Commissioners approve courthouse as a Red Cross emergency shelter

Posted October 8, 2013 at 6:16 pm

Hand County Commissioners met October 1 for their monthly meeting.

The commission voted to approve increasing the Hospital Capital Outlay Budget from USDA funds by $34,061.43, which is the amount spent over what was budgeted. A budget hearing to supplement that amount will be held at the November commission meeting.

They also voted to supplement the E-911 budget from the surcharge fee by approximately $19,000. Nothing had been transferred to that budget last year, as well as this year.

Commissioners approved an agreement with the Red Cross to permit use of the Hand County Courthouse as a temporary emergency shelter.

The agreement approves use of the courthouse “as a public shelter during a declared or undeclared natural disaster or other condition or event requiring the activation of the disaster relief functions of the American National Red Cross.”

The commission also accepted a letter of resignation from Ray Caffee, Hand County Library director, who is retiring, effective November 30. In his letter, Caffee stated, “Thank you for allowing me to serve the library, and for giving me support through the years to do the best job I could for the library and its patrons.”

Also approved was a request from the Library Board to purchase a Scanpro 800 Microfilm Reader with motorized carrier and computer for $8,495.00, which is covered in the library budget. The reader will allow for clearer images and printing, and saving of desired documents. It will also greatly enhance research capabilities for library patrons.

Plats were approved for the South Dakota Wheat Growers’ Miller location, for 20 acres just west of Miller, to build an agronomy center, and a plat request from Leo and Betty Naber.

Commissioners went into executive session to discuss a legal matter with State Attorney Elton Anson.

Following the session, permission was given to Anson to advertise and hire help for his office.

Register of Deeds DeAnn Hargens reported that a new computer is not compatible with the office’s present scanner and printer, at a cost of $7,810, which is more than the amount budgeted. Commissioners approved advertising for a budget hearing regarding the amount needed to cover the cost.

Sheriff Doug DeBoer reported that a grant was not approved for a transfer switch for the courthouse generator. The switch costs $5,200, and the charge to wire the automatic switch would be $7,700. DeBoer said he has enough funds in the jail budget, and he was given approval to move ahead on the project.

Emergency manager Nehemia Volquardsen. He submitted the fourth-quarter activity report for emergency management to be signed, noting the required portions of the 2013 State and Local Agreement had been successfully completed.

He also presented the 2014 State and Local Agreement. This agreement allows the County to receive reimbursement for emergency management activities in the county. One change requirement for the coming year is that, when doing a full-scale exercise, that an emergency operations center (EOC) be activated.

Volquardsen noted that his and the sheriff’s office plan to develop Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), so those volunteers would be able to assist first responders in case of an emergency.

An incident command trailer was purchased by the sheriff’s office from the S.D. Office of Emergency Management for $788.00. The trailer came pre-wired to accept radio equipment and had only been used three times by the State since its initial purchase.

Volquardsen reported on the County’s full-scale exercise, which was at the courthouse on September 26. Three “active shooters” were in the courtroom, and proceeded to shoot at people throughout the building. He said the exercise went well, but it became evident that courthouse, its staff and patrons, are not prepared for disasters or incidents. “We will come up with a plan for the entire courthouse which I will present to the commissioners,” he said.

Randy Peck, weed department, told commissioners that it is difficult to attract and/or keep seasonal workers at the pay rate in place, and suggested higher starting pay, and an increase for workers who come back the next year.

The commissioners determined seasonal workers and the type of job they have should perhaps be considered in a different category. Peck’s budget for 2014 is set. It was suggested Peck bring his suggestions to the County Weed Board and then the County Commission next year, before budgets for 2015 are approved.

Jeff Hargens, County Highway Department, informed commissioners that Jim Testerman plans to retire, effective November 30. Hargens requested approval to hire another general position, but not as a replacement for Testerman. He reported iron from bridges that have been repaired has been removed, and will be taken to Huron to be sold.

The next regular commission meeting is scheduled for November 5 at 9:30 a.m.