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County officials fine-tune budget for 2011

The Davison County commissioners continued fine-tuning the 2011 budget Tuesday during their regular meeting at the courthouse in Mitchell.

With the assistance of Sheriff David Miles and Jail Administrator Don Radel, the commissioners made some snips that were satisfactory to both offices.

Modest trimming reduced original sheriff's office expense requests from $518,364 to $500, 236. The commissioners, at Miles' request, restored some funding for a patrol car.

The jail expense requests for 2011, without salaries and benefits, were trimmed from $512,500 to about $461,200. Those expenses and correction officers' wages cost about $1.393 million in 2009. The tentative 2011 budget for those items will be $1.368 million.

In a new development regarding the demolition of the Tower Building, County Maintenance Supervisor Mark Ruml presented the commissioners with two bids for soils compaction testing at the site.

Once the old Methodist hospital is demolished, compaction testing will determine if the materials used to fill the site will provide a sufficiently stable base for any future building projects.

Commissioners awarded a testing contract, not to exceed $5,250, to Geotek Engineering, of Sioux Falls.

Winning demolition bidder Soukup Construction, of Sioux Falls, Ruml said, has asked if it would be acceptable to break up bricks from the building and use some as fill on the property.

"But I haven't heard back from Geotek whether that will be acceptable or not," Ruml said. Geotek would test early layers of the fill material and determine if compaction is acceptable. If it is, Geotek will also perform compaction tests on successive layers of fill.

'The only question would be how much of the (brick) material could be used as fill," Commissioner Dennis Kiner said.

There will be no adjustment to the contract's cost if materials are buried on site, Commission Chairman David Weitala said.

Ruml said subcontractors for Soukup will soon begin removing some vinyl asbestos tiles and windows and doors at the Tower Building on Miller Avenue. Actual building demolition will begin once those materials are removed. Their removal will also weaken the building and speed demolition, Ruml said.

In other business, the commissioners:

n Heard from LifeQuest Executive Director Daryl Kilstrom, who asked for the county's continued support of the community- based organization. Kilstrom said LifeQuest provides daily residential, career and vocational rehabilitation services to 160 area developmentally disabled clients, 49 for whom Davison County is the county of origin.

Aurora, Charles Mix, Douglas, Hanson, Hutchinson and Sanborn counties also use LifeQuest services and provide assistance.

Kilstrom said LifeQuest received no federal stimulus funding and no government reimbursement increases for the fiscal year just ending, and it will receive no increase for the 2010-2011 fiscal year. Additionally, the organization has been forced to eliminate 3.65 full-time staff.

Kilstrom asked the county for $5,000 in 2011, the same amount contributed in 2010, and to consider an additional contribution if the budget allows.

n Discussed, during the public comment segment of the meeting, written complaints and photos submitted by property owner Darin Nemec regarding fires and littering on the 406th Avenue bridge between 249th and 250th streets over Firesteel Creek.

Photos submitted show that an illegal fire on the bridge caused damage to the surface of the bridge's concrete deck. Roadside fires are also common in the area, Nemec wrote.

"The bridge used to be a an appealing place for families to come and fish with their kids, but now it a trashy campground on the weekends with multiple signs of campfires," read the letter.

The commissioners ordered Highway Superintendent Rusty Weinberg to post signs in the area.

Weinberg said signs reading "Fireworks, Fires and Littering are Prohibited" will be posted in a week.

County ordinances already prohibit such actions, he said, but the sign will make it clear.

n Heard from Clerk of Courts Barb McKean, who asked the commissioners for funds to build an expanded counter space at her second floor courthouse office. The counter would provide more space to serve the public, and it will also serve to insulate staff from the occasional disgruntled visitor, she said.

McKean said modular counter systems would not work in the office space, and she offered the commissioners a bid for custom counters from Patzer Woodworking. Commissioners Weitala and Jerry Fischer voted for the proposal and Commissioners John Claggett, Dennis Kiner and Gerald Weiss voted against it and asked McKean to return with several competitive bids.

n Approved the Kotrba Subdivision, a three-way division of about 154 acres of land in Beulah Township among sisters Camilla Kotrba, Suzanne Korzan and Joan Schulz.

n Following two brief executive sessions on personnel, OK'd motions to allow county employees to donate sick time to another employee, and also approved the continued employment of Julie Plaatje for the scanning of records at the Register of Deeds office.