September 10, 2021

What's News In The City

The public is urged to stay advised of changing weather conditions, to implement winter safe-driving techniques, to have a survival kit in their vehicle, to implement additional time in their commutes to account for winter road conditions. The public is urged to stay advised of changing weather conditions, to implement winter safe-driving techniques, to have a survival kit in their vehicle, to implement additional time in their commutes to account for winter road conditions. (City Photo)

**CITY'S SOLID WASTE DIVISION HOSTING FREE TIRE DISPOSAL WEEK AT LANDFILL:   Have a spare tire taking up extra space around the house? No, we’re not talking about those extra pounds packed around your mid-section, but those used and unwanted tires packed in the garage, backyard or side of your house.

            The Rapid City Solid Waste Division is again hosting a free tire disposal event at the Rapid City Landfill.  The week-long tire disposal event is scheduled for September 27 through October 2 and is for residential customers. The $240 per ton disposal fee will be waived during this time.

            In October, 2018, the last time the City hosted a tire disposal event, more than 341 tons – or approximately 28,000 tires – were brought to the Landfill during a week-long event.

            “Tires are constantly being dumped within the Black Hills and around Rapid City,” said Ria Harper of the Solid Waste Division.  “We’ve had great participation at past tire disposal events and this is a great opportunity to get those tires to the landfill instead of taking up space in the garage or yard, or dumped along the roadside or field.”

            There is no limit to the number or size of tires that can be dropped off by residents.

            For more information, contact the Solid Waste Division at 355-3496.

**LIBRARY INTRODUCES SIT & STITCH KNITTING CLUB: Bring your needles, hooks and yarn for an evening of fiber arts with librarian Becky on Monday, September 13 and 27 from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. upstairs at the downtown library! Don't have equipment? The library has some that you can use for the class so join us for comradery and snacks! This event is limited to the first 20 attendees to arrive.

For more information about upcoming library events visit: https://rapidcitylibrary.org/events

**SOLID WASTE OFFICIALS ENCOURAGING AT-HOME COMPOSTING: With fall approaching, the City’s Solid Waste Division is encouraging homeowners to implement at-home composting as part of their year-round garden and lawn maintenance and a way to lessen the amount of material needing to be processed at the Rapid City Landfill.

            At-home composting utilizes grass clippings and leaves as garden and lawn mulch, serving as a valuable source of nitrogen that can help create and maintain a beautiful green lawn and help plants grow.  City Solid Waste officials indicate at-home composting puts leaves and clippings to a practical use around the home and limits the amount of green material ending up in the yard waste stream at the Rapid City Landfill.

            City Solid Waste officials indicate 22,148 tons of organic material was accepted at the Rapid City Landfill for processing in 2020.  Organic material includes yard waste, clean wood scraps and manure.  This year, through August 31, the facility has accepted 13,101 tons of organic material for processing.

            “One of our challenges is the large amount of grass clippings and similar material that enter our facility. It makes the process of composting on a large scale very difficult for us,” said City Assistant Public Works Director Kristen Hasse.  “Homeowners can play an important role in lessening the amount of yard waste at our landfill.  Instead of throwing out your bagged grass clippings or leaves, the material can be used to help your lawn and garden, and add to your own compost pile for future use.”

            Hasse says making a compost pile for lawn and garden use is a simple process. 

            *Helpful tools include pitchforks, square-point shovels or machetes, and water hoses with a spray head;

            *Select a dry, shady spot near a water source for the compost pile or bin;

            *Add brown and green materials (lawn clippings, leaves) as they are collected, making sure larger pieces are chopped or shredded;

            *Moisten dry materials as they are added;

            *Once the compost pile is established, mix grass clippings and green waste into the pile and bury fruit and vegetable waste under 10 inches of compost material;

            *Regular mixing or turning of the material and some water will help maintain the compost

            *(Optional): Cover the top of the compost pile with a tarp to keep it moist. When the material at the bottom is dark and rich in color, the compost is ready to use. This takes anywhere from two months to two years to produce.

            For more helpful hints about at-home composting, visit Composting At Home | US EPA .

**SIGN UP OR RENEW LIBRARY CARD IN SEPTEMBER: September is Library Card Sign up Month – anyone who renews or signs up for a library card will be entered to win an iPad.

Throughout September, the library will accept donations at the library and fines and fees will be forgiven.

