Haakon County tries again - $250,000 opt-out

The Haakon County Commission approved to try for another opt-out, half of the original amount, but still for a three year time period.

Commission Chairman Gary Snook said when he spoke with some of the opponents of the original opt-out they stated they would be more in favor of a $250,000 opt-out that was designated just for the highway department. Commissioner Ed Briggs likened that figure to a band-aid with Commiss- ioner Steve Clements in agreement. Clements said that it could mean no gravel crushing, with no improvements to the roads.

This opt-out will have to follow the full procedures of the first opt-out. Haakon County residents will have 20 days, after the first publication of the intent to opt-out, to file a petition to bring the matter to a vote.

Meanwhile, the bills for mentally ill and jail continue to be submitted. The board approved to supplement the mentally ill fund by $20,000. It was budgeted at $5,500 for 2011. Submitted bills to date total $16,535.75.

The jail fund received an influx of an additional $25,000. Original budget was $5,000 with nearly $26,000 spent to date.

Also approved was a supplement to the election fund for $3,900 and the domestic abuse fund received $340. The commission had only budgeted $500 for elections, as none were expected for 2011. A bill in the amount of $1,343 was received for election software maintenance and the opt-out election added another $3,049 in costs to the fund.

The support of the poor fund still has nearly $6,100 left of its $7,500 budget. This fund was heavily used in 2010.

Haakon County Sheriff Mel Smith met with the board regarding the apprehension of an Iowa murder/kidnapping suspect south of Philip on Sunday, June 5. A new vehicle was discussed, but no decision was made. Once the insurance reimbursement amount is known, the commission will decide on a vehicle.

The county's insurance agent, Judy Goldhammer, Wall, representing Employer's Mutual Casualty Company, said the county had full coverage on the Durango. She also presented insurance renewal figures for the new insurance period.

A spot of good news came the commission's way as Haakon County Highway Superintendent Kenny Neville informed them that he had recently received a letter from the South Dakota Department of Transportation in regards to a one-time offer of $206,000 in Statewide Transportation Improvement Program funds. The funds can be used for any road project, but not supplies. Neville said he would like to use the money to repair the Hardingrove Road slide area. He said the report from Brosz Engineering, Pierre, estimated the project at $150,000. It had been earlier reported that it would cost upwards of three-quarters of a million dollars to fix the slide. Briggs asked Neville, "This gives you access to fix the thing this year?" Neville said that is correct. Clements asked if it would be done cheaper this way then by going through the Federal Aid Secondary road project. Again, Neville agreed with the statement. Also, if the county used FAS funds, it would be at least four years before work would begin.

Snook asked if the culvert replacement near Jim and Kory Bierle's places could be done with these funds. Neville, said that was a possibility if there were funds left over, which he believed there would be. Neville said there would be no monies coming out of the county's funds for the Hardingrove Road project.

The board approved to remove the Hardingrove Road project from the FAS project list. They also approved for Brosz Engineering to coordinate the project.

Jake Fitzgerald, West River/ Lyman-Jones manager, approach-ed the commission regarding a request to use the county's right-of- way along Bridge Street to install water lines.

The water company would like to run new pipe to the home of D. J. Rush, but a neighboring land-owner would not sign an easement agreement with WR/L-J. He also has his land fenced close to the road's edge, including the county right-of-way. Several years ago Neville had given verbal permission for the family to fence the county's right-of-way as part of their pasture.

Fitzgerald said the easement refusal will cost WR/L-J an additional $10,000 to $15,000, due to what he believed was a disagreement between the two landowners. He added that Rush is currently a Bad River Water System user but the other landowner is not.

Fitzgerald said his company would pay for a survey to find the right-of-way's location. The board approved for Fitzgerald to go ahead with the survey and then they would proceed from there.

Adele Harty, Extension livestock educator, presented the board with a four-county 4-H cluster proposal. At a previous meeting a three-county proposal was given to the board. Since then, a meeting between Mellette, Jones, Haakon and Jackson counties representatives was held with discussion of the four counties combining.

Based upon the number of youth enrolled in 4-H a percentage of monetary support from each county was computed. Haakon and Jackson counties would contribute 30 percent for six to seven days per month each. Jones County would pay for 25 percent for five to six days per month and Mellette 15 percent for three days each month.

With a four-county group South Dakota State University would pay for a part-time 4-H/youth development specialist, the counties would be required to pay for the remaining salary to make it a full-time position. They also would have to hire their own support staff. Haakon and Jackson counties would like to continue to have a shared part-time support person. Haakon County's total cost for their share of the specialist's and support staff's salary and office expenses would be $9,555. The Extension office budget for 2011 was $26,592, which included the office assistant's salary and office supplies.

The board approved a memorandum of understanding for the proposal. Jackson County is expected to do the same at their next meeting. Mellette and Jones counties had not met at all with their commissions in regards to the 4-H restructuring.

Dave Turgeon, wildlife game specialist for the South Dakota Game Fish & Parks presented the board with a summary for fiscal year 2010. He said Haakon County residents lost $3,481 due to wildlife. All but $396 of that was due to coyotes and fox.

The board approved meeting minutes from April 19 and May 3, 2011 and warrants from May.

Evaluations were completed for Kevin Pfeifle, director of equalization and Neville. They canvased the opt-out election numbers.

They approved a raffle request for Scotty Philip Days in July for commemorative revolvers and a star quilt.

A weed and pest grant in the amount of $3,259.25 was received. They reviewed the veterans service officer's report.

They reviewed the auditor/treasurer cash balance report, surplused a fax machine and the old police Blazer and approved for Neville to advertise the Blazer and a Chevy pickup.

They approved their annual membership fee of $5,579.76 to the Central South Dakota Enchancement District.

The commission's next regular meeting is Tuesday, July 5, 2011, at 1:00 p.m.