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Belle Fourche without city engineer for 2 years

May 17, 2018 GMT

BELLE FOURCHE — May marks the second full year the city of Belle Fourche has gone without a city engineer on staff and although the position has been advertised for the duration of that time, the city hopes casting a wider advertising net will improve the changes of acquiring more qualified candidates.

“For a while we were getting quite a few,” Landphere said. “And then for a period of time, it (the inflow of applicants) kind of fell off.”

The city has received between eight-10 applications to fill the position left vacant when former engineer Ryan Kavan resigned in May 2016.

Steve Nafus, the city’s interim engineer, said the city has contracted Brosz Engineering to perform the engineering tasks at the city’s landfill until an engineer can be hired.

“There’s some really qualified people out there (who have applied) but they haven’t worked with municipal government type of engineering,” he said.

In addition to the city’s website and Facebook page, the position has been advertised with South Dakota colleges and universities, the South Dakota Municipal League, and the American Public Works Association’s national magazine, in addition to 137 colleges in surrounding states.

Picking up the slack, Nafus said, has been challenging for the city’s engineering department.

“It’s overwhelming at times, especially when you’ve got a $4 million project going on,” Nafus said referring to the $4.132 million Eighth Avenue sewer interceptor project, one of the largest projects undertaken by the city. “It’s frustrating when you can’t get to the little things in the engineering (office) that you’d like to get done and are used to getting done. You’ve got to look at the bigger picture and some of the little stuff has to sit on the side burner.”

Throughout the process, Landphere said, Nafus has done an exceptional job helping in the interim.

“And we have all worked together as a team with this, through public works, through council people, through the engineering department,” she said. “We’re just trying to remain positive that we will receive the applications and we can start processing things.”

Landphere remains positive.

“I’m very anxious to see, now that we’ve broadened the search, to see the response we get,” Landphere said.

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