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Argument ensues over Rapid City road construction between Public Works Committee members

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 7:54 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - This afternoon’s Rapid City Public Works Committee meeting had 12 items on the agenda.

One of the items allowed staff to advertise for construction to be done on 5th Street.

The estimated cost is nearly a half million dollars, and the discussion led to some disputes between council members.

”No, we’re not going to sit here and argue,” says John B. Roberts, Rapid City, City Council Ward 4.

“I’m not going to argue about it... I’m just going say,” says Bill Evans, Rapid City, City Council Ward 2 before being cut off.

There was a bit of disagreement in the public works committee today.

Roberts pounded the gavel and says, “That’s the first time I’ve ever done that in 10 years.”

The debate was over nearly half a million dollars being spent on 5th Street Panel repair.

Evans believes there should be more room in the budget for residential projects.

“I consider those streets to be hazardous,” says Evans, “I think they’re that bad. So, I think we should have a process where we do prioritize things based upon how really tremendously horrible they are. If you haven’t driven down them recently, it’s a good thing to do. You should drive down them every night for the next week and see how those people must feel about city government when they go home everyday.”

The roads in discussion are over by Grandview Elementary.

Up and down the roads in the area there are chips, potholes, crevasses, cracks and the whole shebang.

“How you’re neglecting a certain neighborhood and this isn’t even my ward,” says Evans.

Evans would like to see some of the money being dedicated to 5th street be allocated to these residential roads as an emergency repair.

Roberts says there’s a reason behind the process and when council people start changing things it causes problems. He says the more frequented roads are a necessity.

Roberts explains that roads like 5th Street might not have as much damage, but they’re more often frequented and see far heavier amounts of traffic.

“When we end up having a failure or problem it costs you millions if not tens of millions of dollars to fix these things. We’ve got an extremely limited budget. We’ve got to make sure what we have,” says Roberts, “we use the best that we can.”

He says that council should leave it in the domain of the staff that are intended to manage these things.

“Once we get into the position of us pushing through this stuff, who are not qualified to do that, we’re going to have chaos,” says Roberts.

As for the vote for staff to advertise the 5th street panel repair?

Evans was the only one who voted against.

After the meeting, the pair had a few extra words.

“Well, the true John Roberts shows up today. I’ve been waiting to meet him,” says Evans.

“Well, we know what you’re like all the time. You’re an a******,” Roberts responds, “I like you a lot. Don’t be a p**** and ruin it.”

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