Here’s how:

1.) Return late items without penalty, no matter how late they are.

2.) Donate any of these items: Like-new book or DVD, new socks or clothing, non-perishable food, pet items

$25 of fines/fees will be waived for each item donated.

Donations will benefit WAVI, Feeding South Dakota, Cornerstone Rescue Mission and Humane Society of the Black Hills.

For more information, visit https://rapidcitylibrary.org/library-card-sign-up-month

**PROGRAMS SERVING SENIOR VOLUNTEERS MERGE; CITY CONTINUES SPONSORSHIP OF COMBINED PROGRAM: Two area programs serving senior volunteers have recently consolidated into one organization.

            The West River RSVP, or West River Retired Senior Volunteer Program, combines the grant resources of the Black Hills RSVP+ and Northern Hills RSVP entities.  The Corporation for National and Community Service approved the merger earlier this summer.  With the consolidation, West River RSVP will cover 10 counties in western South Dakota.

            “Our goal has always been to be one big program,” said Ann Hines, who managed the Black Hills RSVP+ program and will now oversee the consolidated program.  “Our offices will still be in the same locations in Rapid City and Spearfish, volunteers will continue to reach out to the same staff to sign up for volunteer opportunities or report hours.

            “The big difference is our name and that we will be covering the combined service area under one organization.”

            West River RSVP will coordinate the efforts of more than 750 volunteers, covering most of western South Dakota.  The City of Rapid City has sponsored the federal grant for Black Hills RSVP+ for more than 35 years and will continue to oversee management of combined grants of more than $135,000 for the consolidated program.  Both programs are in the third year of a three-year grant period through the Corporation for National and Community Service.

            RSVP provides opportunities for adults age 55 and older to put their life experiences and skills to work for non-profit agencies and organizations.  Volunteers teach children and adults to read, mentor children, deliver meals to home-bound seniors, take seniors to community appointments, assist organizations with clerical and other efforts.

            For more information about West River RSVP or to volunteer, contact Hines at 394-2507.

**RAPID CITY TOPS SOUTH DAKOTA CITIES FOR YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN NATIONAL REPORT:  Rapid City ranks as the best city for young professionals in South Dakota, according to a new report issued by Insurify.

                Researchers at Insurify – an online insurance marketplace - analyzed statistics from multiple sources to determine the best cities in each state with the most to offer the nation’s youngest members of the workforce.  The researchers devised a composite score based on those factors for cities in each state.  In South Dakota, Rapid City scored 90.7 out of 100 for overall appeal among young professionals.  The score is seven percent higher than the state average.

                “We are pleased with the ranking,” said Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender.  “The bottom line is this ranking is nothing new to the people who live and work in the Rapid City area – this is a great place to work, to live, raise a family and recreate, especially for young people.

                “We are seeing an influx of young professionals to our community and there are increasing opportunities for employment, especially in the tech sector.  Rapid City offers a lot for people of all ages. For young professionals and their families, there are growth opportunities in employment, opportunities to start their own business or venture; we have great schools, health organizations and a great quality of life with numerous recreational opportunities in the area.  Our community and area are growing, and with that growth will come even many opportunities for young people to thrive.”

                Insurify evaluated 134 cities nationwide, considering factors including cost of living, unemployment rate, ease of alternative transit, number of arts and entertainment establishments and dating opportunities for singles.  A higher score indicates a greater prevalence of favorable factors.

                Only five cities scored higher than Rapid City: Minneapolis and Lincoln, NE (both 100 scores); St. Louis, MO (98.4); Madison, WI (95.1); and Pittsburgh, PA (92.9).  Other top cities in the region with their scores included Cheyenne, WY (60.5), Fargo, ND (88.9), Missoula, MT (88.6) and Des Moines, IA (77.8).

                For more information on the Insurify report, visit: The Best Cities for Young Professionals in 2021 – Insurify

2021’s Best Cities for Young Professionals

**CITY TO AGAIN OFFER 'YOUTH RIDE FREE' TRANSIT PROGRAM:  As parents and students scamper to buy school clothes, sneakers and supplies, one of the key boxes on the school checklist that impacts many families is reliable transportation to and from school.

The City and Rapid Transit System (RTS) is again offering the ‘Youth Ride Free’ program for the 2021-22 school year.

