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Commissioners told TransCanada delayed

R.L. (Bud) Andersen, spokes-man for TransCanada, met briefly with the Haakon County Board of Commissioners at their meeting Tuesday, April 5.

Andersen said the U.S. State Department will conduct another environmental review before they issue a presidential permit. Because the pipeline crosses the Canada/U.S. border a presidential permit is needed for the project to move forward.

Andersen said the department would publish their supplemental environmental impact statement in April and then take public comments for 45 days. After a review of comments is completed, possibly in August or September, the permit could be issued, he said.

Andersen said the state of Montana and TransCanada have been reviewing 19 other environmental impact alternatives within Montana as well as issues with going through school lands. He said TransCanada still plans to enter South Dakota through Harding County.

Andersen said that the attorneys for Dakota Rural Action and TransCanada had met and worked out an agreement with Dakota Rural Action.

Glenn Parsons, Farm Bureau Financial Services, presented the board with insurance plans for the next year. He said there was a 13.31 percent increase in costs. He presented different options the county could use for their insurance plan. "What I can do is work with a couple of you and work together to formulate something that is palatable," said Parsons. Two board members will meet with Parsons to find the best options for the county. The board will have to make a decision before June 1.

Members of the library board presented the board with a packet of the figures they had requested at an earlier meeting. Annie Brunskill, librarian, briefly went through some of the items. The board will review the material with plans to discuss the library at the May meeting.

The board opened bids for steel and concrete culverts. One bid each was received for the two types. The board awarded the bid for steel culverts to Huron Tank and Culvert Company, Huron, S.D., and the concrete bid from Cretex, Rapid City, was approved. Neville noted both bids were up by about five to seven percent over last year.

Extension Educators Adele Harty and Jessica Eikmeier updated the board on how the cuts in state funding could possibly affect their office. Harty said the $820,000 cut is causing the state Extension office to restructure the service. She said they have bee informed that 14 Extension specialists and 28 educator positions will be cut. Currently, she said, there are 105 educators and 50 special-ists within South Dakota. Harty said the offices will be informed of the changes and the state office will set up regional meetings to meet with county commissioners. Eikmeier noted that the restructuring will go into effect in October.

Meeting minutes from the March 1 regular meeting and the March 21, special meeting were approved. The warrants for March were also approved.

Department reports reviewed included the auditor/treasurer, veterans service office, county health nurse, Extension office, and register of deeds.

Monte Palecek's request for a plat was approved. Jerry Nemec meet with the board in regards to an incident on his property and how it was handled by the sheriff's department.

Raffle requests for the Midland Legion Auxiliary, a Midland Relay For Life team and for the South Dakota Amateur Baseball Association were approved.

The board approved an amendment to the Women, Infants, and Children contract for this year. Deputy Auditor Carla Smith was approved to attend a deputy workshop in Pierre this month.

A resolution was approved for Jerry Roseth's request for a renewal of Authorization under the General Permit for Petroleum Contaminated Soil Land Application Facility.

Virgil Smith, weed supervisor for Haakon County, met with the board. He said that according to state regulations all road ditches within the county are now waters of the state. He will need a permit to spray those ditches. He also spoke about spraying near any ground that is used for organic farming. He provided two samples of agreements he would like owners of organic farms to sign in regards to weed control. The board gave approval to use them but State's Attorney Gay Tollefson is to review them.

Smith asked that all grant dollars he applies for be placed in the weed fund, as this will help with chemical purchases.

The board discussed the purchase of a sheriff's vehicle. Board member Nick Konst presented figures from Philip Motor, Inc. He said the dealership would allow them to purchase the pickup with $10,000 down with three annual payments for the remaining $14,500. He said they would also buy back the vehicle after the first year for $21,000. This option, along with purchasing the Durango from the city of Philip, were compared. Konst was appointed to discuss the Durango purchase further, with the intent of purchasing the Durango for $10,000.

A right-of-way easement for Golden West was approved. They will be laying fiber optic cable in the Robbs Flat area, said Neville.

A list of surplus items from the highway department was approved. Sheriff Deputy Mark Foley received approval to surplus more items from storage.

County offices in the courthouse will be closed Friday, April 22, in observance of Good Friday. The board of commissioners' next regular meeting will be Tuesday, May 3, 2011.