County Commissioners get budget proposals

The Haakon County Board of Commissioners received proposed budgets from all county offices at their July 3 meeting.

At their August 2007 meeting the board will decide if there is a budget shortfall and if major cuts in the budgets will need to be made.

Most of the submitted office and program budgets saw small increases for pay raises, postage rates and mileage costs.

Auditor Patsy Freeman informed the board that she would like to increase the deputy position in her office to full time status. She noted that several items need to be brought up to date and that a part time position does not allow for that.

She also presented the board with information regarding each office position's description and the health insurance issue. The board agreed for further study and to have insurance agents give presentations on their programs.

Haakon County Highway Superintendent Kenny Neville informed the board that the contractors will be starting on the new county road two miles south of town. The contractors have already moved the fencing and are ready to start moving dirt.

The commissioners approved a water line crossing for Jason Hamill.

Neville informed the commissioners that the county's Federal Communications Commission Radio Station license had expired in late June 2004 and had not been renewed. He noted that the county's radio system has never quit working, but through communication with an individual in Rapid City, the county may or may not be able to receive the same frequency for the radios with the new license. If the same frequency is not granted, all the radios for the highway department, sheriff's office, ambulance and fire departments would have to be reprogrammed.

Neville then informed the board that the federal STP monies for road projects is being reduced. He urged the board to attend an upcoming meeting in regards to the funds and voice their opinions on what order the projects should be listed.

Marlene Knutson, Pierre, is the new director for the Central South Dakota Enhancement District. She updated the board on what the enhancement district's purpose is and also asked them for the county's annual dues of $5,000. The board approved the payment of the dues subject to budget approval.

The commissioners were informed that the 20-year lease agreement with the school and the city in regards to Memorial Field had expired in October 2005. Keven Morehart, superintendent of the Haakon School District, discovered the lapse when reviewing the contract. The board approved and signed a 10-year lease agreement.

Travel requests were approved as follows: all county officials for the Black Hills District meeting in Sturgis, July 27; Ultra (computer software) users meeting in Pierre, July 16 for the auditor and deputy auditor, Patsy Freeman and Hallie Konst, respectively, and treasurer Patti Rhodes, and July 17 for the director of equalization's office, Rita Merrill and deputy Traci Radway; and a USPAP workshop meeting August 21 in Rapid City for Merrill.

Quarterly reports were given by Freeman, Rhodes and Haakon County Health Nurse Heidi Burns. Rhodes asked, and received, approval to increase the amount in her cash drawer. Rhodes also informed the board that Haakon County's Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) was for $6,736.

The next meeting of the board of commissioners is set for Tuesday, August 7, 2007.