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Budget discussed at commissioner's meeting

Money issues continue to plague the Haakon County Commission as they were $3,000 short in the general fund just to pay August's bills.

Haakon County Auditor Patricia Freeman informed the board that bills for July were over $64,000 and there was just over $61,000 in the general fund to pay them. The board knew late last year that some months in 2011 could have this scenario. To meet the amount, the board instructed Freeman to use monies from another fund for this month and replace the money when able. "We can't skim along month to month," said Chairman Gary Snook. We don't know if we can make payments, he said.

Highway Superintendent Kenny Neville presented the board with plans from Brosz Engineering, Pierre, for the Hardingrove Road slide area. He said their plans included doing a five to six foot cut on the road, instead of 10 feet as first figured.

Neville had just received the plans Tuesday morning and had not had time to thoroughly review them before the commissioner's meeting. He said that he would discuss the plans in more detail with Brosz Engineering. The board approved for the engineering firm to let the project for bids.

The board with use the $206,000 monies recently received from the state of South Dakota. Neville said even with this repair, there is no guarantee that the road will not have issues in the future.

In budget discussions, Snook said he had met with insurance provider Glenn Parsons as to ways that the cost of insurance could be reduced. Snook said the deductible could be raised and that they could offer insurance for the employee only. If the employee wished to add his/her family to the policy, they would be responsible for that amount. He said by using those two items the insurance would be reduced by $47,000 a year.

Snook said he had spoken with commissioners from five surrounding counties and they all had a higher deductible than Haakon County. Snook said if the board was even thinking about a part time employee for the register of deeds and director of equalization offices, the money would have to come from somewhere.

Kevin Pfeifle, director of equalization, and Traci Radway, register of deeds, both approached the board for a request for part time office help. Currently, former employees from those offices fill in as needed, but occasionally the offices have to be closed when Pfeifle or Radway are out of town.

Freeman was directed to adjust the provisional budget with the new insurance figures. The board will review the budget at their September 6 meeting. They have until October to approve the budget.

Extension Livestock Educator Adele Harty and Extension assistant Sheryl Hansen met with the board in regards to Hansen's position. With the reorganization of Extension, Hansen's position has been adjust to part time. She and the board outlined those hours. Hansen will be working strictly with 4-H issues, beginning in late October as the livestock educator position will no longer exist in Haakon County.

Warrants for July were approved by the board. Minutes from the regular meeting, July 5, were approved with an addition in regards to the Lone Tree Road situation. They also approved a supplement of $10,000 to the support of the poor. At a previous meeting they had approved a $20,000 supplement. Freeman did not follow through on the larger supplement because it was discovered that the individual was eligible for Medicaid, so the county did not pay the approximate $10,000 bill.

The board approved a new ordinance submitted by State's Attorney Gay Tollefson. The ordinance is in regards to special licenses for up to three days for alcoholic beverages. The board decided to not charge for the licenses. The board has approved these types of licenses over the years, but did not have an ordinance for them.

Sheriff Mel Smith told the board the new Durango was in service. He also said that after visiting with Tollefson, it was proper for the board to sell the Blazer outright after not receiving a bid.

The board met in executive session for 32 minutes to discuss personnel issues. No action was taken.

The commission will meet in regular session Tuesday, September 6, at 1:00 p.m.