County Burn Ban

For Immediate Release: Monday, March 30, 2015

CONTACT:  Jerry W. Derr 605.720.1625

 County Burn Ban per Ordinance #27   

Sturgis, SD - Due to the Grassland Fire Danger Index reaching the Extreme Category; Meade County wants to remind the public about current burn bans in place under County Ordinance #27.

This ban is automatically enacted when the National Weather Service’s Fire Danger Index reaches the Very High or greater categories and is automatically suspended when it falls below the Very High category.

Reference to Ordinance # 27: 

No person shall set any Open Fire in Meade County, outside the boundaries of any municipality, when the National Weather Service has declared the Grassland Fire Danger Index to be in the Very High or Extreme category in Meade County.  The prohibition against Open Fire as provided herein shall automatically be suspended during any period the Grassland Fire Danger Index falls below the Very High category in Meade County.

No person may ignite a fire in a Burn Barrel when the National Weather Service has declared the Grassland Fire Danger Index to be in the Very High or Extreme category in Meade County.  The prohibition against Burn Barrels as provided herein shall automatically be suspended during any period the Grassland Fire Danger Index falls below the Very High category in Meade County.

Open Fire:  Means any outdoor fire, including campfires, that is not contained within a fully enclosed fire box or structure from which the products of combustion are emitted directly to the open atmosphere without passing through a stack, duct or chimney.  Open Fire shall not include Charcoal Grills or Liquid Fuel Grills. Open Fire shall not include burn barrels as defined herein.

The ban on open burning (open fire) does not apply to those designated areas falling within the boundaries of any permitted commercial, state or federal campgrounds unless otherwise specifically banned by the Meade County Board of Commissioners.

For more information, please refer to Meade County Ordinance #27 on the County website: www.meadecounty.org

County Burn Ban

For Immediate Release: Monday, March 30, 2015

CONTACT:  Jerry W. Derr 605.720.1625

 County Burn Ban per Ordinance #27   

Sturgis, SD - Due to the Grassland Fire Danger Index reaching the Extreme Category; Meade County wants to remind the public about current burn bans in place under County Ordinance #27.

This ban is automatically enacted when the National Weather Service’s Fire Danger Index reaches the Very High or greater categories and is automatically suspended when it falls below the Very High category.

Reference to Ordinance # 27: 

No person shall set any Open Fire in Meade County, outside the boundaries of any municipality, when the National Weather Service has declared the Grassland Fire Danger Index to be in the Very High or Extreme category in Meade County.  The prohibition against Open Fire as provided herein shall automatically be suspended during any period the Grassland Fire Danger Index falls below the Very High category in Meade County.

No person may ignite a fire in a Burn Barrel when the National Weather Service has declared the Grassland Fire Danger Index to be in the Very High or Extreme category in Meade County.  The prohibition against Burn Barrels as provided herein shall automatically be suspended during any period the Grassland Fire Danger Index falls below the Very High category in Meade County.

Open Fire:  Means any outdoor fire, including campfires, that is not contained within a fully enclosed fire box or structure from which the products of combustion are emitted directly to the open atmosphere without passing through a stack, duct or chimney.  Open Fire shall not include Charcoal Grills or Liquid Fuel Grills. Open Fire shall not include burn barrels as defined herein.

The ban on open burning (open fire) does not apply to those designated areas falling within the boundaries of any permitted commercial, state or federal campgrounds unless otherwise specifically banned by the Meade County Board of Commissioners.

For more information, please refer to Meade County Ordinance #27 on the County website: www.meadecounty.org

Federal Grant Funds Mandatory Replacement of Street / Regulatory and Advisory Signs

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, February 24, 2015

CONTACT: Jerry Derr at 605-720-1625

 Sturgis, SD - To meet new Federal requirements - the street, regulatory and advisory signs in Meade County will be replaced.  A Federal Highway Safety Fund grant was acquired to accomplish this task with no local funds expended.  Currently underway, this project should be completed by July 31, 2015.

Many non-maintained secondary roads will be signed:

  • Stakes will be placed a minimum of ten feet off the shoulder of the road to provide the utility companies locations where signs will be placed.
  • Salvaged signs will be recycled with the required higher reflective sheeting.
  • Signs that can’t be recycled with be sold via surplus auction.  

