Hand County Commissioners held their regular meeting April 2.
The Commissioners voted to deny a medical bill (Care of the Poor) for treatment at Avera St. Luke’s, because pre-approval had not been received.
They did approve an agreement with the South Dakota Division of Wildland Fire Suppression, naming individuals authorized to request fire suppression assistance from the State if necessary. Miller fire chief Steve Resel and County Commissioner Jim Iverson were given that authorization.
They also approved an agreement with the Miller School District, permitting use of the courthouse in case of an emergency evacuation of the school district.
Hospital administrator Bryan Breitling presented a partial payment request for the hospital project. Total amount requested was $49,545.41, and will be paid from USDA funds.
Breitling said the final phase of the project is underway, and should be completed by June 1. Presently the front entrance is inaccessible. Golf carts are being used to provide “valet service” for persons who have to park further away than usual.
Highway superintendent Jeff Hargens discussed a bridge or culvert replacement in Wheaton Township. Hargens said FEMA would cover most of a bridge replacement, with the County responsible for about $52,000. “It’s a good price,” he told the Commissioners. However, they determined the road did not receive a great deal of traffic, installing a culvert would be much less costly, and would no doubt serve the purpose.
Bids were approved for materials for the upcoming road-work season for equipment rentals, pea rock, hot mix, gas, diesel and road oil, concrete culverts, and crushing.
Katie Eschenbaum, board member of the Miller C & C, asked permission to hold a public display of fireworks July 6. The City of Miller had already given approval, and the Commissioners did the same. The fireworks will be ignited in the pasture ground between the MHS football complete and the St. Ann Cemetery.
Emergency manager Nehemia Volquardsen requested permission to declare the old Civil Defense generator surplus, and giving it to the Town of St. Lawrence. Volquardsen said he had applied for a generator for the town, but reallocation funds weren’t available. By donating the generator to St. Lawrence, the town would have a means of supporting the community and allowing the town to continue to function in case of an incident/emergency. The Commissioners approved his request.
Volquardsen has been certified to be an instructor for the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program, and expressed interest in rejuvenating the program in the Hand County area.
Volquardsen reported Emergency Management was on the scene of a March 17 house fire. There was one injury to a firefighter. Any time there is a structure fire, it is reported to the State Office of Emergency Management.
He also discussed a “scheduled” power outage March 19 in southeast Hand County, but neither emergency management nor the sheriff’s office had been informed, and they were unable to communicate on the local radio system with the 911 dispatch center. Volquardsen stated that it is a concern for responders and law enforcement if they are not informed of a scheduled power outage, and cannot made preparations.
Sheriff Doug DeBoer received permission to offer a part-time position as office manager to Brian Duxbury, not to exceed 19 hours per week, and to Colleen Peterman as an unscheduled part-time employee as evening clerk, not to exceed 19 hours per week.
Commissioners ratified employment of Joseph Anderson, Sioux Falls, as a deputy sheriff. He began April 1. They approved a 50-cent-per-hour step increase for Nehemia Volquardsen, who has reached his first-year anniversary with Hand County.
DeBoer was also given permission to use the courthouse for building search and hostage training; to purchase a traffic RADAR unit, with the County responsible for 20 percent of the cost, up to $500; and to purchase signing materials to support sobriety checkpoints, up to $325.
Year to date, the sheriff’s office has responded to 140 cases; served 47 processes; received 93 pistol permit applications; investigated 13 no-injury and two injury accidents; issued four traffic tickets and 23 warning tickets; executed 67 judgments and five distress warrants for taxes. At this point, six adults have served 94 prisoner days.
County treasurer Sheri Koeck asked the Commissioners to request the Director of Equalization to apply the property tax assessment freeze to persons who qualify for that freeze.
The next regular meeting will be Tuesday, May 7 at 9:30 a.m. at the Hand County Courthouse.