Hand County Commissioners met Tuesday, May 7 for their regular meeting.
Hospital administrator Bryan Breitling was present with Partial Payment Request #29 for the hospital construction. Total for the month of April was $30,400.05 for work and materials; $2,368.00 for construction management fees; and $10,000.00 for architecture fees, for a total of $41,768.05, to be paid with USDA funds.
Breitling said a balance of $433,383.49 remains from the $3.5 million USDA loan.
He showed the commissioners a plaque that will be installed at the project’s completion, which includes the list of commissioners when the project was approved in 2010.
Breitling said once the new parking lot is ready, much more parking will be available, and the canopy at the entrance will be expanded so vehicles can drive under the canopy.
A wine-food tasting hospital fundraiser held May 4 was successful, Breitling said, and 152 persons attended. A public tour of the completed project has been scheduled for July 5.
Commissioners approved bids received for chemicals for the County Weed Department from North Central Farmers Elevator. They also approved purchase of four pickup tires. Seasonal help approved were Mike Simons, Bowdry Morris and Laura Kittelson-Caviness, full time; and Mike Caviness, part time.
County Highway Superintendent Jeff Hargens received approval for a used truck and trailer, through a Minnesota State bid. He said the highway department will be receiving a new grader, and asked permission to advertise an old grader for sale through the “Machinery Trader” publication.
Hargens said Jerauld County no longer plans to haul gravel from the Woodruff Gravel Pit, and he said Hand County would be able to utilize the gravel there. He estimated there is about 8,300 ton of gravel in the pile, at $350.00 per ton.
A representative of NESDCAP (now Grow South Dakota) met with the commissioners to discuss the free services available for Hand County residents and businesses, among them helping with business and housing loans, the home rehab program, the weatherization program, tax assistance, emergency assistance, the Small Business Development Center, and other related areas. In 2012, Hand County received assistance totaling $192,337.00.
On Hand Development Corporation executive director, LaDonna Wharton, is now a member on the NESDCAP board.
Sheriff Doug DeBoer discussed wages for the office manager/dispatcher position, currently unfilled. In looking over wages paid to former employees in that position, DeBoer commented, “We’re not making progress,” and suggested the commissioners consider raising the entry-level pay from $8.85 to $9.75 per hour. He asked them to give “serious thought” to pay scales because of the difficulty in attracting serious, capable applicants.
DeBoer asked the commissioners to authorize the commission chair to make application for a 2013-2014 Highway Safety Grant. Funds are used to support programs to reduce highway deaths and injuries. DeBoer said the grant would cover about 400 hours of highway safety coverage by an hourly employee.
In 2012, Hand County had 111 vehicle crashes, which resulted in one fatality, 20 injuries, and property damage.
He said in Hand County, speed in usually the most likely factor in a traffic crash, and most speeding takes place on hard-surface roads. DeBoer said the department’s overall goal in participating in the Highway Safety Program is to reduce the likelihood of any type of crash and reduce the occurrence of impaired driving.
Year to date, the Sheriff’s Office has had 202 responses (case reports), 59 processes served, 108 pistol permit applications, 20 no-injury accidents, three injury accidents and one fatality. In addition, 39 traffic tickets were issued, and 66 warning tickets. Through April, eight adult prisoners served a total of 106 days.
Emergency manager Nehemia Volquardsen listed responses to fires in northeast Hand County, and concerns regarding the 911 dispatch center and accuracy of information being provided to responders.
He received commissioner approval to work with the Northeast Council of Governments (NECOG) to help in the planning process for a pre-disaster mitigation grant.
Mike Beaner brought a plat for land located south of the Mormon Church, called Northview Addition, to be developed for residences, which was approved.
Following an executive session, the commissioners approved hiring DeAnn Hargens to fill the Hand County Register of Deeds position.
On May 10, the commissioners held a special meeting and again approved Hargens, and set her salary at $31,465 per year. Her first day will be May 23.
Suzy Wernsmann tendered her resignation as interim register of deeds, effective May 22. She requested two commissioners, Auditor Sandra Selting and Treasurer Sheri Koeck to check balances before the end of the day May 22.
Wernsmann said she will also be resigning as deputy register of deeds in June.
The next regular meeting will be Tuesday, June 4 at 9:30 a.m. in the Hand County Courthouse.