If you have any questions regarding this project, please contact the Meade County Highway Department at 605.347.4565

TIFD

For Immediate Release: Friday, February 20, 2015

CONTACT: Jerry Derr at 605-720-1625

TIFD Data Projects State Contribution of Over $3 Million to Finishing Fort Meade Way

Sturgis, SD - Meade County has released the first projected revenue data for the proposed TIFD to pay for completing Fort Meade Way. The most conservative estimates indicate payoff of the road in nearly half the time required by statute and about a $3.5 million contribution from the state, through the state school aid formula. 

State aid provides the equalization of funding to districts. Based upon school enrollment and what schools are entitled to through state aid, the district is guaranteed that amount through a combination of local property tax and state property tax. The local property tax puts in the bucket first and then state aid fills whatever is needed to make the district whole to the level they are guaranteed. The establishment of a TIFD would not impact the amount of revenue that the district is entitled to through the state aid formula for the general fund.

“These numbers are a little better than I had thought they would be, and they assume no pipeline or development within the TIFD area. I'm hoping Meade County voters will see the wisdom in allowing the state to pay over $3 million of the cost of finishing Fort Meade Way,” said Chairman Aker.

Meade County TIFD Presentation - 02/19/15

Letter from Stephen R. DiStasio, Director, VA Black Hills Health Care System to Meade County Commission in Support of ‘Fort Meade Way’ Road Project

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, February 18, 2015

CONTACT: Jerry Derr at 605-720-1625

Letter from Stephen R. DiStasio, Director, VA Black Hills Health Care System 

to Meade County Commission in Support of ‘Fort Meade Way’ Road Project

 

Sturgis, SD - On February 13, 2015, Stephen R. DiSatcio, Director, VA Black Hills Health Care System, wrote to Meade County Commissioners, to express support for the proposed - Fort Meade Way road project.  Fort Meade Way is a proposed road project which connects Highways 34, 79 and I-90 via Exit 37. 

Partial Letter: 

“Our health care center serves Veterans from throughout the Black Hills.  When needed, our primary referral center for Veterans requiring a higher level of care is Rapid City Regional Hospital, requiring ambulances to travel from the Fort Meade VA Medical Center into Rapid City.  VA BHHCS employs approximately 700 staff at its Fort Meade medical center, the majority of who live in Sturgis, Rapid City and areas to the east of the medical center.  The majority of the Veterans served by our medical center also travel to the medical center from the east to receive their care. 

VA BHHCS continues to support the construction of this road as an additional access route to alleviate the impact of limited or no accessibility through the S-curves on HWY 34 between Sturgis and Fort Meade.  These impacts include weather obstructions, flooding, vehicle accidents and extraordinary traffic congestion during the Sturgis Rally,” wrote Stephen R. DiStaciao, Director. 

The signed letter is available at: www.meadecounty.org

 

 

County Policy on Staff Overtime Yields Substantial Savings

For Immediate Release: Monday, January 12, 2015

CONTACT: Jerry Derr at 605-720-1625

Sturgis, SD - Meade County has substantially reduced staff overtime costs by approximately $366,000 over three years. "I'm proud we've achieved such a reduction in our overtime. It's the result of the commissions' action in setting realistic goals, and department heads working out how to achieve the goals,” said Commissioner Aker.  

The county experienced a $154,000 savings in FY 2014 vs FY 2010 when overtime expenditures reached an annual high of $293,513. "We've saved this money on overtime without any reductions in our work quality. Some of the county departments will always need to use overtime to respond to unpredictable events, but too much overtime can diminish work quality and safety,” said Commissioner Rausch. 

Commissioner Niederwerder added, “It's all about saving taxpayer dollars.  I know it isn't always easy, but I really appreciate how the department heads have bought into this philosophy.”

Road Naming Project

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, December 31, 2014

CONTACT: Jerry Derr at 605-720-1625

 Public Input Requested for Naming of County Road Project 

Sturgis, SD - Due to a proposed county road project connecting two roads - the Meade County Commission is seeking public input on the renaming of 131st Avenue and Cardinal Place. 

Proposed names have been narrowed down to the Final Four: 

  1.  Hindman Road
  2. Oakley Road
  3. Fort Meade Way
  4. Jumpstart Road 

At the January 15, 2015 commission meeting, the new road name will officially be adopted and will take effect July 1, 2015.

