Unofficial Minutes of the Special Meeting of the
City Council of the City of Hot Springs
April 1, 2020
A special meeting of the City Council of the City of Hot Springs, South Dakota, was convened on April 1, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. at the Mueller Civic Center with Mayor George Kotti presiding
Members Present: David Burris, Bill Lukens, Bob Nelson, Ron Richards, Alison Ritterbush, Craig Romey and Caitlin Turner
Members Absent: Ray Ecoffey
Staff Present: City Administrator John Gregory, Finance Officer Misty Summers-Walton, Police Chief Mike Close, Police Captain Bill Wainman, MCC Staff Karl Bochert, Media Coordinator Justin Gausman and City Attorney Garland Goff
All actions recorded in these minutes were by unanimous vote unless otherwise stated.
Agenda: Moved by Romey, seconded by Burris, to approve the agenda
Moved by Turner, seconded by Romey, to waive council pay for special meeting
Mayor Kotti made introductory comments regarding the special meeting, his veto and a misunderstanding with the City Attorney. He thanked Councilman Lukens and Nelson for tracking the recent legislative session and discussed the failed Senate Bill 191. The resolution passed by the City mirrored the Governor’s order. The Ordinance being discussed tonight will have a second reading at next regularly scheduled council meeting Monday April 6th, it will then will become effective on the day of publication which is April 9th. Councilman Nelson also discussed the Mayoral veto, affirming the City does not want to mandate closures but would rather allow individuals to decide how to do business. Councilman Nelson read through the changes to the Ordinance. Councilman Lukens talked about his oath to uphold the constitution and how the ordinance being presented follows constitutional guidance. He reiterated the Governor’s directive in her executive order to support businesses who innovate and adjust their business models to function in this rotten business environment while still protecting the public. Mayor Kotti opened the meeting to public comments.
Communications from the Public: Theresa Rutz, owner of Polished Nail Salon, representing ten out of eleven salons/spas/massage businesses in town urged the Council to specifically name their industry in the ordinance mandating their closure. The reasons for the request are to potentially assist them in gaining access to unemployment relief programs and secondly, to give them a legitimate reason for reducing or closing their businesses.
Heather Ramsey, owner of Body Bliss stated she can’t close her business without getting fallback from county and clients, she also urged the Council to mandate closure, sharing similar reasons for the request.
Andrea Powers Executive Director of Southern Hills Economic Development Corporation (SHEDCO) discussed programs available through the Small Business Administration and stated that information would be shared on the SHEDCO website.
Tony Brixius, co-owner of Dairy Queen, discussed his personal experience with unemployment benefits offered to business owners when disasters occur and mentioned that businesses impacted don’t need a city mandate to be eligible. He asked for clarification regarding people who come into his store to order and wait for their food. He stated he would prefer they don’t come into the store. Councilman Nelson and Lukens stated it was up to each business owner how they deliver their product, the ordinance allows for take-out as well as delivery, drive thru and curbside.
Steve Shannon, co-owner of Health 4 Life Fitness, discussed his facility and the benefits offered to users. He was concerned that this Ordinance would shut down his business, but after further discussion and clarification he was relieved to hear that it would not. They will continue with their current practice of sanitizing all equipment in between use and not allowing more than 10 people at a time.
Larry Pratt discussed his support of the Ordinance, he mentioned he is an instructor at Bodies in Motion and also a transit bus driver for Prairie Hills and comes into contact with many people each day. He also discussed his vow as a service member to maintain responsibility for and to never give up on the people.
John Davis, resident of Hot Springs remarked about the great Country that we live in and the citizen’s ability to talk to our government and them listening. He asked that we not act with fear because fear is a killer and love is the real power.
Rachel Whitcher, owner of the Hair Care Center is also concerned with her business and stated that as a stylist they are stuck in the middle. She shared her concerns in light of her own health issues, but is trying to find the balance.
Justin Gausman, Digital Media Coordinator for both the HS Chamber of Commerce and the City of Hot Springs has been live streaming the meeting on the City’s Facebook page and monitoring the comments. He relayed that he would be sending Council all the comments from the stream for review but shared that the majority tend to be in favor of social distancing and keeping people safe. He also shared that he would be linking the SHEDCO information from their site on the Chamber and City websites.
Ed Harvey, representing the American Legion said their business has closed effective last Saturday and also shared his support of the Ordinance.
Although not present, an email with remarks made by resident Garry Strauser, were read aloud. He supports the Ordinance, stating “I’m glad our local government is taking action” and also recommended some changes to the language in several whereas, paragraphs to help preserve some of the details of this pandemic in City records for generations to follow.
Councilman Ron Richards, shared some statistics regarding our population and also his support of the Ordinance.
Ordinance: Moved by Ritterbush, seconded by Romey to approve first reading of Ordinance 1212-An Emergency Ordinance to address a public health crisis by implementing certain measures which have been deemed necessary to slow the community spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Comments were heard from Councilman Lukens, Nelson, Richards and Councilwoman Ritterbush. City Attorney Goff was asked to provide clarification regarding any changes to the ordinance and a potential future resolution addressing the concerns and requests of the salons/spas/massage therapists was also discussed. A roll call vote was taken with all members present voting in favor of the ordinance.
Being no further business to come before the Council, moved by Turner, seconded by Romey, to adjourn at 7:48 p.m.
George Kotti, Mayor
Misty Summers-Walton, Finance Officer
Published once at the total approximate cost of $76.86
Published: April 9, 2020