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Brunskill takes over as new commissioners; Foley is new deputy sheriff

Neal “Obie” Brunskill took over the vacant Haakon County Commissioner seat at their March 1 meeting. Brunskill filled the seat vacated by Darrel Terkildsen earlier this year.

Haakon County Highway Superintendent Kenny Neville gave the board a copy of a contract drawn up by the City of Philip. The contract dealt with a water users agreement between the two entities.

The county highway shop is heated by water from the city’s well. The city has an easement agreement with the county in which part of the easement agreement stated that the county could use water free of charge.

The commissioners called in Philip City Finance Officer Monna Van Lint to discuss the contract. She explained that this was just to formalize a verbal agreement the city had with the water users in that area. Other water users include the golf course, the fish hatchery and Gene Michael.

She added the contract stated how much water each entity could appropriate for their use. Van Lint said there have been some problems in the past with one or more of the users not getting the needed amount of water. The county and Van Lint signed the agreement.

Neville asked the board to approve the removal of a bridge from the inspection list. The bridge has been removed and replaced with two culverts. The board did as requested. The commissioners also gave approval for Neville to relet the bid for 60,000 ton of gravel.

Esther Oldenberg, Haakon County’s Emergency Manager, met with the board. She updated them on her work status. She requested the commissioners pay for an upgraded Internet service. This would allow her to receive forms and information faster. The board agreed to the purchase.

Lynn Buchholz, Haakon County Health Nurse, informed the commissioners that her clerk, Vera Kraemer, would be leaving in a couple of months. She asked the board for permission to place an ad for the position now. This would allow for the new person to be trained by Kraemer.

Buchholz told the board that the position requires a lot more knowledge because of all the issues they have to deal with. Buchholz noted Kraemer had developed her own manual to use for the different programs. That manual is now being distributed by the state to other offices.

The commissioners approved for Buchholz to begin the hiring process and to pay for two salaries for a short period of time.

Haakon County Conservation District representative Pat Guptill met with the board per their request. The board had questions concerning the funds the Haakon County Soil Conservation office requested from the county.

Guptill outlined what the two groups did with their budget. He noted most of the funds were used for tree plantings as well as community service. The tree plantings are used as living snow fences. They not only slow the snow, but also soil from fields.

They also discussed what the SCS charges for tree plantings, fabric and other services. The commissioners agreed to the group’s request for $7,200. The money, since it was not budgeted for, will be taken out of the contingency fund. In past years, the county has budgeted the funds. But this year the group did not put in a request for the funds, so the county let it drop.

Sheriff Larry Hanes introduced the new deputy, Mark Foley, to the commissioners. March 1 was Foley’s first day on the job.

The commissioners approved a request by Patty Rhodes, Haakon County Treasurer. Rhodes said she would like to purchase computers and software for her office. The computers will allow the treasurer’s office and the auditor’s office to network together for more efficiency. The items would total between $14,000 and $15,000.

Two FFA members, Chad Hanrahan and Randi Holman, approached the commissioners. They asked if the county could lend the use of county highway employees and equipment in redoing the beach area at Lake Waggoner. The group is also drawing up plans for a campground and looking into grants for the project. The commissioners approved the request with their own request that the class give Neville a few days notice so he can line up his crew.

In other business, the commissioners:

•approved meeting minutes with corrections from February;

•approved payment of claims;

•discussed library information;

•approved to an automatic supplement to the budget for grant purposes;

•approved for Brunskill and Rita O’Connell to attend a commissioners conference in Pierre in late March;

•approved the purchase of a work station and new printer for the auditor’s office;

•approved for county offices to be closed Good Friday, March 25, for vacation time; and

•entered into executive session at 12:09 p.m. until 12:45 p.m. to discuss personnel issues. Afterwards, they approved the sheriff deputy’s salary.