
• The city’s financial statement was approved and outstanding bills were OK’d for payment.
• Purchase orders and invoices were approved for payment.
• In an executive session held prior to the regular meeting, Eddie Joe Campbell was hired as a worker in the utility department.
Kevin R. Jenkins is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-431-2010, ext. 114 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.