Commissioners approve switch to Winner's 9-1-1 dispatch service

Early next year Haakon County residents' 9-1-1 calls will be dispatched through the Winner dispatch service as per an agreement approved by the Board of Haakon County Commissioners last Tuesday, August 5.

Winner Chief of Police Paul Schueth presented the board with the agreement. He had met with the commissioners in June to outline what Winner could offer Haakon County. Schueth noted that total expenses would be about $25,000 each year. This includes the 75 cent charge mandated by the state for each phone line and cell phone and another $4,000 for other expenses. He had noted that all the counties that use their service would be charged equally for any updates in equipment. Winner currently provides dispatch service for the counties of Bennett, Gregory, Lyman, Mellette and Tripp.

At the commissioner's May meeting, representatives from the Emergency Services Communications in Rapid City informed the commissioners that they would be charged an additional $32,795 on top of the existing $20,000 Haakon County currently pays them.

Lola Roseth, Haakon County emergency manager, asked the board if Haakon County has a spokesman for answering news media questions. She noted that after the June flooding she had been contacted by news media regarding the flood damage and what dollar amount applied to the damage. She noted that she did not feel qualified to answer those questions and referred the reporter to the commissioner's chairman. The board decided that Roseth would be the spokesperson for the county after gathering information from the chairman and Haakon County Highway Superintendent Kenny Neville, depending on the situation.

Roseth questioned the board regarding the civil defense director position, which is held by Marty Hansen. She wondered if that position and her position overlapped or had different duties. The civil defense director was possibly formed during the World War II era and then held over to direct disaster relief projects in the county. Roseth is to speak with Hansen and see how the two positions relate and if the civil defense director position needs to be dropped.

Roseth noted that the E.F. Johnson Company, Irving, TX, has sent a letter that stated they had not been paid for four radios that were purchased in October and December of 2005. The cost of the radios is $8,138.50. Roseth noted these were ordered prior to her taking the position in October of 2005. She stated she would look through her predecessors papers. Haakon County Auditor Patricia Freeman noted she too would look through her files to see if there was any record of a bills or payment.

Roseth noted that she would like to purchase cots for emergency purposes to be paid for out of grant dollars that have already been received. She noted that until she is able to look at the cots to see their size, she does not know how many she will order or where they will be stored.

Roseth commended the commissioners for attending emergency management classes in Rapid City this spring. She noted this will help qualify the county for more grants. She will be attending a meeting in the near future in which she will need to be paid for mileage. The state will pay for the motel room.

Haakon County has been award a $75,000 grant through South Dakota and United States Departments of Homeland Security. The grant includes radios and antennas.

The grant requires a 20 percent in-kind match. The match will be divided between the county, Philip Health Services, Midland Ambulance, Midland Fire Department, Philip Ambulance, Philip Fire Department, Philip Police Department, Haakon County Highway Department and the Haakon County Sheriff Department. Haakon County's share is $3,503.

Haakon County was one of 27 counties in South Dakota that received disaster declarations following the June floods. This allows Federal Emergency Management Agency funds to be available for repairs. Neville noted that a FEMA agent had been touring the county with him. Neville noted more than 300 sites have to be reviewed by the representative, including road, culvert and bridge washouts.

One bid was received for the heating/air conditioning unit project. The bid, submitted by Ken's Refrigeration and Heating, Wall, SD, was for 17 fan coils and 34 control valves at a cost of $57,759.11. The bid includes material, labor and mileage. The board approved to use the remaining $24,000 in the courthouse building fund and take the remainder out of the contingency fund to pay for the units and fan coils.

Freeman informed the board that Drainman, a company from Watertown, would be in Philip later this week to look at the courthouse's plumbing. The company uses a type of liner to repair damaged pipes within buildings and under streets. This may be an option for repairing the courthouse's plumbing without having to tear apart or construct new pathways for new plumbing. The commissioners plan to meet with the company after their inspection.

The commissioners approved a motion to advertise to bid for two Caterpillar road graders. Alex Kulesza from Butler Machinery, Rapid City informed the commissioners that he was unable to find another bid the county could utilize. The new graders would replace 1999 and 2003 models. Kulesza urged the board to bid the project now before Caterpillar takes off the freeze price in September. He said typically the prices increase by four percent each year, but he had rumors of an increase of six to seven percent for 2009. He advised the board to hold off advertising the surplus of the two older graders until later this winter when contractors are looking for equipment.

John Heltzel approached the board with a request by the baseball association to install a septic tank and drain field on the fairgrounds property. He noted the association plans to install running water in the existing restroom facilities and enclose the structure with a roof and doors. The drain field would extend south of the existing bathrooms towards the Living Memorial area. Heltzel noted the association would be in contract with the fair board and the Living Memorial board.

Heltzel inquired if the county could run a blade through the cemetery and the road leading to it once a year. He noted that the city once provided this service. The board approved the request.

Rita Merrill, Haakon County director of equalization, spoke to the board concerning the TransCanada tax dollars. She noted the county would not be receiving $3.2 million in tax dollars from the pipeline. She stated she had spoken with Central Assessment in Pierre. They replied with a detailed equation as to how much money will be received. That money goes to the state first, with the school receiving an estimated four percent and the county two percent of the proceeds, she said. She gave an example of the company being taxed on $2 million, the school would receive $80,000 and the county $40,000, not the $3.2 million earlier reported.

In other business, the board approved a waterline easement for the Oglala Sioux Rural Water Supply System along the Powell Road. The easement would run along the road for over 2,600 feet; approved a plat for Brandon Morrison; approved the July 1, 2008, meeting minutes and the past months warrants; approved to pay dues to the Central South Dakota Enhancement District; approved a resolution noting they, as members of the South Dakota Association of County Officials, are against Initiated Measure #10; approved a raffle request by the softball association; and approved budget supplements for mentally ill, $3,000 and for the homeland security grant, $3,503.

The commissioners will meet in special session, Tuesday, August 19 to discuss the budget. Their next regular meeting is Tuesday, September 2, 2008.