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Council considers privacy issue, credit card fraud

At Tuesday’s regular meeting, the Sundance City Council heard a variance request from residents John and Pam Davis. Despite expressing great sympathy for the couple’s plight, the council felt it could not fulfill the request as made – but was able to offer a compromise.

Pam presented the request to erect a six-foot fence down one side of their property and explained it would be for protection against the neighbor, of whom she is frightened.

The neighbor, she claimed, has urinated on her dog, peered through her windows and taken her dog inside his home. The fence would provide privacy and make it more difficult for the neighbor to target the couple’s house.

The problem, said Mayor Paul Brooks, is that the city does not allow six-foot fences at the front of residential properties. If every house had a fence of this kind, he said, the city would look like a “fort” or a penitentiary.

Though the council accepted that the Davis’s are facing extenuating circumstances, it was fearful of setting a precedent. As stated by Council Member Randy Stevenson, it would be opening a “can of worms”.

A motion was made to grant the variance, but died for lack of a second. Instead, the suggestion was made to allow the six-foot fence down the side of the property but only out past the front face of the home for ten of the 20 available feet. At that point, the fence would need to be only four feet high.

A friendly amendment was added to the motion, which was then passed.

At last week’s meeting, further discussion was held on the unauthorized charges discovered on the city’s credit card statement. At July’s meeting, Clerk/Treasurer Theresa Curren reported the issue to the council, explaining that her office has been unable to locate the source of certain charges.

The fraudulent charges were on what Erickson described as “oddball” items that are clearly unrelated to city business. As all the unexplained charges were from shopping website Amazon, Curren suggested putting a stop on merchandise purchases from that site.

The council voted unanimously to cancel the card.

Since that time, said Curren, she has contacted Amazon to further investigate where these charges came from. The Amazon employee with whom she spoke was not able to give her the name of the individual who made the purchases for legal reasons, she said.

However, the employee could confirm who the individual was not. Curren said she was able to work through a list of current and past employees who had access to the card and none of these names matched the name of the individual who made the purchases.

Consequently, Curren was able to confirm that the fraudulent charges were not made by any former or current employee of the city.

The council also passed a motion to update Resolution 12, 2023 for a grant application from the fire department for American Rescue Plan Act funding to upgrade the fire hall. A new estimate has been received, said Fire Chief Gari Gill, with an increase of $180,000 on the necessary materials.

However, this is less than the estimate that was used to compile the resolution, which the council approved amending from the original $800,000 estimate to the accurate number of $648,000.

The council also approved a request from subdivision developer Ryan Kaski for the Kaski Subdivision, which was completed in 2019. At that time, five lots were completed and it was anticipated that this number would eventually grow to 27.

As part of the process, Kaski obtained an agreement from the city to provide water to the lots, which was a necessary part of the permitting process with the Department of Environmental Quality.

However, he has now split the remaining lots into thirds; two of the three have already been sold.

Kaski is now undergoing a new permitting process and once again needs to seek an agreement with the city to provide water to the third lot. Having received advice from Karla Greaser of Trihydro, City Engineers, that there is adequate supply for the lot, a motion was passed to grant the additional service.

Public Works Director Mac Erickson reported that the city will be switching the destination to which recyclable cardboard is hauled. Rapid City is no longer accepting cardboard, he said, necessitating the change.

However, Erickson stressed that the community does not need to make any changes to how cardboard is disposed of. Speaking the day after the meeting, he stated that it appears another outlet has been found.

The city continues to encourage residents and businesses to recycle their cardboard.

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