Davison County board, treasurer agree on passport proceduresThe commissioners agreed to go along with reduced passport service times, and Veldheer will work toward having more personnel trained to process passports.
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
The Davison County Commission and Treasurer Brenda Veldheer reached a truce Tuesday on the contentious topic of passport service.
The commissioners have been pressing for passport service any time the Treasurer’s Office is open. Both sides claimed public support Tuesday for their stances.
Veldheer told the commissioners during their regular weekly courthouse meeting that her office processes about 20 passports a month and the service brings the county only $6,000 a year.
The commissioners later agreed, albeit reluctantly, to go along with reduced passport service times, and Veldheer will work toward having more personnel trained to process passports.
“I want to keep lines moving,” Veldheer told the commissioners.
Veldheer has limited passport service to 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday at the courthouse — and by appointment any day — to free up her staff to handle auto registrations, tax receipts and other business.
Her office has been averaging 35 vehicle title transfers on most days and 50 to 60 title transfers on Fridays, in addition to issuing tags for normal auto registrations and collecting taxes, she said.
“The main point is to have someone in the office at all times who is trained to take passports,” Commissioner Denny Kiner said.
Veldheer said she is pursuing online passport training.
“But training is a moot point since we can’t have more than one station doing passports at one time, anyway,” she said.
“People have been accommodating about passports,” Veldheer said. “It’s not like auto tags where residents face a penalty if it’s not done.”
Passport customers also understand that the Mitchell Post Office offers an alternate passport location if her staff is not immediately available.
Commissioners Gerald Weiss and Kiner refused to weigh county income against service.
“It’s not a matter of what provides the most income, but that the service we (offer) provides the best possible service,” Kiner said.
Darlene Bergeleen, state Department of Health administrator for the office of family and community health, told the commissioners that Davison County will still have full coverage when community health nursing positions are replaced.
She explained that several assignments are being readjusted, but the county will have sufficient personnel for the Women, Infants and Children program, family planning and community nursing services.
In recent months, the commissioners have bemoaned the loss of former community health nurses Connie Fergen and Shannon Tobin. Natalie Van Drongelen is currently in charge at the county nursing offices. Bergeleen said it was her understanding that Fergen and Tobin resigned to take higher paying positions.
“They were doing a wonderful job,” Weiss said.
The commissioners also wondered why DOH Regional Supervisor Deb Haak wasn’t present at Tuesday’s meeting.
“It seems there’s been a problem with Deb Haak,” said Commissioner Jerry Fischer. “If something doesn’t change, we’re going to lose a lot of good people.” Emergency Management Director Jim Montgomery, who was in the audience, said of Fergen’s resignation, “It’s a travesty she’s no longer there. She loved the job.” Bergeleen offered no response to the comments. After the meeting she told Claggett that she prefers dealing with such matters in private session.
Roads and plans
Highway Superintendent Rusty Weinberg received a commission OK to grind up and rebuild two areas of roads — a deteriorating seven-mile stretch of Betts Road from Highway 16 north to 247th Street, and two miles of 247th Street east between 403rd and 405th avenues as soon as weather will allow.
Grinding the roads is the first phase of the project.
In 2013, the county will repave the nine miles with a 3-inch mat of asphalt, estimated to cost about $1.6 million. Grinding and prepping the road base is essential before laying the new asphalt, Weinberg said. Future plans also include, in 2013, grinding up 247th Street west from 403rd to 297th avenues. That same stretch will be repaved in 2014.
Also in 2013, the county will grind and re-compact 404th Avenue between 244th and 247th streets. That will be paved in 2014. Finally, in 2014, county highway crews will reconstruct 406th Avenue between 257th and 265th streets. That stretch will be repaved in 2015.
The commissioners also:
• Set aside an hour on their Feb. 28 agenda to interview Kim Weitala and Bryan Dixon, applicants for the seat of former Commissioner David Weitala, who died of a heart attack Jan. 17.
Claggett said the commissioners will meet afterward in executive session to discuss the interviews and decide on an appointment.
• Approved a joint project with the city of Mitchell to chip and seal the two miles of county road leading to the city’s sanitary landfill. The project, according to Ron Olson, the city’s street, sanitation and landfill superintendent, will cost $35,192. The county’s portion will be deducted from the city’s annual $42,000 landfill payment to the county.
• Approved the hire of Civil Design Inc., of Brookings, to inspect the county’s 87 bridges longer than 20 feet in length.
• Approved a $28,345 road-striping agreement with the state of South Dakota.
• Approved 23.5 miles of chip sealing for an estimated $495,000 with fog seal. The project must still be bid, Weinberg said.
• Set highway bids that will be opened at 9:30 a.m. March 20 for supplies and materials.
• Set 10:30 a.m. March 20 as the date to open herbicide bids.
• Approved a letter to be sent to the South Dakota State University Extension Service rejecting details in the county’s memorandum of understanding with SDSU.
The county has no problem sharing the cost of new 4-H Youth Adviser Alice Nickelson with Hanson County, Claggett said, but it does not want to become overly involved with the development of new 12-member advisory committees. Those are program issues, he said.
Nickelson told the commissioners that she still needs volunteers for her respective county committees.
• Noted there will be a meeting of the Davison County Fair Board at the county 4-H Fairgrounds building at 7 p.m. Monday.
In other action Tuesday, Zoning Administrator Dan Sudrla informed the commissioners that he plans to send letters to two county residents requesting compliance with county statutes.
If the letters fail to achieve the desired results the cases will be turned over the state’s attorney for prosecution, he said.
• A notice to Ronald and Debra Baker, of Mount Vernon, that they have not procured the state environmental permits for their animal feeding operation as required by the conditional use permit granted by the county on May 10.
• A notice to Paul Jerke, noting that he has been operating Paul’s Towing and towing vehicles onto property south of Mitchell without the required conditional use permit. The letter orders him to cease and desist business operations pending application and issuance of a CUP.