            This is the sixth consecutive school year youth will be able to ride free on the Rapid Transit System's (RTS) RapidRide program.  The City is offering a free ride orientation period beginning tomorrow (Tuesday) through August 27 for parents to become familiar with routes and schedules by boarding any of the RapidRide buses.

               Parents can ride free during this orientation period when accompanied by their school-aged child.

                Registration is required for the free transportation program.  Parents and guardians can contact Rapid Transit Service at 394-6631 to register or go online to rapidride.org and click on the ‘Youth Ride Free’ button. Information requested includes student’s name, school, parent or guardian’s name, and a phone number for emergency contact purposes.

            "We are excited to again offer the ‘Youth Ride Free’ program this school year,” said Megan Gould, RTS System Manager. “The program offers a free and convenient option for transportation to and from school for youth and anywhere along our fixed route system.

“The service also provides peace of mind for parents knowing there is a reliable option for getting their child to school.  It’s also a great option when that school car isn’t working or we have cold, inclement weather with icy roads.”

Gould says the parent orientation rides are an opportunity for parents and children to ride together to learn about transit schedules, routes and boarding locations.

Local schools were impacted by COVID protocols during the 2020-21 school year which also impacted youth ridership numbers on RapidRide.  Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, youth ridership averaged 12-13,000 passenger trips per month. During the COVID restrictions, youth ridership still averaged more than 3,000 boardings per month during the 2020-21 school year.

            In announcing the free youth transportation program in the summer of 2016, Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender indicated the free youth transit program would provide students better access to schools, libraries, recreation and social events as well as save money for families and foster appreciation for public transportation among the City's youth.

            RapidRide will also have maps, material and regular ride schedules available as well as published online at rapidride.org .

**CITY ISSUES THIRD-MOST PERMITS FOR JANUARY TO JUNE PERIOD: The City’s Building Services Division issued 456 building permits in June, the third-most number of permits issued for the sixth month of the calendar year.  The valuation of the permits totaled $23,556,450, the highest valuation total for the month of June since June 2017.

            For the first half of 2021, the City has issued 2,393 building permits with a valuation total of $197,877,177.  The total for the first half of this year is the third most number of permits issued in the City’s history for the first six months, surpassed only by the 3,037 permits issued January to June of 2014 and the 2,495 permits issued for the first six months of 2012.

This year’s January to June permit numbers are much higher than the 1,846 building permits issued for the first half of 2020 and the valuation total is more than double the value of the permits issued for the first six months of 2020 ($93,577,390).

The June permit total of 456 permits issued is surpassed only by the June 2014 (615) and June 2020 (595) totals.

Top permits issued last month by the City include: Monument Health’s second floor alterations at the Rapid City hospital facility at 353 Fairmont Boulevard ($2.5 million); Rushmore Plaza Holiday Inn for roofing, window and other alterations at 505 N. Fifth Street ($2.5 million); Presbyterian Retirement Village’s boiler replacement at 255 Texas Street ($997,000); a new single family dwelling with garage at 3837 Elysian Court ($673,387); a single family dwelling with garage at 555 Summerfield Drive ($555,349); and Orchard Meadows Rapid City LLC for four-plexes at 2827 Nuggets Drive, 2769 Nuggets Drive and 2843 Nuggets Drive ($440,000 each).

**NO ILLEGAL DUMPING AT REMOTE YARD WASTE SITES: An uptick in the dumping of inappropriate items is being reported by City officials at the remote yard waste sites at the Fitzgerald Stadium and West Boulevard North sites.  Officials remind the public the sites are for yard waste only, and limited to residential use only. The sites can also be used for disposal of recyclable and cardboard items.

            The remote yard waste sites were opened to the public on April 1 and have been used annually by thousands of residents for collecting yard waste, tree branches and similar items.  In recent weeks, there has been an increase in the dumping of items such as household garbage, fencing, furniture, paints and other items.

            "Unfortunately, this appears to be a major problem each summer for the Solid Waste Division," said Jancie Knight, Solid Waste community outreach coordinator. "Whether they are unaware or don’t care, when non-yard waste items are placed in the dumpsters or tossed outside the containers, it takes City staff away from their day-to-day duties to clean up these areas.

            "The non-yard waste items must be hand-removed because they do not break down into compost and they can contaminate the entire yard waste load. This results in significant staff time spent pulling the contaminants out, sifting through the load and grinding it, prior to starting the composing process."

