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County reviews busy 2015 for planning, emergency departments

Last year was a busy one for the county offices managed by Jeff Bathke. At Tuesday's regular Davison County Commission meeting, Bathke gave an overview of a laundry list of accomplishments of the Planning and Zoning and Emergency Management offic...

Last year was a busy one for the county offices managed by Jeff Bathke.

At Tuesday's regular Davison County Commission meeting, Bathke gave an overview of a laundry list of accomplishments of the Planning and Zoning and Emergency Management offices, as well as the Geographic Information System Program and the Drainage and Floodplain Program. The meeting was held at the Davison County North Offices in Mitchell.

Bathke started the presentation with a look at the Planning and Zoning Department, where the county was able to collect $14,676.52 from 118 new permits for plats, conditional uses, variances and building permits. Of the those, 72 were structure permits that added an approximate value of $4,543,758 outside of Mitchell city limits.

Overall, the assessed value in the rural areas of the county increased by 11.3 percent, nearly four times the 2.96 percent increase in overall assessed value of the land within Mitchell city limits. According to Bathke's report, only Mount Vernon's assessed value dropped in 2015 with a reduction of 1.92 percent.

Bathke followed the planning and zoning report with some of the major accomplishments of the Emergency Management Department. Bathke said the department assisted in the recovery mission following the Delmont tornado last May, installed a new surveillance camera system in the courthouse and assisted in the Department of Health's flu shot distribution.

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Bathke also said $24,193.50 worth of items were purchased with Homeland Security Grant Funds to support new doors and cameras at the John Paul II Elementary School, door alarms at the Mitchell Recreation Center and for a boat trailer for the search and rescue team.

Another major change for Bathke's various offices was the hiring of a deputy administrator. In September, Mark Jenniges replaces Nathan Wegner as the deputy, a selection praised by Commissioner Randy Reider.

"I would say, Jeff, your offices touch a lot of different things within our county, and it just seems like Mark's been here a lot longer than the time he's been here," Reider said. "And I just wanted to say that the speed in which you've gotten on board and caught on is amazing."

Before listing the series of departmental accomplishments, Bathke said the Emergency Management Department responded to 49 events in the county. Most of the events were in support of police calls, fires and severe weather occurrences, but three incidents the department responded to were vehicle-related deaths. Bathke noted that of the three vehicle-related deaths, none of the victims was wearing a seat belt.

Bathke also discussed upcoming events for the Emergency Management Department, which includes the annual mock disaster exercise held in conjunction with Hanson and Hutchinson counties. Bathke said the 2016 event, which will be held next week, will focus on preparing for a train derailment.

"For the amount that we have going through Davison County, we thought it would be a good exercise," Bathke said.

Bathke said the exercise was selected in part due to the nine-car derailment in Bon Homme County last fall.

Other business

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In other regular business Tuesday, the commissioners:

• Heard from Lisbon Township resident Arlis Osen, who had concerns about potholes on 406th Avenue that have damaged his vehicle; and Highway Superintendent Rusty Weinberg said the county plans to start filling the potholes with gravel Wednesday.

• Met with Physical Plant Manager Mark Ruml who said the Davison County Courthouse needs a new hot water heater. The low bid for the installation was $1,648 from Mitchell Plumbing & Heating Company.

• Heard a presentation from Equalization Director Kathy Goetsch and other employees of the Equalization Department to give information to the Consolidated Boards of Equalization in preparation for property value appeals.

• Approved a highway safety grant and approved the hiring of an Experience Works employee.

• Met with Weinberg, who requested leaving the county's spring load limits in effect until April 15.

• Approved Weed Supervisor Warren Carter's request to hire a part-time water truck operator.

• Approved bills and acknowledged volunteers.

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