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Haakon County Commissioners approve wheel tax

The Haakon County Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance, at their October 5, 2010 meeting, that would implement a wheel tax on all licensed vehicles in Haakon County.

The commissioners have been faced with declining revenues in the past few years, having cut the road and bridge fund (highway department) drastically in the past years, and down another $40,000 for the 2011 budget. Funds generated from the wheel tax would bring in an approximate $65,000 each year. All wheel tax revenues would be used strictly in the road and bridge budget for highway and bridge maintenance construction.

Haakon Couonty is not alone in the use of a wheel tax. Currently 42 of South Dakota's 64 organized counties have a wheel tax; Haakon County would be the 43rd. According to South Dakota codified law each county can tax up to four dollars per wheel for a maximum of $16 per vehicle. The rates can be set up according to four categories - those under 2,000 pounds, from 2,001 to 4,000 pounds, from 4,001 to 6,000 pounds and those over 6,000 pounds - with each category being taxed at a different amount.

Custer County is the only county who has set different rates for each category, ranging from two to three dollars. Of the remaining 41 counties, 13 have a two dollar tax, one county charges three dollars, 27 counties are taxed at four dollars.

Following publication of the ordinance county residents may circulate and submit a petition to bring the ordinance to the vote of the people. The ordinance has to be published two times.

Haakon County Highway Superintendent Kenny Neville updated the board on graveling and mowing in the county. He noted the deparment is about two-thirds done with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) graveling.

Commissioner Gary Snook questioned Neville on the agreement with Stanley County for opening roads following snow storms. Snook noted that residents have reported to him that they are getting a different answer from each county as to who opens what areas. Neville said he would bring a copy of the agrement that was drafted, he believed in 1978, to the November meeting. Neville agreed with Snook that if there are conflicting answers a solution needed to be found that would benefit both counties and their residents.

The commissioners approved, with corrections, meeting minutes from September 7, 15, 19, and 24. Warrants for the past month were also approved.

Heidi Burns, Haakon County health nurse presented her quarterly report. Adele Harty, Extension livestock educator updated the board on activities within her office.

Gary Stephenson, Philip, was approved for a tax abatement following the loss of his home in a fire. Taxes would be abated for the last five months of 2010.

The board approved a raffle request from Doug Hauk, appointed Hannah Griffin to the library board, and approved for the $560 in insurance monies to be added to the treasurer's budget. Record books in the treasurer's office had been damaged from a roof leak.

The commissioner's November meeting was moved from November 2 to November 4 to accomodate election day.