            The Solid Waste Division recently posted a pair of videos on their facebook page highlighting the issue.

            Illegal dumping, whether at the city remote yard waste sites or within city limits, is against city ordinance and violators can be subject to a fine.

            Officials also remind the public the facilities are for residential use only.  Commercial entities disposing of large loads at the remote sites results in containers filling rapidly and increasing overflow dumping outside of the containers. All commercial and overly-large loads of yard waste should be taken to the City Landfill. 

            Knight says the green waste containers can fill up quickly and it takes staff 45 minutes per trip to remove and return bins from the locations.  If bins are full, the public is advised to wait a short period of time for new bins to arrive or take the yard waste to the landfill yard waste disposal site, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

**CITY WATER RESTRICTIONS BEGIN JUNE 1: Rapid City's annual mandatory water conservation measures go into effect June 1.

            Beginning Tuesday (June 1), no watering is allowed between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily.  Odd-numbered addresses are allowed to water on odd-numbered calendar days.  Even-numbered addresses are allowed to water on even-numbered calendar days.  No outside watering is allowed on the 31st day of any month.

            Manual watering with a handheld hose or with a bucket, sprinkling can or other similar container is allowed.

            Since the 1990s, the City of Rapid City has instituted mandatory water conservation measures.  The purpose is to maintain a conservation philosophy among residents.   Water conservation measures are utilized June 1-August 31 each year under normal status conditions.  Status conditions include normal, concern, alert and critical stages and are determined by the water levels and inflows to Pactola Reservoir. 

            "Our City’s water plan has included water conservation measures since the 1990s,” said Jeff Crockett, Rapid City Water Superintendent.  "Water conservation has greatly impacted the community's daily use of water. Maintaining conservation measures and keeping residents educated about the importance of water conservation practices is extremely important.

            "From one year to the next, conditions can change. They can change drastically within a short time during a particular season of the year."

            The impact of water conservation measures is reflected in the average daily use of water per person in Rapid City. In the 1990s, prior to implementation of annual water conservation measures, the average daily use of water per person in Rapid City was 168 gallons.  In 2020, the average daily use of water per person in Rapid City was 120 gallons.  A ‘Please Use Water Wisely’ pyramid of 168 water jugs, reflecting the daily use of water per person in the 1990s, is on display at the Mountain View Water Treatment Plant.

            For more information or questions about the City’s water restrictions, contact the Rapid City Water Office at 394-4162.

**LIGHTS OUT...WHO YOU GONNA CALL? The City's Traffic Operations Division is reminding the public if they see a street light out or not working properly, contact them at 394-4118. Provide a good location so crews can be dispatched to change out the light or make any needed repairs.  Callers are advised to leave a message in the evenings or weekends for attention the next business day.

**CITY UTILITY CREWS WORKING IN FRANKLIN/11TH STREET AREAS: Two sections along Franklin Street and 11th Street will be closed next week (July 20-23) as City utility crews remove abandoned storm pipes.

            The four-day project will involve crews working a one-block section on Franklin Street from 11th Street up to West Boulevard Tuesday and Wednesday and on 11th Street from Franklin Street to St. Cloud Street on Thursday and Friday.

            Access will remain open to homeowners in the affected area but the one-block sections will be closed to through traffic during the construction periods.  No disruption of utility service is expected.  The entire project is expected to be completed by late Friday.

**RAPID CITY PUBLIC LIBRARY LAUNCHES SUMMER READING: Rapid City Public Library’s Summer Reading Program - Tails & Tales begins June 1 with programs and prizes for kids, teens and adults. Custom reading logs and bookmarks will be available to track progress and turn in for prizes – books, toys, activities and treats! It’s important to minimize summer learning loss by motivating kids to read throughout the summer. By doing so, kids are able to better retain what they learned the previous school year and pick up where they left off in the fall.

To participate, kids can read or be read to for 15 minutes a day for 25 days and turn in their logs at the downtown or pop-up library for a book and small prize. They’ll receive another log to complete an additional 25 days of reading. Kids who read for 50 days will be entered into drawings for grand prizes – Lego sets, STEAM kits, games and more!

There’s Summer Reading for teens too! By reading 30 minutes a day and turning in their log each week, they will be entered to win a prize basket with a book, craft and a gift card to local businesses. Adults also can join in on the fun with their own logs, weekly drawings and prize baskets.

