County commissioners hold annual township meeting

HURON — Beadle County Commissioners met Tuesday morning for their regular meeting and then reconvened in the courtroom upstairs to hold their annual township meeting with representatives from townships within the county present.
In the morning session, commissioners reviewed plans for the new highway department building drawn by Architecture, Inc. The plans call for a building estimated at $3.5 million, which Architecture, Inc. representative Andrew Eitrem stated was a very conservative building. Commissioners chose to consider bids on the building after researching funding options for the new structure.
Beadle County Superintendent Merle Hanson also presented the commission with the winning bids from PCI Roads to complete the bridge preservation project and Asphalt Paving to complete the road surfacing project.
Commissioners heard from county Treasurer Jacque McCaskell, regarding a remodel to the counter of the treasurer’s office to allow for better customer service and better staff flow while working. Commissioners approved McCaskell to get pricing on the project to determine if it falls below bid pricing requirements, at which point the work could be hired out without bid.
The Regional Correctional Center Agreements with various counties were reviewed and approved by the commission along with a travel request for staff for an upcoming workshop.
Commissioners adjourned the AM meeting to reconvene in the courtroom for the annual township meeting.
Commission chair Denis Drake opened the township meeting. Merl Hanson was first to speak, addressing the bridges the highway department is working on, which touch 10 townships. He also mentioned that eight miles of county road would be receiving a chip seal this summer with more than 50 miles of road in the southwest part of the county set to be repaved.
Hanson also addressed funds put in place by the Beadle County Commissioners recently for townships to do improvements on culverts and bridges of qualifying size. The county has a $100,000 budget line item set aside for these improvements.
Jim Puffer spoke next, representing the South Dakota Association of Towns and Townships. He spoke of the lobbying in Pierre for HB 1144 and SB 90, which he stated would both fund townships more fully. He also mentioned that the association has scholarships available for graduating high school seniors of $1,000 and $500. Anyone interested should contact 353-1439.
Emergency management director Taylor Jans spoke to the funds available through FEMA for townships incurring expenses due to flooding in 2019. Jans expressed that Governor Kristi Noem had allocated emergency funding to aid townships in completing projects in order to request FEMA reimbursement.
County auditor Jill Hanson gave the gathering a few dates to keep in mind, including Feb. 18 as the deadline to register to vote in a township election and March 3 as the deadline to hold a township annual meeting. She also requested that townships make the county aware of their annual meeting dates and provide minutes from those meetings.
Rick Benson spoke representing the Beadle County Weed Board. He cited that the board’s annual meeting would be on Feb. 18 with representatives from Farm Service Agency and the Conservation District speaking.
County commissioners hold their next meeting at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Feb 27, at the Beadle County Courthouse.


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