Daly assumes office as Haakon County District 2 Commissioner
The Haakon County Commission met for their first regular meeting of 2021 on Tuesday, January 5. After the meeting was called to order, previous meeting minutes were approved and the current agenda was approved, Auditor Carla Smith requested the Commission’s oaths of office to be signed.
Kaycee Jones, Haakon/Jackson 4-H Advisor, brought newly hired Extension Secretary, Rebekah Taylor, to be introduced to the Commission. Jones also requested that a desk in her office be surplussed. The Commission motioned and seconded her request.
The Commission, by general consensus, approved Deputy Auditor Amanda Frink’s request that the Commission consider her request to apply for the Outside City of Deadwood Grant, to be utilized to assist with the upcoming courtroom carpet project.
The Auditor’s office received a letter from the Department of Revenue regarding budget approval for the 2021 budget. Auditor Smith also presented a citation of appreciation from the American Legion for displaying the flag.
Haakon County Sheriff, Fred Koester, provided his regular monthly report to the Commission. Sheriff Koester presented concerns that he had with ongoing protesting, stating that there have been eight to 10 protests, with only one arrest to date. As of the meeting, Sheriff Koester said the department had issued a warrant on one individual. Sheriff Koester stated that he is working with TC Energy to gather evidence to possibly support additional warrants. Sheriff Koester requested that the Commission consider hiring an individual to be on call to assist with the transport van. He added that it would come out of the department’s budget. After discussion was held, the Commission motioned and seconded to hire two on-call transportation security officers, at the rate of $100.00 per month and $15.00 per hour while on-duty. Discussion was held on the safety and security of the transportation van. Sheriff Koester informed the Commission of the security measures he has or plans to put in place in regards to the transportation security officers and the transportation van. Commissioner Gebes asked about a plexiglass shield that would be placed between the interior cage and where the transportation security officers would be sitting. After some additional discussion, it was proposed that Deputy Auditor Frink research the possibility of the new hires taking gun safety courses and to research how that would effect county insurance and liability.
Sheriff Koester also presented that a meeting was recently held with individuals from various law enforcement agencies. He also stated that he has heard a few requests from landowners inquiring about possible road closures. Sheriff Koester stated that after a TC Energy trailer was removed, initially a target for protestors, that protestors have since moved on to threatening land owners. Sheriff Koester stated that if road closures were put in place, that the law would need to apply to everyone, even the landowners requesting a road closure. The Commission held discussion on road closures and stated that it would be best to make a decision at a later date.
Auditor Smith presented information about the transfer of the Donna Neumann property to the county. Smith stated that a deed needs to be made in order to transfer the property. Smith stated she will forward the information on to State’s Attorney Chip Kemnitz.
The Commission adjourned the meeting with old business and reconvened for 2021 business. At this time, Gary Snook stepped down as the District 2 commissioner and Steve Daly assumed the office. Following reconvening, the Auditor called for nominations for Chairman of the Board. Commissioner Nick Konst nominated Mike Gebes. Auditor Smith then called for nominations of the Vice-Chairman. Commissioner Konst nominated Commissioner Steve Clements.
The Commission set the monthly meeting date and time to remain the same, the first Tuesday of the month, beginning at 1 p.m. The following resolutions were motioned and seconded:
• Resolution 2021-01: First National Bank of Philip and the Midland branch of First National Bank of Pierre as the designated financial institutions for Haakon County.
• Resolution 2021-02: Four voting centers and polling places designated for Haakon County, as well as set the 2021 rates for election worker salary, workshop pay, polling location rent and election transportation.
The Commission held discussion regarding Resolution 2021-03, as there were concerns over the wording of the resolution. Commissioner Clements voiced concerns over wording regarding one county office and not others. Commissioner Clements stated that he would be fine with the resolution if the rest of the Commission understood that step raises and the intervals they are given apply to every county employee, not just a select few in one office. The Commission agreed to remove some redundant wording from the resolution.
• Resolution 2021-03: The number of deputies and secretaries within each county office as well as compensation.
• Resolution 2021-04: Travel requests from commissioners, elected officials and county employees.
During the discussion held on Resolution 2021-03, States Attorney Kemnitz asked to say a couple of things to the Commission regarding his salary. Kemnitz stated that he was the lowest paid State’s Attorney in the state and that he wasn’t expecting to get stuck with the job. He reiterated that he does not believe that the compensation is fair, especially with the 38 years of experience he brings to the position.
The Commission entered executive session per SDCL 1-25-2 citing personnel reasons. Upon exiting executive session, no action was taken.
The mileage rate for the county was set at $0.42 per mile and the Sheriff’s mileage rate was set to $0.47 per mile. The Pioneer Review weekly newspaper was set as Haakon County’s official newspaper. The vacancy period for open positions was set at two weeks in regards to advertising. Chairman Mike Gebes made the following appointments to the following county boards:
• Weed and Pest Board: Nick Konst
• Fair Board: Steve Clements
• Library Board: Steve Daly
• CSDED Board: Mike Gebes
The Commission motioned and approved to set the gravel contract at $1.00 per ton and declared that useable bridge plank and culvert surplus be set to $1.00 per useable foot on a first come, first serve basis. The Commission motioned and approved the South Dakota Highway Patrol’s request for weight limit enforcement assistance in accordance with SDCL 32-22-31.3. The Commission motioned and approved payment of the final Rural Attorney Recruitment payment to former State’s Attorney, Stephanie Trask. The Commission reviewed a surplus list provided by the Register of Deeds office. The surplus list was motioned and approved.
Lori Quinn, Haakon County Emergency Manager, spoke with the Commission and discussed Hazard Mitigation Plan updates and the projections for meetings in 2021. Quinn stated that she will speak with CSDED to see how they will proceed with meetings, as they are still prevented from working in-person. Discussion was held on submitting grant money requests and it was decided to request reimbursement for four radios.
Val Williams, Haakon County Assistant Superintendent, was present to give the departments regular report. Pack Mule, LLC submitted a request that the county submit payment to an individual rather than to the business. Per Deputy Auditor Frink, after speaking to Legislative Audit, it was recommended to pay the vendor under the same entity the bid was submitted.
The Commission entered executive session per SDCL 1-25-2 citing personnel reasons in order to discuss the submitted Highway Superintendent applications. Upon exiting executive session, no action was taken.
After the Commission motioned and approved the warrants and late bills, the meeting was adjourned. The next regular meeting will be held Tuesday, February 2, 2021.
The full minutes can be read in the Public Notices section of this issue of the Pioneer Review.