Reading logs and bookmarks can be picked up at the downtown or pop-up library locations or printed from www.rapidcitylibrary.org.

**REGISTRATION UNDERWAY FOR CITY YOUTH FLAG FOOTBALL:  As people of all ages begin thinking of the Independence Day holiday and looking skyward at fireworks, it won’t be long before thoughts turn to fireworks on the field – the football field that is.

The Youth Flag Football League is back.  Sidelined last fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the youth flag football leagues will be making a comeback. Sponsored by the Rapid City Parks and Recreation Department, the league is open to first through fourth grade participants.  Registration deadline is September 4 with the season beginning September 13 at the Omaha Street soccer fields.

            "The youth flag football leagues are one of our most popular programs,” said Matt Brandhagen of the City's Parks and Recreation Department.  "The leagues teach basic football skills and promote teamwork and sportsmanship in a fun, non-contact setting."

            Register online https://rapidcity.activityreg.com/ClientPage_t2.wcs and click registration, or register at the Swim Center, 125 Waterloo Street or the Parks and Rec Office at 515 West Boulevard. Coaches should contact Matt Brandhagen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or cell 415-0226 or work 394-5223.  Registration fee is $50 which includes a jersey.  The fee is waived for players with parent-coaches.

                The league includes divisions made up of teams of first and second grade players and teams of third and fourth grade players.  The first/second grade divisions play on Monday nights with third and fourth grade teams playing on Tuesday nights.

**CITY REMINDS HOMEOWNERS & LANDSCAPERS TO NOT PILE MATERIALS ON PUBLIC ROADS AND SIDEWALKS: City officials are reminding homeowners not to place landscaping materials in the public right of way, which includes roads and sidewalks. 

Material piles can block views of oncoming vehicles and impede traffic.  Dirt and rock can also create blockages in storm sewers.  City officials recommend materials should be placed in a homeowner’s yard or in the driveway.  Any rock or dirt that gets on neighboring properties or in the public right-of-way should be cleaned up immediately.

            Officials also advise in certain circumstances, permits may be obtained to place materials in the right-of-way.  For more information, contact the City’s Public Works Engineering Division at 394-4154.

**PUBLIC ENCOURAGED TO CHECK OUT 'PENNINGTON OUTDOORS!':  Looking for details on recreational opportunities in Rapid City and Pennington County? Residents and visitors to the area have a quick tool to access information through an interactive map that helps users explore local recreational facilities and opportunities.

            The site, Pennington Outdoors!, was launched last year by the City’s Geographic Information (GIS) Division, can be accessed at rapidmap.org and is one of many valuable map and informational tools available on the GIS Division page which includes access to City and County voting precincts, the City's air quality zone, downtown parking map, the City's major street plan and much more.

            Pennington Outdoors! site users can zoom in, zoom out or pan across a map to view different park facilities; Rapid City, Black Hills National Forest and Nebraska National Forest and Grasslands trail systems; location of statues; the Rapid City bike path; park amenities and recreational sites in Pennington County and the communities of Rapid City, Box Elder, Ellsworth Air Force Base, Wall, Hill City, Keystone, New Underwood, Wasta and Quinn. Once a desired site is visible, users can click on it using the 'identity' tool to see details, website and a photo associated with the recreation site.

            As an example, clicking on Wilson Park will yield information indicating the Park includes a flowering garden, gazebo, ice skating area, tennis courts, playground, restrooms, basketball court and other amenities.  Users can easily identify the location of the Park. Clicking on Robbinsdale Park will yield information including locations of the BMX Track, several baseball fields, location of picnic shelters, playgrounds, restrooms and walking paths.

            Users wanting to know the location of specific downtown and area statues can access the site for the actual location

            The City's GIS Division provides mapping services, data and technical support to the public as well as staffs of City and County government. the GIS Division page which includes access to City and County voting precincts, the City's air quality zone, downtown parking map, the City's major street plan. RapidMap services offers information on land parcels, aerial photos, address points and other map information.  Survey Points provides information on area survey points.

CITY VIEW TROLLEY TO OPERATE THIS SUMMER SEASON: The City View Trolley is back for a summer of tours.

