Commissioners get reports from County projects, departments

Posted March 12, 2013 at 5:00 pm

Hand County Commissioners held their monthly meeting March 5.

The Register of Deeds statement of fees collected during January totaled $8,862. Commissioners approved purchase of a new computer for the auditor’s office, and approved a request from Wilbur-Ellis to land aircraft on County roads, following requirements to do so.

The Commissioners accepted the resignation of Sheila Coss, Register of Deeds, with March 14 being her final day in that position.

They approved County offices being closed the afternoon of March 29, Good Friday. However, the Hand County Library will be open Friday, and will be closed the day before Easter, on March 30.

Also approved was a resolution recognizing the Family Crisis Center, Redfield, as an official entity for family crisis assistance.

A request from Avera St. Luke’s for payment of medical care was denied, because the patient was voluntarily admitted.

Hospital administrator Bryan Breitling presented the partial payment estimate for February for the hospital construction project. The amount, including construction management fees, totaled $22,082.65, which will be paid through USDA funds.

Breitling reported that, to date, the amount spent on the project is just under $3 million, with $300,000 in USDA funds remaining.

Phase 3 of the project is being completed, and Phase 4 will begin. The front entrance to the hospital/clinic will be closed for about two months, and persons will enter through a side door by the assisted living building during that period.

Breitling said the entire project should be completed by the end of May. “We’re seeing the end in sight,” he commented. Tours for the community will be given July 5, during the Fourth Celebration.

Terry Augspurger, County Assessor, reported on land valuations. He said last year the S.D. Legislature passed legislation increasing the percentage of increase or decrease in valuation allowed per year. Reassessments were also done on property in towns. Township boards of equalization will meet March 18.

Augspurger reminded Commissioners of an upcoming community meeting March 10 dealing with housing shortages, and urged their attendance.

Sheri Koeck, County Treasurer, announced she will begin accepting credit and debit cards for payment. However, she said fees would be charged for the service, because a government entity cannot absorb fees associated with debit and credit cards.

Randy Peck, Weed and Pest Office, was given permission to advertise for chemicals, seasonal labor, and to publish an Intent to Inspect notice. He also was given the green light to purchase a new Ranger and a sprayer, which was included in his budget.

Highway Superintendent Jeff Hargens presented a list of materials for bidletting, and was given permission to advertise. A road striping agreement with the State was approved, and will be submitted.

Hargens said all hard-surface oiled County roads have been posted for load limits. The Commissioners approved a bridge re-inspection resolution. Hargens explained that all bridges in the County must be inspected every other year, so half are inspected one year, and the other half the following year.

Sheriff Doug DeBoer gave his monthly report. He reported Deputy Kent Heronimus has resigned and is now employed at Rapid City Regional Hospital. DeBoer has advertised for a replacement in that position, and asked permission to offer employment to a correctional officer in another state, to be paid through the COPS grant program.

DeBoer suggested that Emergency Manager Nehemia Volquardsen be re-designated as an hourly employee, rather than a salaried employee. That way, should Volquardsen be required to work overtime hours, he would be compensated for hours works. The suggestion was approved.

Also discussed was the effect of sequestration on the sheriff’s office and emergency management. DeBoer said it appears there will be greater impact on the Emergency Management State and Local Agreement funding package than other areas, because it is funded yearly. He said the COPS program appears safe at the moment, because it was funded prior to the sequestration.

DeBoer discussed a “performance report” from the Northeast Council of Governments (NECOG), which showed Hand County does not use the programming available enough.

“The simple truth of the matter is that we as a county can capture more programming funds than we are currently, but we need to be more proactive in our methodology.”

The sheriff’s activity report for 2013 to date showed 105 responses; 27 processes served; 27 pistol permit applications; 11 non-injury accidents; four traffic tickets and eight warnings; 73 judgments (writs of execution); and seven distress warrants for taxes.

The 73 judgments and the seven distress warrants each total more for just January and February, than the total amount per year, 2004 though 2012.

Adult prisoners for the first two months of 2013 totaled six, with 75 prisoner days.

Emergency Manager Volquardsen reported he has contacted townships throughout the county, urging them to develop a plan to repair roads, and have that request on record. The goal of the plan is to provide the “ticket to improve our problems after a disaster as opposed to returning them (roads, bridges, etc.) to their previous state.”

He said the goal is to have townships outline problematic roads that could then be improved the next time that a disaster declaration is made.

The next regular Commission meeting will be April 2 at 9:30 a.m.