Meade County residents may vote by the following methods: 

  • Onlinewww.meadecounty.org (see link on home page) 
  • Call:  Meade County Commission Office @ 605.720.1625
  • Deadline: January 14, 2015 

Agricultural Tax Exemption

 

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, December 31, 2014
CONTACT: Jerry Derr at 605-720-1625

Agricultural Tax Exemption 

Sturgis, SD - Meade County Commissioners Galen Niederwerder and Alan Aker announced today that they have placed an agricultural tax exemption on the next county commission meeting agenda. 

The tax exemption is the 5 years of zero property tax on newly-constructed business property that is already available county-wide on any new commercial, industrial or multi-family housing structure valued over $30,000 and $10,000 for ag structures. The tax break is called the "discretionary formula" and can be adopted only by counties, but applies to all property in a county, whether it's in city limits or not. The discretionary formula tax break is not available on any new single-family homes. The discretionary formula tax exemption covers all property taxes: county, school, and special districts.  

Currently, the discretionary formula is not available within the newly-formed TIF district (TIFD) the county will use to pay for the new road planned east of Sturgis. The change proposed by Niederwerder and Aker will make ag structures within the TIFD eligible for the discretionary formula, while other commercial structures within the TIFD will remain ineligible. "We're doing this to make sure ag producers within the TIFD have exactly the same taxes and tax breaks available to them as ag producers outside the TIFD," Niederwerder explained.  

"We want new construction at rally venues or other new non-ag businesses benefitting from the road to help pay off the TIFD, but not ag producers," Aker said. "We think the road will function as a less-costly farm-to-market road for a lot of ag producers north of the road, and that's an important benefit to them, but we wanted them to have the tax break anyway, because new ag structures would probably be built with or without the road."  

Meade County's zero-percent-for-five-years tax policy on new construction is the most generous tax break state statute allows. Aker said that as far as he knows, only Fall River County has joined Meade County in offering the full 100% tax break for the full five years as allowed by statute. Additionally, Aker said he believes Meade County offers the tax break to the most kinds of new construction. "I don't think all the counties offer it on ag or multi-family structures, but Meade County wanted everyone who invests in our county to have this tax break." According to Niederwerder, "We welcome all new investment, equally. All of it helps grow our tax base and keep existing landowners' taxes lower." 

Niederwerder said he wanted to remind all Meade County landowners of their opportunity to take advantage of this tax break. "If you can build your shop or grain storage valued over $10,000 in Meade County versus a neighboring county, you'll get a better discretionary formula tax break if you build it here," Niederwerder said.

 

 

Planning Board Opening

For Immediate Release: Friday, December 5, 2014

CONTACT: Jerry Derr at 605-720-1625

Citizens Requested to Serve on the Meade County Planning Board

Sturgis, SD - The Meade County Board of Commissioners is accepting applications from individuals who are interested in serving on the Meade County Planning Board. 

  •  Two (2) Positions Available 
  •  Appointment effective January 2015 
  •  Three (3) year terms 
  •  Meetings are held on the third Monday of each month at 1:00 pm

The Meade County Planning Board is a seven-member advisory Board whose members are appointed by the Meade County Board of Commissioners.  

This Board makes recommendations to the Meade County Commission regarding planning functions and procedures. The Board is tasked with ensuring county planning ordinances are implemented consistently and offers oversight to the growth, planning, and development activities within the County. 

Individuals who want to be considered for an appointment are asked to fill out a Citizen Interest Application form and submit same to the Meade County Board of Commissioners, 1300 Sherman Street, STE 212, Sturgis, SD 57785. Citizen Interest Application available at: www.meadecounty.org via Human Resources Office.

All applications must be received by 5:00 p.m., Friday, December 19, 2014.

131st Ave and Cardinal Place Road Project

For Immediate Release: Monday, December 1, 2014

CONTACT: Jerry Derr at 605-720-1625 

131st Ave and Cardinal Place Road Project 

Sturgis, SD - Recent news articles regarding the Ft. Meade Connector highway east of Sturgis have featured an opponent of the road stating that the county has no plans to improve Cardinal Place or Pleasant Valley Road. Those statements are incorrect.  The commission has unanimously voted to expend money to get cost estimates for improvement of the entire route to standards which would accommodate truck traffic.  The design work the commission has authorized will also include estimates for a new intersection at Pleasant Valley Road and Cardinal Place in which the traffic on the newly-constructed road would not have a stop sign.  The commission has approved a preliminary alignment of the road but has not adopted a final alignment or design for the road.  