            Known by its distinctive green and red turn-of-the-last-century cable car appearance, the City View Trolley sat idle last summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Operated by Rapid Transit System, the Trolley takes passengers on a narrated, hour-long, 15-stop tour of Rapid City and is popular among visitors and residents alike.  A total of 13,600 riders used the Trolley during the 2018 and 2019 summer seasons.

            “We are excited the Trolley will be back in use this summer,” said Rapid Transit System Manager Megan Gould.  “It’s a popular ride and a great way to see and visit some of our community’s most well-known attractions.”

            The Trolley season will operate from June 1 to August 31.  The Trolley runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday with the last route departing the Milo Barber Transportation Center at 333 Sixth Street at 4 p.m.

            Stops on the tour include the Journey Museum, Storybook Island, Dinosaur Park, Stavkirke Chapel in the Hills, Founders Park, Sioux Park Formal Gardens, Main Street Square, the Berlin Wall in Memorial Park, Canyon Lake Park, and the Dahl Fine Arts Center. Riders can stay on the trolley for the entire tour or get off at a particular stop to visit an attraction and board the Trolley on its return trip an hour later.

            The City View Trolley became a part of the Rapid Transit System in 2007 and operates from June 1-August 31. The route begins and ends at the transportation depot, but riders can board at any of the stops along the tour route.  Fares range from $2 for adults to $1 for children 12 and under and $1 for ‘honored citizens’: riders 60 and older, disabled citizens and Medicare card holders. Masks are required to ride on the Trolley.

            For more information, contact the Rapid Transit System at 394-6631.

RAPID CITY PUBLIC LIBRARY LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE: Rapid City Public Library has launched a new website in order to streamline and prioritize user content. Categories according to age group and specific interests are now central and easily identified with buttons. The menu bar breaks down the more popular services like booking meeting and study rooms, downloading and streaming, as well as signing up for a library card. The new site can be explored at rapidcitylibrary.org. 

**REMOTE YARD WASTE DROP-OFF LOCATIONS OPEN: The City’s Solid Waste Division reminds the public the remote yard waste locations are open for the season.

The remote yard waste drop-off sites are located at Fitzgerald Stadium and W Blvd North.  Both locations opened for the season Monday, April 5.  The locations include the yard waste containers along with the mixed recycling, cardboard, and newspaper containers.  The yard waste containers will be available at both sites through November.

Officials remind the public to utilize the containers for their intended purposes: yard waste, recycling materials, cardboard and newspaper.  The remote collection sites are not dump sites for large items such as appliances, furniture, and items that should be taken to the Rapid City Landfill.  If you have questions, contact the Solid Waste Division at 355-3496.

Solid Waste officials also remind the public to sign up for adjusted collection notices by visiting www.rapidcityrecycles.org and sign up for email reminders.  The public can also keep up with Solid Waste information on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SolidWasteRC .

**CITY'S ESTIMATED POPULATION TOPS 78,000: Rapid City continues to grow steadily in population.

            The City’s Long Range Planning Division estimates the 2020 year-end Rapid City population estimate at 78,369, up from 1.53 percent from the 2019 population estimate of 77,185.

            The Community Development Department issues an annual population estimate based on methodology approved by the US Census Bureau.  The estimates are based on approved building permits, housing demolitions, the 2010 Census occupancy rate and the 2010 Census persons per household rate for Rapid City.

            City officials expect the official 2020 Census data for Rapid City in late May.  The data will become the basis for next year’s population estimate and will be utilized by officials for the next decade in relation to priorities and funding for programs.

            The US Census Bureau indicated Rapid City’s population at 61,167 in 2000 and 67,956 in 2010.  City officials estimate the average population growth since 2000 at 1.4 percent.

**CITY REMINDS RESIDENTS OF UTILITY RATE RELIEF PROGRAM: Rapid City utility customers can apply for a reduction of their monthly utility charges through a decade-long program administered by the City's Public Works Department.

            The program, entitled the Utility Rate Relief Program, is designed to lower the monthly utility expense for senior citizens and people with disabilities. The program recently underwent an update, to make the qualification process more straightforward.

            Under the City's updated Utility Rate Relief Program, applicants must meet all of the following eligibility criteria: they must be 65 or older or disabled as defined by the Social Security Act; they must fall below the “very low income” limit criteria outlined by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the Rapid City Metro Area; the applicant must be the person who is responsible for payment of the utility bill directly to the City; the property must be the applicant’s primary residence.

