County announces hire of next highway superintendent

HURON — With Beadle County Highway Superintendent Merl Hanson absent Tuesday morning for the County Commission meeting, highway foreman Jason Fritzsche presented the department’s report to the commission. He’ll be giving that presentation more frequently soon.

The commission officially accepted Hanson’s retirement, effective Dec. 31, and named Fritzsche as the new superintendent beginning on Jan. 1, 2023. Commissioners wished to thank Hanson for his dutiful effort to Beadle County and his work over the years to improve the county’s roads and bridges.

Fritzsche discussed the final stages of the construction of the new highway building. The final concrete should be poured next week with a few more small items to check off before the building is completed and ready to begin moving in staff and equipment.

Emergency Management Director Taylor Jans presented the local emergency operations plan for approval. He stated that this was unchanged from 2022. It was approved.

Jans also was approved to apply for the Local Emergency Management Performance Grant for 2023.

Commissioners and Jans held an extensive discussion regarding a potential burn ban. The lack of moisture has much of the county in dry conditions that could lead to a quick-moving fire. With farmers and landowners cleaning up property in the fall through potential burns, Jans and commissioners emphasized that all burns be done by calling in a controlled burn to the county.

At this time, commissioners chose not to enact a burn ban, but left the option open should conditions worsen.

Commissioners, Beadle County State’s Attorney Michael Moore, and Equalization Director Kim Eichstadt met with Glenn Jungemann and his lawyer Aaron Pilcher regarding a pending litigation between Jungemann and the county due to marijuana ordinance.

Jungemann applied for and received an operating license for his grow facility in Wessington through the city of Wessington and was inspected and licensed through the state. The county has held that the law gave licensing authority for Wessington to Beadle County and that Jungemann should have a license through the county.

Ambiguity in the definition of the law as passed by the legislature was discussed by both parties with a potential resolution still on the table, though none was reached in Tuesday’s meeting.

Commissioners approved the hire of Sawyer Freideman for a jailer position and amended the July 26 minutes to add a bridge agreement that was signed at that meeting.

The commission approved two plat, and finished the meeting by adopting the 2023 budget with adjustments for additional property tax revenue made in the budget, due to growth of 1.23% in the county.

The next county commission meeting will be Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 9 a.m.


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