"Right now, we're taking input from engineers and taxpayers and landowners about how the road should look and the precise route," said Commission Chair Alan Aker.  "The commission is sensitive to how the road will affect homeowners on Cardinal Place and is open to ideas about how to minimize the impact on them.  However, I don't think the commission is interested in a route which entirely bypasses Cardinal Place.  We've studied the route ourselves, and we've already paid for professional engineering.  Everything we've seen tells us the best place for the road is the section line right-of-way we already have at Cardinal Place.  It's the shortest route, it's the route which maximizes economic development, it's the least-steep route, it's the easiest to maintain, it's the cheapest to build, and it's the safest."

Aker also challenged the allegation that the road will destroy the residential nature of the neighborhood. "These are fairly large lots, and with the curves we'll have in the road, this will not be a high-speed part of the road.  It won't be like having an interstate highway right out the front door of a quarter-acre lot in a town.  Some people like being on a major paved road, and some don't.  But I have no doubt that these lots will hold their value after the road is built.  We have other major, paved, connecting roads in the county which have high-value residences along them, including New Underwood Road, Sturgis Road, and Elk Creek Road.  One thing we know for sure about this road is that it will be one of the first ones plowed after a snowstorm, because our county shop is on the north end of it." 

Aker also disputed that the road is being built to accommodate the 75th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. "Our commission has consistently pursued economic development in the county.  We need growth. You can see that in the 5-year property tax break we offer to new construction of businesses and ag structures.  You can see that in other highways we're in the process of paving, such as Elk Vale Road. You can see that in our building permit fees, which are among the lowest in the area.  You can see that in our platting requirements, which were designed to minimize costs for developers.  Growth is the best way we have of lowering the tax burden on our ag landowners and our homeowners.  On top of that, Ft. Meade officials have been very clear that they need another route to the Veteran's Hospital.  If we do nothing, and lose that hospital in the future, it will be an economic calamity for Meade County and Sturgis.  I haven't heard a single one of the five commissioners say they want to build the road for the Rally." 

The Meade County Commission will take public comments on the project tomorrow at 1 p.m. at the Union Center Community Center and again on December 10 at 1 p. m. in the Erskine County Office Building in Sturgis.

For further questions, please contact your county commissioners at: 

Alan Aker: 390.6515

Bob Heidgerken: 484.2636

Galen Niederwerder: 754.6194

Linda Rausch: 391.2136

Bob Bertolotto: 490.1500

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions on Proposed Road / TIF Projects

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, November 25, 2014

CONTACT:  Jerry W. Derr 605.720.1625

 Frequently Asked Questions on 131st Ave / Cardinal Place Road Project  

Sturgis, SD -  The Meade County Commission continues to inform and seek public input on the proposed 131st Ave & Cardinal Place road project and financing opportunity via a Tax Increment   Financing (TIF) district. To address some common questions on the proposed projects, please see the following Q&A:  

Why Build this Road?  

Ft. Meade VA Hospital officials have stated, in public meetings with the county commission, over a period of years, that they need a secondary access for the 12,800 veterans they serve, as well as their 700+ employees. They need the access in case of emergencies, and also for the convenience of the many veterans they serve from south of Sturgis. We should not assume the federal government will continue to view Ft. Meade as a desirable place to maintain and improve as a VA hospital. The suitability of any given site for a hospital is heavily dependent on how long it takes to get there for patients, and good emergency access. Our current road system makes Ft. Meade a less-desirable location for a hospital.  

The road will save travelers time and money. The purpose of a highway system is to move people and goods as quickly and safely as possible. The Meade County Transportation Plan has listed this as a future major road since 2008 when that plan was enacted by unanimous vote of the commission.

It will improve access to tourism resources such as Ft. Meade Recreation Area, the Cavalry Museum, Bear Butte State Park, and Motorcycle Rally venues, which will promote growth in our tourism sector. 

Currently, Lazelle Street is the only route for trucks to get through Sturgis. If Lazelle is under construction, or if there is a flood or landslide or a spill of toxic or dangerous items hauled by truck, the nearest truck-worthy detours are Belle Fourche to the West and Phillip to the east. The new road will help relieve heavy truck pressure on Lazelle Street, which would make it a more desirable site for retail and service businesses. Trucks going through Sturgis do not now, and will never, spend significant money in Sturgis due to lack of truck parking.  Modern truck-stops take vastly more acreage than will ever be available at either of the existing Sturgis exits. Trucks going through Sturgis obscure signs and entryways for businesses, increase noise, and increase traffic congestion.  

