Elected Officials Take Oath of Office

Four Meade County officials took oaths of office on Tuesday, January 3rd. They were sworn in by 4th Judicial Circuit Judge Jerome A. Eckrich.  

  • State’s Attorney Kevin Krull
  • Treasurer Susan Boadwine
  • Commissioner Doreen Creed
  • Commissioner Ted Seaman
State's Attorney Kevin Krull 

State's Attorney Kevin Krull 

Treasurer Susan Boadwine

Treasurer Susan Boadwine

Commissioner Ted Seaman and Commissioner Doreen Creed 

Commissioner Ted Seaman and Commissioner Doreen Creed 

Notes from Commissioner Doreen Creed

New Meade commissioners take office; board addresses statutory duties, appointments

(Note: Residents can expect a short synopsis of the Meade County Commissioners’ twice monthly meetings. Authorship of the articles will be on a rotation basis between members. District 2 Commissioner Doreen Creed was directed to write the first one for 2017. This meeting was abnormally short and limited in scope.)

Tuesday marked a significant change on the Meade County Commission. Joining the five-member board were two new members: Ted Seaman of Piedmont; and Doreen Allison Creed of Sturgis. The pair defeated incumbents Alan Aker and Bob Bertolotto in the June primary election.

The morning also marked incumbents, State’s Attorney Kevin Krull, and Treasurer Susan Boadwine being administered the oath of office by Fourth Circuit Judge Jerome Eckrich. The terms for all four positions is four years.

Galen Niederwerder and Linda Rausch were the lone candidates for the chairman and vice-chairman positions.

The bulk of the commissioners’ annual meeting centered on county management statutory requirements concerning bank depositories, publication of notices, approval of salaries adopted during the budget process last September, setting meeting dates for the year, and dozens of appointments.

The board interviewed three of the five individuals, who applied for two positions on the Meade County Planning Commission. The two residents selected for the four-year terms were: Frank Watson and Richard Liggett. 

Liggett was a member of the City of Summerset Commission for three years. He also served on Summerset’s Planning and Zoning Board. He has since moved outside the city limits. The engineer has 16-years experience in the profession working for Wyoming and South Dakota municipalities.

Watson, a two-year board incumbent, has 40 years-experience in the construction business. He is also a board member of the Blucksberg Road District.

This seven-member planning board, which includes one commissioner, meets the second Monday of each month. It serves in an advisory capacity to the commissioners on sub-division plats, variance requests and development as outlined in Ordinance 20. The county has no zoning.

Commission chair Niederwerder deferred two agenda topics to the board’s Wednesday, Jan. 25 agenda. Creed had placed both items on the board’s schedule: The rate of pay for county employees working holidays; and county’s contract with the S.D. Department of Health for a county nurse position. 

The commissioners’ regular meetings are the second and fourth Wednesdays each month starting at 8:30 a.m. in the Erskine Building. Because the board met Jan. 3 as required by state statute, it will not meet Jan. 11.

Notes from Commissioner Galen Niederwerder

The Meade County Commission met in session Wednesday, November 23rd.

We always begin the meeting with a prayer led by one of the Commissioners, and since it was the day before Thanksgiving, I shared a story about  the first and second Thanksgivings.  It’s a very interesting story, but too long to go into here; you should Google it.

The one item that seemed to have everyone’s attention was Commissioner Alan Aker’s offer to resign, if asked by the Commission to do so.  That offer apparently stemmed from an article in the Meade County Times and Rapid City Journal, noting his absences from several meetings over the last few months since his reinstatement.  That article led to an editorial in the Journal calling for his resignation. This offer was very unusual, to say the least, and I do not know why he made it.  None of his fellow commissioners had ever considered asking him to resign; it’s a pretty slippery slope once board members start calling for fellow members to resign - you might be the next one asked.

And even if we did want him to, there’s no legal basis for the Commission to do so.  According to Deputy States Attorney Ken Chleborad, the law in South Dakota states a commissioner can only be removed for: misconduct, malfeasance, nonfeasance, crimes in office, drunkenness, gross incompetency, corruption, theft, oppression, or gross partiality.  And it takes a court action to accomplish that; the Board does not make such a determination.  So, as Chair, I declined to allow discussion on the item; the other Commissioners could have over-ruled the chair, but no-one made a motion to do so.