If qualified, the rates charged for utility services billed to the applicant will be reduced by 25 percent for a period of two years or until the renewal date established by the Public Works Director.  New applications are accepted at any time, but renewal requests must be received by April 30, 2021 in order for current participants to remain on the program.

            For more information and an application, visit https://www.rcgov.org/departments/public-works/water-division/urr-587.html or call the City's Public Works Department at 394-4165.

**CITY SEEKS TO FILL VACANCIES ON FORESTRY, BEAUTIFICATION COMMITTEES: The City's Parks and Recreation Department seeks to fill vacancies on two of its prominent boards and committees.

            There are currently vacancies on each of the City's Urban Forestry Committee and Beautification Committee.

            For more information about the committees and to complete a Citizen Interest Application, visit the Boards, Commissions and Committees page on the Government tab at www. rcgov.org .  This application process is open until vacancies are filled.

            The five-member Urban Forestry Committee reviews and makes recommendations on city tree plans developed by the City's Community Development Department and City's Parks Department, among other duties.

            The five-member Beautification Committee develops and implements beautification projects and policies and encourages public and private beautification activities in the community.

            Appointments for the committees are approved by the Parks and Advisory Board.  For more information, contact the City's Parks and Recreation Department at 394-4175.

**PUBLIC REMINDED TO SIGN UP FOR COLLECTION ALERTS: Officials with the City's Solid Waste Division remind residents to sign up for alerts about curbside collections and adjustments in pickups due to holidays and weather.

            "We've had great response since launching our website back in January," said Jancie Knight, Solid Waste community outreach coordinator.  "The site is an excellent way to receive alerts and reminders on trash collections and other updates."

            Knight says residents can visit www.rapidcityrecycles.org to register in the 'Stay Informed' section.  Other informational items on the page include a color-coded map of the city to determine specific curbside pickup days, where to dispose of specific items, and hours and contact information.

**CITY'S HOME RULE COMMITTEE WEBSITE AVAILABLE FOR INFORMATION, OBTAIN PUBLIC FEEDBACK: The City's Home Rule Charter Committee has established a website for the public to learn more about the home rule concept, address questions and provide input.

            To access the site, visit rapidcityhomerule.org .  Specific features to the site include a brief history of home rule in South Dakota, comparisons between home rule and the City's current mayor/aldermanic form of government, frequently asked questions, a tab to ask a question or provide input, opportunities and challenges to home rule and local media stories about home rule,

            The Rapid City Council authorized the mayor to establish a Home Rule Charter Committee last December with citizens appointed to the committee in early May after a delayed selection process due to the COVID-19 pandemic.   The Committee meets twice-monthly with subcommittees working on a weekly basis.  It is anticipated the Committee will bring forth a formal recommendation to the City Council early in 2021 for discussion and possible action, which could include a public vote later in 2021.

            "Once it got started in May, the committee has been committed to learning more about home rule, how it would impact the community and citizens," said Mayor Allender.  "They are under a specific time line to bring forth a recommendation to the City Council and the new website will provide an opportunity for awareness to the community, flush out questions and obtain important feedback from the citizens, who would be making the ultimate decision if Rapid City becomes a home rule community."

            The site will be available for public access throughout the committee's work into at least early next year. 

**PUBLIC REMINDED TO SUBMIT ONLINE COMMENTS FOR CITY MEETINGS: City officials remind the public to utilize a convenient online option to submit comments for City Council and committee meetings.

            In early April, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and in adherence to social distancing protocols, the City initiated an online process for the public to submit comments.  A link to the public comment form is added to the respective Council and Committee agenda pages, to the COVID-19 updates link on the City's website.

            The public is advised to submit comments by the following deadlines:

*City Council: Noon the day of the meeting

*Legal/Finance & Public Works Working Sesson: 8 a.m. the day of the meeting

*Planning Commission/Zoning Board of Adjustment: 3:30 p.m. the day before the meting

            Late submittals and anonymous submissions will not be added to the agenda.  There is a 950-character limit to the online public comment form.

            "COVID-19 is a challenge but it cannot silence the public.  We have been encouraged by the public's use of the online comment form for citizens to use and share their comments, input and feedback," said Darrell Shoemaker, City Communications Coordinator.  "We are able to compile the comments and make them available to the mayor and council members as part of the public comment portion of the meeting.

