City asked to subsidize 911 service

Jill Meier, Journal editor
A request to subsidize the city’s 911 emergency services provider, MED-Star, went behind closed doors in executive session at Monday’s Brandon City Council meeting. A subsequent committee of city administrator Bryan Read and councilmen Blaine Jones and Chuck Parsons will meet with Jay Masur, president/CEO of MED-Star, to negotiate the subsidy request.
As requested by Masur, the discussion went into executive session for the proprietary reasons. The amount Masur is requesting remains confidential but Read saidthat figure will be made public at the council’s April 16 meeting. The city has not subsidized MED-Star at all in their 11 years of service here.
MED-Star began operations in Brandon in 2000 and in 2007, took over as the city’s 911 emergency services provider. Masur said he and his wife have been subsidizing the 911 service themselves since 2007.
“From 2007 to now, we have maintained the 911 service,” Masur said, noting the 4.1-minute response time and fleet of seven ambulances. “We didn’t have to do that.”
Read said the city is not in jeopardy of losing their 911 emergency service provider and complimented their community service to date.
City to implement texting system
Similar to Brandon Valley School District’s mass texting abilities through SchoolReach, the city of Brandon is opening the lines of communications through Textedly. The city of Madison – a community of about 6,500 –Textedly to communicate with its residents. About 800 residents signed up for the free text service. The monthly cost to the city is $55 for up to 5,000 texts.
“I’m really excited about this this and it’s going to make a heavy impact,” said Alderman Don Wells. “But I will complain until I’m blue in the face if we abuse the system.”
Alderman Blaine Jones said the texting option is another method the city will offer to further open the lines of communication.
“I don’t feel there’s much more that we can do. If anything, I think the city is making every effort to community and I’m excited about this,” Wells added.
Residents will learn more about Textedly in the coming weeks in the Brandon Valley Journal, and sign-up information will be available on the city website.
Water conservation measures
A three-tiered plan to regulate watering of yards in the works for Brandon residents. What started as a probable change by resolution turned into probably amendment of the related city ordinance. The ordinance change allows city officials to enforce the watering restrictions through various measures – posted notices, monetary fines and subsequent legal charges.
Although not approved yet, the council warmed up to the three-tiered “green, yellow, red” system to regulate lawn watering. Green designation would allow watering on the odd/even address schedule but not between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Watering designation would change to yellow if the water treatment plant produces 1.6 million gallons of water per day for three consecutive days or it production reaches 2 million gallons in any one single day.
Watering would be allowed on designated days by address: Those that end in 0 or 1, can water on Mondays, 2 and 3 on Tuesdays, and so forth. No watering would be allowed on Saturdays or Sundays, and again, would be prohibited between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
If water production is less than 1.6 million gallons per day for 10 consecutive days, the designation goes back to green.
Red designation – not watering at all - will be implemented if the water treatment plant produces 1.6 million gallon per day for an additional seven days or if production reaches 2 million gallons for a single day.
If water production is less than 1.6 million gallons per day for 10 consecutive days, the designation returns to yellow.
If red designation is called more than two times in a calendar year, that designation stays in place until Sept. 15, at which time it returns to green.
Enforcement of the green, yellow red system is yet to be determined. Under the current ordinance, fines are not enforceable, city attorney Lisa Marso said.
“It’s truly the enforcement that’s going to be the driver. Without that, the penalty is only as good as the paper it’s written on,” said Jones, who supported issuing citations to violators.
Last year, first-time violators were notified by door hangers and second-time with orange-colored lawn signs.
“Was it effective?” Barb Fish asked.
Read answered, “Yes.”
Alderman Jon McInerny equated the orange sign to that of “public shaming.”


The Brandon Valley Journal


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Brandon, SD 57005
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