Sheriff, jail departments say they can't meet OT budget

The Davison County Sheriff and Jail Departments are over budget in 2014 for overtime pay, but the heads of those respective departments say it's unavoidable.

The Davison County Sheriff and Jail Departments are over budget in 2014 for overtime pay, but the heads of those respective departments say it's unavoidable.

According to figures through the end of November, the sheriff's budget has spent $23,000 on overtime pay. It's worse for the jail, which has spent $81,000 in overtime through November. For 2014, the county only budgeted $10,000 and $15,000 for the respective departments.

The topic received attention from the Davison County commissioners during their regular meeting Tuesday at the county's North Offices in Mitchell. Sheriff Steve Brink and Jail Administrator Don Radel each attributed the high payments to both departments needing people available 24 hours a day. In the case of the jail, four people must staff the building at all times, Radel said.

"It's the same old problem we've had," Brink said. "I won't ever be close to that $10,000 that's being budgeted. It absolutely won't happen. When we have storms and accidents, I need those guys, and I'll use them."

Radel said the county jail has dealt with high turnover, losing eight employees in 2014, or 30 percent of the staff. He said the county's jail has become a stepping stone job in some respects, because the county can't pay as much as other corrections jobs in the state. The county is one full-time employee and three part-time employees short of a full staff.


It could also be the case of less-than-ideal budgeting on the county's part, which Brink said has remained steady. In 2013, the county spent $56,418.84 on overtime for jail employees and $22,721.84 for sheriff's department employees.

"If we're consistently over it, we should budget better," said commissioner Randy Reider. "It's not a realistic figure, if you're three times over it every year."

Brink said he takes responsibility for the cost overruns in his department, saying there are places to cut back. But he also said incidents that occur at all hours of the day mean that the county will have to pay overtime.

"I'm not going to tell you that I can pull that overtime budget down and cut it in half," Brink said. "When we have to go, it is what it is. I can make a little difference, but it's not a lot."

The county will supplement each of the two departments' budgets during their final meeting of the year on Dec. 23.

Tax deed sales approved, another auction coming

Even though the bids were only for a total of $600, the commissioners approved the two respective bids for properties taken on tax deed Dec. 11 and voted to hold another auction early in 2015 for the three properties that were unsold.

The $500 bid for a property at 219 N. Second Street in Ethan by Aaron Gerlach and a $100 bid from Doug Carlson for Lot 7 on Bonnie Court in Perry Township were both accepted by the commissioners. In accepting the bids, the commissioners said the most important part of the sale was to get the properties back on the tax rolls.


Commissioners Denny Kiner and John Claggett said they had a lot of calls regarding the sale of the properties the day after the auction. Callers told the commissioners they didn't know about the sale or expressed regret about not being on hand to buy.

"My phone just about melted the other day," Claggett said.

Public notices ran in the legals section of The Daily Republic on Nov. 29 and Dec. 10, but the commissioners said they need to do a better job of advertising the sales to citizens.

"It needs to be advertised in a fashion that the normal public should see it," commissioner Brenda Bode said. "We need to have our plan in place when we take the property."

But at the same time, Deputy State's Attorney Jim Taylor had a reminder for the commission.

"We're not in the real estate business," Taylor said. "We're in the tax collection business."

Three properties -- a home located at 708 W. Sixth Ave. in Mitchell, Lot 31 in The Island subdivision in the northwest part of Mitchell and an outlot in the 100 block of West 15th Avenue -- that did not sell are scheduled to be sold via absolute auction some time in the next two to three months. An absolute auction means the property will be sold regardless of minimum bid and without a reserve.

The tax deed sale method might become more common for the county. Claggett said Davison County Treasurer Christie Gunkel has indicated that more properties will likely be subject to tax deed sale, as well.


County approves electric work permit

The Davison County Commission approved an application from East River Electric Power Cooperative -- which is the wholesale electric power provider for Central Electric Cooperative -- to build a new overhead transmission line and occupy 257th Street southeast of Mitchell in the process.

Ron Golden, of Madison-based East River, brought the request on Tuesday, as the cooperative is building a new 19.8 mile line that will run from Mount Vernon south to 257th Street and continue into Hanson County to 416th Avenue and back west 1 mile to meet with an existing transmission line.

The road occupancy permit was needed for a half-mile stretch in Prosper Township where East River will build in the road's right of way. Golden said the poles will be placed on the north side of the road, 2 feet into the right of way in that area.

The agreement signed by the county, Golden said, requires East River to pay to take down lines or poles if the county needs to do maintenance or construction on the roadway.

Golden said construction is expected to start in January and the new line is expected to be operating in August.

Other business

In other business Tuesday, the commissioners:


• Approved a request for an easement from Robert Hornstra, of Northern Plains Land Services, on behalf of Northwestern Energy, to remove the company's yellow natural gas regulators that located in the north ditch along West Havens Avenue in front of the Davison County Fairgrounds. The company is taking those regulators out along the road, Hornstra said.

• Held a discussion regarding the land behind the Davison County North Offices and decided to continue dialogue with the city of Mitchell.

• Approved a request from the county's nurses to attend the region Christmas party Thursday in Mitchell.

• Received a facility use agreement from Taylor that will be used between Avera Queen of Peace and the county for the Davison County Fairgrounds athletic training facilities.

• Approved bills and the previous meeting's minutes.

Traxler is the assistant editor and sports editor for the Mitchell Republic. He's worked for the newspaper since 2014 and has covered a wide variety of topics. He can be reached at
What To Read Next
Get Local