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Davison County logs record property transactions

The Davison County Register of Deeds Office recorded one of its best years ever for property transactions with $75.8 million in 2013, according to Register of Deeds Deb Young.

Young gave her annual report Tuesday during the regularly scheduled meeting of county commissioners at the courthouse in Mitchell. She said it was the largest amount the county has recorded during her 19 years in the position, and it is likely the highest amount in county history.

In 2013, the county collected $75,865.50 of revenue from transfer fees, up 15.3 percent from 2012, when $68,423.50 was collected.

The county collects a $1 fee for every $1,000 of the final sale price on every residential or commercial property in the county and every land sale made, meaning more than $75 million in property changed hands last year. The transfer fee has not been changed since 1968 and Young said the revenue figure is a good indicator of the type of business being done in the county.

"That is a true figure. It's still there and it hasn't gone down, which is good," Young said.

For example, just five years ago in 2009, the county took in $41,708 in transfer fees in the midst of the recession, about half of what was brought in during 2013.

Including land transaction fees and other fees, the office brought in a total of $264,291.24 in fees last year, most of which were for copying and recording fees and the vital records fees for births, deaths and marriages.

Along those lines was a discussion about the real estate market in the area being rather slow through the winter months.

"There hasn't been much coming through our office in the last few months," Young said.

Both Young and Commissioner Denny Kiner, who is a realtor, expect that to change in the coming weeks. They explained with the weather warming up, people will be eager to buy or sell. As of Tuesday, 107 listings for residential homes were available on the Mitchell Board of Realtors MLS site, but Kiner said that includes a district that ranges from Woonsocket to Tripp and from White Lake to Salem.

"If you go with just Davison County, you'll cut that by a third, I would guess," he said.

In particular, Kiner said the inventory of affordable family homes is small right now.

"It's the weather. When the weather warms up, that phone will start ringing like crazy. Well, maybe not my phone, but other realtors," Kiner said, laughing.

Courthouse deputy hired

The commission approved the hire of Josh Peterson to become the courthouse's new deputy. He will be stationed in the building during normal business hours beginning March 17.

Peterson, 37, who was not present at the meeting, has experience as a police officer and is a volunteer reserve police officer for the city of Mitchell. He also serves on the county's search and rescue team.

"He's a local guy who is easy to get along with and he knows everybody," Davison County Sheriff Steve Brink said. "I think he'll be a good fit."

At the Feb. 25 meeting, Brink discussed the desk space that the new deputy might use, which is still being mulled. Tuesday, Brink reaffirmed the need to have the new deputy centrally located in the building near the south doors.

The courthouse deputy position was created recently after lengthy talks about the need for increased security at the building.

Other business

In other business Tuesday, commissioners:

• Passed a resolution regarding supplementing budgets for computer equipment, which uses $20,000 for the capital outlay fund to keep computers and software updated.

• Approved the $3,000 purchase of new desks for the Register of Deeds Office, which is utilizing more electronic indexing equipment and has current desks that are too small for multiple computer monitors for each desk.

• Approved a 50 cent raise for Deputy Cory Shamatt after a standard six month probationary period following his hiring.

• Approved the annual memorandum of understanding between SDSU Extension and the county, which splits the annual cost of the 4-H adviser's salary.

• Formally confirmed the 2014 starting wages for jail employees for Davison County, which will be $13.88 to start and $14.41 after a mandatory probation period passes.

• Approved a raffle ticket request from the Davison County Democrats, who are planning to sell 300 tickets at $5 apiece for money prizes.

• Discussed the commission's move to its location on North Main Street, where renovations are being done to the North Annex building with an expected completion date in two to three weeks.

• Surplused the county's law library on the fourth floor of the courthouse after the local historical society formally indicated it was not interested in the old books.

• Approved outstanding bills, timesheets, payroll and the minutes from the last regular meeting.