We also discussed placing a guard rail in front of a house, which is too close to the public right-of-way on Ft. Meade Way.  An accident occurred there after the storm and came within several feet of the dwelling.  The only reason I placed it on the agenda was to address a potentially dangerous situation; however, remarks from the homeowner quickly sunk into a diatribe of accusations against the Sheriff’s Office.  Sheriff Ron Merwin wasn’t able to be at the meeting, and Commissioner Aker spoke up to stop the homeowner from continuing her verbal assault until the Sheriff could be available to defend himself and his department.  To his credit, the Sheriff has agreed to meet with a group of homeowners regarding speed enforcement, and the Commission will also take up the matter at our first meeting in December. 

There are two positions open on the Planning Board, and we are soliciting applications at this time.  (Just contact the Commissioner’s Office.)  I would like to see some applications from the rural part of the county; even though we’re not affected as much out here, it would be nice to get a different perspective sometimes.  The pay is $100 per meeting, plus mileage.

We were honored to recognize as Veteran of the Month Mr. Ben Wallace.  Ben served four tours of duty in Vietnam; a total of 49 months.  He re-upped for a fifth, but his commanding officers sent him home.  He lived for many years in California, before deciding to move to Sturgis after attending the Rally several times.  By the way, he said the Fort Meade Veteran’s Center is the best VA Center he’s ever visited.  Thank you again, for your service, Ben.

Notes from Commissioner Robert Heidgerken

Robert Heidgerken - District 5 

Robert Heidgerken - District 5 

Our Veteran of the Month is Mr. Keith Marshall.  Thank you for your service.

The 2017 budget took up most of our time at our last commission meeting. The biggest item was the highway department.  The proposed highway budget for 2017 is just over $7 million which nearly equals our highest highway budget ever of $7.1 million for 2016.  

We will be replacing or repairing five bridges with monies from the state bridge fund.  This is available to us because of the wheel tax and submitting a 5 year highway plan to the State. We plan on crushing $750,000 worth of gravel; it will take a while, but this should improve some of our roads. We also budgeted $65,000 to engineer the south part of New Underwood Road to the County line to straighten out the curve at the top of the hill.  We will do this project at the same time Pennington County does their side. 

Other 2017 budget items included allocations to Faith Library at $9,000, Piedmont Library at $15,000, and Sturgis Library at $24,231. Elk Creek Conservation District was budgeted $20,000 and Tri-County Conservation District at $10,000 with an additional $11,000 (one time opportunity) for equipment purchase. Sturgis Economic Development Committee was allotted $25,000,  SDSU 4-H was budgeted $31,000 and the Meade County Fair Board at $8,500. 

Highway Superintendent Lincoln Shuck is trying a new treatment for dust control and to stabilize the road bed on Avalanche Road.  This is the road to the Sturgis city dump.  If this holds up for more than two years as advertised, it could replace some of the mag water we now use.  Hopefully, it will not be as messy on cars or as icy in the winter.

The highway department will be doing dig outs and repairs on the New Underwood Road.  They will also be working with the State to begin weighing trucks at this location - so be aware.  The Commission asked for bids on the Elm Springs Road to be opened on August 24th for the rebuild of the road on the north side of Alkali Creek.  We will replace the deck of the bridge at the same time.  These are just a few of the projects we discussed, more to come later.

FEMA presented a Community Rating System Certification Award to Meade County.  

Meade County is the only county in the State of South Dakota that has qualified all residents in the floodplain for a reduction in their flood insurance rates. Deputy Director of Planning Bill Rich and Jennifer Williams did the GIS work to get this award.  Good work Bill and Jennifer!

The Commission approved all the new/transfer of alcohol licenses for the Full Throttle Saloon & Campground LLC and to Pappy Hoel Campground.  Both are owned by Mr. Ballard.

The Commission also designated Fort Meade Way as a Beautification Area.  This will limit billboards to business property for self-identification.

And finally, we issued a Drought Disaster Declaration for Meade County.  This is the first step for state aid for fire fighting and other programs. 

Enjoy the cool weather while it lasts!