The highway 79/34 junction is an important junction.  A road connecting that junction with I-90 would eventually become the location for new businesses and subdivisions, which would bring in additional property tax revenue for Meade County, which can be used to keep taxes lower and/or improve other county roads. There is no other road segment Meade County could build which would have a greater impact on the tax base and job creation. 

Won't the Existing Parts of the Road be too Narrow to Accommodate the Traffic?

131st Ave on the north will need some minor work to serve as a major county road, but no re-alignment is needed.  The junction of 131st Ave, Alkali, and Highway 34 will need a reconfiguration, but that is true with or without construction of the new road, and the state is already working on that. Cardinal Place on the south end does need some widening and improved drainage. The junction of Cardinal Place and Pleasant Valley Road needs some work.  Pleasant Valley Road is already a major county road, but it also needs some work.  The county's funding plan allows for all these improvements.

Is there a Better Route for the Road?

The county commissioners have studied different routes for the road.  They have personally traveled the route they chose.  It is the most direct route between the 34-79 junction and I-90.  It is the lowest-cost route to build and to maintain.  The county ruled out any route connecting the 34-79 junction with the National Cemetery exit for many reasons:  any such route would require approval of the BLM, and their management plan does not allow for a major connecting road.  Also, that exit is less conducive to truck traffic and would cause traffic flow issues with residents of the Blucksberg subdivision. Further, a major road through the BLM would not stimulate as much new construction as a road through private land. 

Why Not Wait for the State to Build the Highway?

The state is in preservation mode and is not building new highways.  The county commission has communicated with the South Dakota Department of Transportation, and they have clearly stated they have no plans to build the road.  The planned reconstruction of the old portion of I-90 between Black Hawk and Tilford has been taken off the state's construction plan.  When the state again has the ability to undertake new construction, this and all the portions of Interstates 90 and 29 which have not been rebuilt will have to come first, because they are already past their design lives.  It will be two and possibly many more decades before the state will build this highway.  

Didn't the State Decide the Highway Wasn't Justified?   

No.  The state had an agreement with Meade County to build the highway until that agreement expired January 1, 2010.  The state does not spend money on preliminary work or make agreements to build highways until it has decided for sure that a highway is needed.  

Will We Lose the Opportunity for this to be a State Highway Later if the County Builds it Now? 

No. The South Dakota Legislature, with the Governor's signature, makes all determinations on adding or dropping highways from the state system.  The federal government has no authority to, and no history of, telling a state which roads it can add to its highway system. 

Does the County Have the Needed Right-of-Way to Build the Road?

Much of the road is on a section line, where the right-of-way already exists.  The county is currently negotiating to acquire the additional right-of-way needed for the route it has approved for the road.   

How Will the County Pay for the Road? 

The county plans to use TIF to build the road, which allows the state of South Dakota to pay approximately two-thirds the cost of the road.  Here's how it works:  the county forms a TIF district and sells bonds to build the road. The increased property taxes from any new increase in value within the TIF district is diverted to a fund to pay off the bonds.  The State of South Dakota, through the school aid formula, gives the schools an amount of money equivalent to what they would have had if the new property tax revenue had not been diverted to pay off the bond.  The county commission will finalize the boundaries of the TIF district and finalize the amount of the bonds as design work progresses. The commission will get professional advice on how much new value to expect within the boundaries of the TIF district during the statutory 20-year pay-back period. The goal of the commission is to be conservative in estimating how much new construction and/or new value will occur, and to form a district large enough to pay back the bonds early.  

Will My Taxes Go Up? 

No.  State statute caps increases in county property taxes at inflation plus new growth. For the past four years, the county commission has set spending and taxing at a level which is lower than what statute allows.  The creation of a TIF district does not change the statutory limits on county levies. The county commission believes that in the long run, the increased economic development from the road will allow property taxes to continue to be reduced.  

Tax Relief?

Creating this development will vastly broaden the property tax base in Meade County. The best way to keep property taxes as low as possible, is to create new property growth.  Spreading the tax burden over more property will result in a lower mill levy, and lower property tax pressure for everyone.

Will this Increase Economic Development?

The I-90 corridor between Rapid City and Spearfish / Belle Fourche has seen huge growth since the 1970's.  Building this highway will expand and provide a new avenue to continue that development potential in Meade County.  The junction at Highways 79 and 34 is an important intersection; a road connecting this junction with Interstate 90 will become the location for many new businesses and subdivisions.  