            "We are not prohibiting the public from attending the meetings but with COVID concerns and the need for social distancing, the seating in Chambers is severely limited. Even though members of the public may not be able to attend the Council or committee meeting, their voice can still be heard."

            Online comments provided by the submission deadline for the respective meeting will be included as part of the official meeting record.  Due to the COVID-19 social distancing protocols, seating is extremely limited in Council Chambers.  Members of the public attending the sessions in person can still submit a paper comment form prior to the start of the session.

**GOT A POTHOLE? CALL THE POTHOLE HOTLINE: The City Street Department's pothole patching crews are at it as the calendar flips toward summer.  If you see a pothole that needs to be fixed, call the Pothole Hotline at 394-4152 and provide a location and crews will be on it quickly.

**CITY OF RAPID CITY AND COVID-19 UPDATES: The City of Rapid City is providing frequent COVID-19 Updates on its website at rcgov.org .  Click on COVID-19 Updates in the red menu bar on the home page.  The page includes updates, a City COVID Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) link, a link to an online public comment form for City meetings, releases and other helpful information.

**CONSTRUCTION MAP FEATURE ALLOWS DRIVERS TO STAY UPDATED ON PROJECTS: To stay updated on local construction projects, City officials remind the public they can utilize a newly-launched road construction site feature on the City's website which provides detailed site, map and project information.

            The City's Geographic Information System (GIS) Division launched the 'Rapid City Road Construction Site' link on the GIS page last month, accessed by visiting rapidmap.org and clicking on the orange construction barrel. It is also available by clicking on 'Road Construction Updates' on the City's home page at rcgov.org .  Once on the site, users can click on a highlighted segment and get additional information such as the project's location, the start date and estimated end date of the project, listing of the contractor and other useful information.  Each segment on the map will also have the public service announcement attached to it and there will be a link provided for State Department of Transportation projects.

            The site will be updated as active projects begin and sites will remain on the map through the duration of the specific projects.

            With local construction season well underway, City officials are also reminding drivers to slow down and use caution when driving near and through all road construction areas, allow additional time to reach their destinations and to consider alternate routes.

**AlertRC & AlertPC TEXT MESSAGE SYSTEM: The City of Rapid City, Pennington County, Rapid City Police Department, Pennington County Sheriff's Office, Rapid City Fire Department, Pennington County Fire Service, and Pennington County Emergency Management have partnered with the 211 Helpline Center to provide information to the public of important information via text messaging.  Subscribers will receive official notifications regarding incidents that have public impact such as:

--No travel advisories

--Extensive road closure as a result of infrastructure failure such as a water line or gas line break

--Structure fire that creates traffic hazards

--Wild Fire with evacuations and/or closures

--Major accidents with road closures

To subscribe texting 'AlertRC' to 85511 for Rapid City events and 'AlertPC'  to 85511 for Pennington County events.  Text “STOP’ to cancel subscription at any time. There is no cost to sign up for this service, however standard messaging and data rates apply.

**DIGITAL MEDIA POLICY: The City is advising the public of a requirement for digital media material for presentations at City Council and City Committee meetings.  Effective May 1, 2017, digital media submissions must be provided at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting where the material will be presented. In addition, no digital media containing music will be accepted.

 "This new guideline will allow for more efficient presentation of the item, ensuring there are no compatibility or virus issues with the item and the City's display system, as well as providing sufficient time for City staff to contact individuals for any changes that may be needed to the item prior to the meeting," said Darrell Shoemaker, City Communications Coordinator.  "Too often, items are brought in a few moments before the start of a meeting, even after the meeting has started, and there is not sufficient time to ensure compatibility with our system, make sure there are no viruses, problems or issues with the item and for effective presentation of the item."

Digital media items can be submitted to the appropriate department division at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.  For Monday's Council meetings, the item should be provided no later than Friday at 5 p.m.    The City reserves the right to reject any items for presentation due to digital compatibility issues or content appropriateness.

**CITY HALL KIOSK WELCOMES VISITORS:  A kiosk in the lobby of the City/School Administration Center welcomes visitors.  There are four blocks of information, including a block for daily meetings and locations; a block explaining the location of meetings rooms in the building; a 'what am I looking for' block that provides a brief explanation of specific offices and their missions; and a date/time/temperature block.

 

 

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