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Davison County approves $10.95 million budget, down 4 %

The Davison County commissioners approved a $10.95 million budget for 2014 at their regular meeting Tuesday at the courthouse in Mitchell.

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The county’s total budget for 2014 is about 4 percent less than this year’s budget, which is approximately $11.4 million.

The commissioners approved a provisional version of the 2014 budget at a meeting earlier this month, following weeks of adjustments.

The general fund, which covers daily operations for county business, is budgeted at $7.538 million for 2014, about 1.5 percent less than this year’s general fund budget of $7.654 million.

The county’s road and bridge budget for 2014 is $2.855 million, nearly 11 percent less than this year’s budget of $3.206 million. At a meeting earlier this month, Highway Superintendent Rusty Weinberg said the lower budget means 12 miles of roads in the county will not receive chip-andseal treatment next year.

The difference in the highway budget is largely responsible for the difference between this year’s budget and the 2014 budget.

“We were more ambitious in trying to put more money in from reserve last year,” said Commission Chairman John Claggett.

The commissioners will have to supplement the budget as needed in the future, which most likely means the total budget for 2014 will eventually exceed this year’s budget, Claggett said.

“We try to push our highway dollars whenever we can,” he said. “We end up supplementing them quite a bit.”

The commissioners also hold some funds in reserve, including a contingency fund intended for emergencies, Claggett said.

The budget for emergency management in the county will be $81,382 in 2014. That’s down slightly from the $82,517 budgeted this year.

The county’s 2014 budget also includes $5,500 for domestic abuse, $10,200 for modernization and preservation, $61,170 for the 24/7 Sobriety program, $223,000 for 911 service and $175,000 for debt service.

Other business

In other business, the commission:

• Approved pay increases for staff members at the jail moving out of their probationary-hire period, and approved the hiring of two new full-time and one part-time corrections officers.

• Approved a request from the Davison County Sheriff’s Office to pursue a highway safety grant from the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.

• Approved a raffle request from Helping Hands Pantry, with the drawing to be held Nov. 9.

• Discussed monthly reports from the county’s Veterans Service Office with Veteran Services Officer Steve McClure.

• Discussed the possibility of upgrading exterior and main floor camera systems with Emergency Management Director Jim Montgomery.

• Approved a $2,076 bid, plus $45 per hour, from Montgomery Furniture to replace the aging carpet in the second floor judge’s chambers and two adjoining offices at the courthouse.

• Tabled a request from Treasurer Christie Gunkel to reclassify and increase wages for two employees in the treasurer’s office.

• Discussed the tax-exempt status of a 30-acre parcel of land near Cabela’s that was purchased by Avera Queen of Peace Hospital for $1.6 million earlier this year or late last year from the Mitchell Area Development Corp. but is not being used, which caused commissioners to question the tax-exempt designation.