 

Special Commission Meeting at Union Center: December 2 @ 1PM

Special Commission Meeting at Union Center 

Sturgis, SD - The Meade County Commission will meet in special session at the Union Center Community Center (Union Center, SD) on Tuesday, December 2 at 1:00 pm. 

The purpose of the meeting is to seek public input on the proposed Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district which is being initiated to fund the proposed 131st Ave / Cardinal Place road project. 

Revised Boundary to Proposed TIF District

For Immediate Release: Friday, November 21, 2014

CONTACT:  Jerry W. Derr 605.720.1625

 Revised Boundary of the Proposed TIF District  

Sturgis, SD - The Meade County commission has revised the boundary of the proposed TIF district it will use to pay for construction of a highway connecting Highways 79 and 34 with the Pleasant Valley Exit on I90.  The change will exclude Blucksburg Subdivision and the area near Brown High School and will include a large amount of land along the Butte County border, extending east to the route of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.  

"We realized the pipeline should be in the district because trucks and workers going to the pipeline will be road users, and because the new property tax from the pipeline will help pay the TIF bond off even faster," said Commission Chair Alan Aker.  "We're not counting on the pipeline being built to pay off the TIF bond.  The TIF boundary encompasses enough other land to pay off the expected road cost well within the 20-year time frame for paying off TIF bonds.  But if the pipeline is built, it will pay off even faster."

Aker said the commissioners have had questions on whether any landowners in the TIF district will pay higher property taxes.  Businesses within the tax increment district will pay the same taxes they would pay if they were not in the district, except they will not get the 5-year discretionary tax break for new construction which is available on commercial projects over $30,000 in the rest of the county. "For homeowners and ag land, there is no difference at all between the taxes you pay in the TIF district and the taxes you pay outside the district, because the discretionary tax break is not available for those kinds of property" Aker said.  "For newly-built ag structures over $30,000, those in the district will not have the 5-year tax break available in the rest of the county," he added.

Aker said the county is not able to take a "wait and see" approach on whether the pipeline will be built.  "If we waited until after the pipeline was built, the new tax revenue from it would go mostly to the state, through reduced support of local schools, and would not go to the fund which will pay off the TIF bond," Aker said.   "One of the big benefits of building the road with the TIF district is that the state winds up paying for about two-thirds of the road, through the hold-harmless provision in the school aid formula," he added.

The Meade County planning commission will hold a public hearing Monday, November 24 at 9 a.m. in the Erskine Building in Sturgis to take public comments and make recommendations to the county commission on the TIF district boundary.  The county commission will then discuss, and may finalize, the boundary at its December 10 regular meeting.  The planning commission is an advisory body, and the final decision on TIF district boundary belongs to the county commission. 

"We're in the public-input phase of this process," Aker said.  "We want to hear from the public on the proposed boundary, and you may see other changes to it as we respond to public input." 

For any questions, please call Chairman Alan Aker at 605.390.6515


Renaming of County Roads - Public Input Requested

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, November 13, 2014

CONTACT: Jerry Derr at 605-720-1625

 

Public Input Requested for Naming of County Road / Project 

Sturgis, SD - The Meade County Commission is seeking public input on the renaming of 131st Avenue and Cardinal Place - due to a proposed county road project connecting the two roads. Public input on road names will be accepted from Meade County residents until December 19, 2014. The list of new road names will be narrowed down to five at the December 23, 2014 commission meeting.  Voting will again be opened up on the ‘final five’ until January 9, 2015.  At the January 14, 2015 commission meeting, the new road name will officially be adopted and will take effect July 1, 2015.

Meade County residents may vote by the following methods: 

  •  Onlinewww.meadecounty.org (see link on home page) 
  • Call:  Meade County Commission Office @ 605.720.1625
  • Mail:  Meade County Commission Office / 1300 Sherman Street STE 212, Sturgis, SD 57785

Planning Board Opening

For Immediate Release: Friday, September 12, 2014

CONTACT: Jerry Derr at 605-720-1625

 

Citizen Requested to Serve on the Meade County Planning Board

Sturgis, SD - The Meade County Board of Commissioners is accepting applications from individuals who are interested in serving on the Meade County Planning Board. 

