Mayor of Dupree hears questions about pending grocery store, works on grant funding
Our Leaders 2013 Q&A
by Tasiyagnunpa Livermont
This is the second part to “Our Leaders 2013 Q&A,” which gives elected officials the chance to share in an open question format what their hopes are for their constituencies.
This week, we visit with City of Dupree Mayor Ray Lenk. Not one to waste words, Lenk had a frank visit with the West River Eagle and answered all ten of our questions in short order.
WRE: What City of Dupree project or plan are you most excited about for 2013?
Lenk We have our grant in place for completing the last eight blocks of old water main. Bid letting is forthcoming. Phase 2: In this grant is for construction of a new water tower. This phase is on hold pending Tri County Water improvements. We also have in place a grant application for updating the city sewer lift station and lagoons.
WRE: How do you feel the year 2012 went?
The year 2012 was a trying year because all key personnel were new: Mayor, finance officer and maintenance. We came a long ways in updating city records and procedures. City maintenance did an exceptional job maintaining the city and updating procedures for water, sewer and garbage.
WRE: What are the best ways for people to give your office feedback in 2013?
Lenk: The best way to give us feedback is for the public to attend city council meetings. City council meetings are open to the public. This is your city, your ideas, suggestions and input are important to us.
WRE: What issues have you heard about the most from people that need to be addressed in 2013?
Lenk: High water rates, utilities, street improvement and mostly, ‘Where is the new grocery store that was promised us two years ago?’
WRE: When do you think some of the most visible projects of 2013 will be happening? The least visible?
Lenk: Water line replacement this spring or summer. Hopefully we will be able to do some needed work on the lagoons. A lot will depend on available grant money.
WRE: How much behind-the-scenes work do you think the public doesn’t know about and should?
Lenk: A lot. Most of the public does not realize that over 50% of property within the corporate limits of the city is non-taxable. The total amount of property tax funds the city receives is $38,000.00. This does not even pay head maintenance salary. All other funding must come from utilities, our only other source of income.
WRE: If you had one wish for the City of Dupree in 2013, what would it be?
Lenk: We are located on the CRST Indian Reservation. This is our city. My wish is that the city and tribe can work together as a team to make our city a place to be proud of and raise a family.
WRE: What do you enjoy most about living in Dupree?
Lenk: The thing I enjoy most about living in Dupree is small town living and friendly people.
WRE: Where do you think the City of Dupree needs the most improvement?
Lenk: The city needs a lot of street improvement and drainage. We need street signs and house numbers to comply with 911 regulations. We do have a grant in place to help pay for the signs. General clean-up, removal of unlivable mobile homes, houses and cars.
WRE: What do you think the public doesn’t know that you want them to know?
I don’t feel the general public is fully aware of the hours and paper work it takes to prepare a grant application and follow through to its funding. Does the public realize when utility bills are not paid on time, the cost and time spent by city staff on granting extensions, taking partial payments and sending delinquent notices and water disconnects and reconnects?