City of Aberdeen fined $37,352 for Moccasin Creek discharges

City of Aberdeen fined $37,352 for Moccasin Creek discharges

Source: Aberdeen American News (South Dakota), September 5, 2012
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

The city of Aberdeen will pay $37,352 to the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources as a result of the city’s discharges of untreated effluent into Moccasin Creek in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011.

On Tuesday, the Aberdeen City Council approved a consent notice of the violation and settlement agreement with the DENR and the payment of the penalty.

During the meeting, City Manager Lynn Lander said the fine would probably have been higher if the city hadn’t taken steps to remedy the problem.

After the meeting, Lander pointed out that the city paid for a storm sewer analysis, which was completed in January, and is doing a major project to improve the Kline Street storm sewers, which the city believes contributed heavily to the problem.

Lander noted that much of that work was done before the city was notified in March that the fine was forthcoming. After the storm sewer analysis was done, Lander and City Engineer Robin Bobzien urged the council to revise the 2012 capital outlay program to make the Kline storm sewer work a priority.

Some of the work on Kline began in 2011. The city plans to continue working on Kline Street each year until 2017. The price tag on the work from 2013 to 2017 is expected to be $7.87 million.

Many of the violations cited by the DENR occurred during major weather events, Lander noted. Those events showed the flaws within the city’s system — “that contamination was going on,” Lander said in an interview.

During the meeting, Mayor Mike Levsen pointed out that the DENR gave the city a positive evaluation in its recent annual compliance report about surface water discharge.

The theme of Tuesday’s council meeting was that the city is not gaining in infrastructure improvements that need to be made.

Before approving on first reading the 2013 annual appropriations, councilman David Bunsness offered two amendments that failed. One would have given every dollar over $967,600 in the city promotion budget, up to $15,000, for the 2013 air show planned for Aberdeen. The other would have given $25,000 from the second penny sales tax to Aberdeen parking authorities. Both amendments received three yes votes and five no votes.

After those votes were taken, Levsen pointed out that the DENR recommends that Aberdeen give serious consideration to raising its wastewater rates. Levsen questioned the wisdom of using money from the second penny sales tax to fix Kline Street’s problems. He asked city administrators to look into how much a minimal increase in utility rates would help the Kline situation.

Also at the meeting, the council approved a developer’s agreement that allows Roosevelt Apartments LLC to build apartments in the old Roosevelt Junior High School. Ownership of the building will be transferred to Roosevelt Apartments LLC, which is headed by Jack Hollinsworth, who owns JDH Construction. The group was also represented at the meeting by Jim Diede of JDH Construction.

In an interview, Hollinsworth said the developers plan to build up to 34 one- and two-bedroom apartments in the Roosevelt building, which is part of the old Aberdeen Central complex. He said work should begin in three or four weeks, after the city’s paperwork is completed. Some of the units will be available to rent within six months of the start of construction, and possibly sooner.

During the meeting, City Attorney Adam Altman said the Roosevelt building will be rehabilitated with tax increment financing as well as private funds. The developer’s agreement calls for the formation of a new tax increment financing district, which still must be approved.

Roosevelt will be surrounded by 48 parking spaces, two of them for the handicapped. Twenty-two of the spaces will be on the east side, six on the north side, eight on the south side and 12 on the north side of Second Avenue.

The council approved an amendment, offered by councilman Clint Rux, that removes from Roosevelt Apartments LLC the right of first refusal to develop the former Washington Elementary School. The council directed staff members to prepare a request for proposals on the Washington work. It will be similar to one that went out on the Roosevelt and Washington buildings in 2010, which received little interest.

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