  •   One (1) Position Available 
  • Appointment effective October 2014 
  • Term ends on 12/31/16 
  • Meetings are held on the third Monday of each month at 1:00 pm

The Meade County Planning Board is a seven-member advisory Board whose members are appointed by the Meade County Board of Commissioners.  

This Board makes recommendations to the Meade County Commission regarding planning functions and procedures. The Board is tasked with ensuring county planning ordinances are implemented consistently and offers oversight to the growth, planning, and development activities within the County. 

Individuals who want to be considered for an appointment are asked to fill out a Citizen Interest Application form and submit same to the Meade County Board of Commissioners, 1300 Sherman Street, STE 212, Sturgis, SD 57785. Citizen Interest Application available at: www.meadecounty.org via Human Resources Office.

All applications must be received by 5:00 p.m., Friday, October 3, 2014.


Meade County Refutes Reports of Ineffective Mountain Pine Beetle Program

Sturgis, SD - Recent news reports cite Meade County of cutting more healthy pine trees than mountain pine beetle  (MPB) infested trees in its (2012-2013) MPB cut-and-chunk program. The information in the reports is not factual.  

Meade County’s MPB program was conducted on forest service lands under the review of the Northern Hills Ranger District Office. Less than 3 percent of trees cut had no sign of infestation.  These uninfected trees were cut to ensure safety of the workers because they were positioned in such a way that they might cause a nearby infected tree to "kick back" at or otherwise injure the cutter.   

The false information about Meade County's MPB eradication efforts was released by SDSU Professor John Ball of Brookings, who has a different definition of "infested" than the forest service.  Meade County's instructions from the forest service were to cut all trees which had evidence of attack by three or more pine beetles. Those instructions were followed. Forest service personnel inspected Meade County’s MPB work and provided the county with written reports with comments which characterized the work as "excellent" and another stated, "overall, the work was completed to specifications."  

Aside from the differences in the definition of "infected" tree, there are other reasons the Meade County Commission disputes news accounts that Meade County cut more healthy trees than infested trees: 

1)  John Ball himself is quoted as saying he did not sample a sufficient number of cutting sites to make a reliable report, even under his definition of "infected."

2)  John Ball's data, as reported in recent news articles, differs significantly from data he released earlier in the year to Meade and other counties.

John Ball has also been critical of the fact that Meade County continued cut-and-chunk operations last year past his recommended deadline of March 1. The Meade County agreement with the forest service specified a cut-and-chunk deadline of May 1, which differs from the professor's recommendation. Meade County followed the cutting period specified in its contract with the forest service.  Meade County releases the following March 1, 2013 email exchange on that issue between Ball and Commissioner Alan Aker, who was supervising the Meade County program at that time:

"Aker: Hi John, Please forward your study on effectiveness of cut-and-chunk at different times and sites.  I would like to learn more.  Thanks, Alan

Ball: What's the point?  You are not following it anyway.

Aker: That's a surprising response.  And disappointing.  I'll see if I can find it on the web.

Ball:  We will send some info in a week or two (we prepared findings as a poster for the Western Forest Insect Conference next week).  I can send as a pdf afterwards as well as the paper.  However Kurt and I have presented the data numerous times and we are disappointed and puzzled why you would ignore this and continue cutting beyond the timeline.  What is your justification?"

 

Meade County Planning Board Opening

For Immediate Release: Monday, November 25, 2013

CONTACT: Jerry Derr at 605-720-1625

Citizen Requested to Serve on the Meade County Planning Board

Sturgis, SD - The Meade County Board of Commissioners is accepting applications from individuals who are interested in serving on the Meade County Planning Board. 

 One (1) Position Available 

 Appointment effective January 2014 

 Five (5) Year Term 

Meetings are held on the third Monday of each month at 1:00 pm

The Meade County Planning Board is a seven-member advisory Board whose members are appointed by the Meade County Board of Commissioners.  

This Board makes recommendations to the Meade County Commission regarding planning functions and procedures. The Board is tasked with ensuring county planning ordinances are implemented consistently and offers oversight to the growth, planning, and development activities within the County. 

Individuals who want to be considered for an appointment are asked to fill out a Citizen Interest Application form and submit same to the Meade County Board of Commissioners, 1300 Sherman Street, STE 212, Sturgis, SD 57785. Citizen Interest Application available at: www.meadecounty.org via Human Resources Office.

All applications must be received by 5:00 p.m., Friday, December 27, 2013.