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City of Philip, South Dakota, Capital For A Day

"This is an opportunity for people, who would not normally go to Pierre, to discuss issues," said Philip Finance Officer Monna Van Lint. "How often can you simply walk in, especially in your own home town, to talk one-on-one with the governor of South Dakota?"

Kent Olson, co-chairman with Corky Thorson of the Philip Chamber of Commerce, said, "The governor isn't going to come here for Capital For A Day for more than maybe once in our lifetime, so we should make the best use of it."

That opportunity will exist on Thursday, August 28. Governor Mike Rounds, First Lady Jean Rounds, cabinet members, state elected officials and their staff will first tour Philip. They will then hold open house discussions on resident-chosen subjects.

Different cabinets and departments will each have two or three representatives available. If one person is already discussing a topic, others can be approached. And, representatives can be talked to more privately if the citizen prefers. Approximately 20 offices normally attend Capital For A Day events. Though some of these open discussions will be at different locations throughout Philip, most will be at the Philip High School.

There will be a school assembly on August 28, before the Expo. The public is invited. From 3:30 to 4:00 p.m., Governor Rounds will hold an open discussion with invited students, most likely the upper classmen.

Property and Special Taxes Division Director Michael Kenyon will discuss the ag productivity method for valuing land for property tax purposes. Members of the Department of Public Safety will be at the Philip Ambulance building. As with all round table discussions, the public is invited and asked to bring their questions.

The Haakon School Board of Education plans on clarifying school funding matters with the Department of Education. The City of Philip will try to determine if the project for a sidewalk up Larimer Avenue is still in the works according to the Department of Transportation.

Van Lint suggests that citizens discover what the departments can offer that citizens may not yet know about. Most citizens do not realize the long list of services and responsibilities under the heading of each government department.

"Capital For A Day brings government to the people," said Gov. Rounds. "Those who are unable to travel to Pierre on a regular basis have an opportunity to discuss their issues with the different agencies. It also gives state employees a chance to learn more about activities in the region."

Van Lint works first hand with the activities in the region that have benefited from different departments of state government. "Philip has never asked for 100 percent funding from the government. The city proposes a project that it will eventually do on its own; we have asked if somehow it can be made easier or completed faster with government loans or grants." The Pine Street Phase I and II project cost the City of Philip $568,700, with the Department of Transportation funding $193,600. The State Emergency Management has helped with Lake Waggoner spillway repairs and the Philip Volunteer Fire Department fuel assistance. The Game, Fish and Parks Department has helped with the Haakon County Young Women's Kiddie Park. The Department of Health has helped with the Mosquito control equipment and chemicals used by the city. The list goes on.

"The $7,200 that the mayor and city council have allocated to host Capital For A Day is a small investment in the way of saying 'thank you' for the grants and loans we have used," said Mayor John Hart. VanLint added, "Just because we budgeted that amount doesn't mean we will use all of it." The City of Philip will not gain monetarily from this event. All proceeds from the catered public dinner will be divided among the non-profit organizations that helped with Capital For A Day. The roast beef meal will be from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and will be catered by Dorothy Hansen. Everyone except the state visitors will need advance $5 tickets to attend.

Officially, the city council members and their spouses will be the hosts, though the council encourages all the citizens, organizations and businesses in the Philip area to be part of the public relations and information exchange.

Simultaneously, a Fatal Vision Driving Course will be set up just north of Philip High School. Individuals can put on a pair of fatal vision goggles and take a driving test to simulate the impairment caused by drinking and driving.

The free Capital For A Day Expo at the Philip High School Armory will run from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Attendees may talk one-on-one with Gov. Rounds, cabinet members and elected officials. At 6:00 p.m., Gov. Rounds will speak and then again ask for questions and advice from the community.