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County commissioners approve to draft resolution supporting voluntary animal ID

Chuck O'Connor, Philip, and Kenny Fox, Belvidere, approached the commissioners to ask their support by implementing a resolution that states the Haakon County Board of Commissioners is not in favor of mandatory animal identification, but that they agreed with animal identification on a voluntary basis.

Fox informed the commissioners that the counties of Meade, Jackson, Fall River, Perkins, and Harding have approved such resolutions already. He added that Shannon, Mellette, Corson and Dewey counties were in the process of forming resolutions.

Both Fox and O'Connor noted they were not against animal identification, they just did not want it made mandatory. Currently there are numerous ways to ID an animal, branding and brucellosis tags, being two ways to trace an animal.

O'Connor stated that the animal ID program does not always work the ways it is designed to. He said in some cases animals that are part of the program are still untraceable.

Fox stated it could cost a producer $37 per head if the program was made mandatory. He said this is the amount it is costing producers in Australia. He felt that existing programs were doing a good job already.

Fox said that some proponents of the program state jobs would be added. He noted those jobs would more than likely be in the manufacturing of ear tags and other ID items.

Commissioner Don Eymer motioned to draft a resolution supporting the anti-mandatory stance, with Commissioner Mel Smith seconding the motion. The motion passed with Commissioner Obie Brunskill voting against the resolution. Brunskill stated he did not like the idea of the commissioners speaking for all the county's constituents in this matter.

Haakon County's resolution will be similar to that passed by Jackson County.

During the meeting Auditor Patsy Freeman asked the commissioners to approve a $10,000 supplement to her office's budget so that Deputy Auditor Hallie Konst could be put on full-time. When a check was done to see how much money was left in her budget, it was discovered that the amount was just over $13,000, which is not enough to even pay the auditor's salary for the remainder of the year.

Freeman then checked the amount budgeted for fiscal year 2007. It was discovered that just $52,105 was budgeted by former auditor Shirley Dennis. The previous two years had seen actual expenditures of $64,966 in 2006 and $82,986 in 2005. Freeman is to look into the matter further before the board can take action on the supplement request. Freeman also wanted to purchase a new computer for the deputy auditor as the program they use now uses almost all the memory space on the existing computer.

Treasurer Patti Rhodes asked the board for a resolution in regards to tax certificates. Rhodes explained that in the past those certificates could be sold to individuals who used them for investment purposes. Last year a new law was implemented that stated that the certificates could not be sold in that manner. Now this year the legislature has stated the certificates can be sold.

Rhodes noted she would prefer that the certificates not be sold, but a resolution could be drafted that states they could be sold in certain instances.

Rhodes reported that just three counties, Pennington, Meade and Lyman, opted to sell the certificates. She noted that Haakon County has the best record in the state for the least amount of delinquent taxes.

The commissioners opted to table the resolution until more information could be reviewed regarding the best course of action.

Other information given to the board included, quarterly reports by the officers of the treasurer, extension and register of deeds.

They approved travel requests for Rita Merrill, director of equalization, to attend two meetings and for commissioners and county office employees to attend a state meeting.

Per a request from Haakon County Sheriff Larry Hanes, the board approved a new fund account entitled Sobriety Fund and Revenue Account. This account also needed a supplement of $50. The fund is mandated by the state and is in regards to a new type of ankle bracelet that can record if an individual has drank any alcoholic beverages.

The board will meet Tuesday, August 21, for a special meeting regarding the budget. The next regular meeting is Tuesday, September 4, 2007.