Courthouse plumbing enters next phase

During their December 1 regular meeting the Haakon County Board of Commissioners approved for the next phase of courthouse plumbing to begin.

The nearly 80-year-old plumbing in the Haakon County courthouse is being replaced in phases. At each phase plumbing contractor Dustin Lurz and building contractor Tom Swift submit estimates for their share of work of each phase. Due to the inability to get a bid for the work, the county can bypass the law that requires a bid process.

This, the third phase, will focus on replacing lines in the basements, replacing utility closet lines and sinks on the first, third and fourth floors, vent work to those closets, replace toilets and restroom sinks on the third floor and install a new lift pump in the basement.

Lurz's estimate for the work came in at just over $22,000. Swift's estimate for his share of the work is under $1,800. As in past phases the two contractors will apprise the board as work progresses if the project's cost increases.

The commission budgeted monies for plumbing issues in the 2010 budget. But other items and county departments received cuts for 2010. The board requested county employees attend a meeting Tuesday morning, December 1, prior to the regular board meeting. The commission asked all employees to curtail spending and economize wherever possible. They were informed that there would be no raises in 2010. Hours were also cut in the highway department.

Rita O'Connell, commission chairperson, noted that the board is looking at avenues of increasing income for the county, including an opt out of the tax freeze. Along with cutting expenditures, the board has had to dip heavily into their reserves to balance the budget for the last two years.

O'Connell noted that the board has no desire to see services to the county residents, whether it is county road conditions or courthouse offices, deteriorate, but the board has limited resources to provide those services.

The board approved Resolution #2009-14 which supports efforts to improve the safety at the intersection of South Dakota Highways 73 and 14. It is a joint resolution initiated by the City of Philip.

Issues noted in the resolution include the placement of stop signs to the far right of the intersection where driver's may not see them and the fact that the right turn lanes are mistaken for passing lanes. The resolution asks the South Dakota Department of Transportation for either better signage or warning signals to be installed.

The county amended Resolution #09052006 which set up an accumulation fund for capital outlay items. The fund was designed to set aside $75,000 yearly for purchase of large pieces of highway department equipment. It was set up for a five year term. That term was taken back to the last three years. The resolution was amended ias part of the budget cutting process.

The board reviewed and discussed monthly reports from the auditor, treasurer, sheriff and veterans service officer. Sheriff Larry Hanes noted that he had received two quotes for repairing the computer server. He noted the cost would be split evenly with the city police department.

The board approved meeting minutes from October 15 and November 3, 10 and 18 and warrants for the previous month.

Kenny Neville, Haakon County highway department superintendent, updated the board on gravel hauling and repair work on roads.

The board will meet in special session Monday, December 28, to finalize 2009 business. Their next regular meeting is January 5. Both meetings start at 9:00 a.m.