By Tim Huether
James Cross of the Oglala Sioux Tribe met with the Bennett County Commissioners and said he had good news about the Allen Road project that has been in the works for many years.
Cross said Hahn/Foothills LLC. has been awarded the bid to construct the new road through Allen, including a sidewalk, for $6.8 million.
The project is four miles and goes from where the recent paving project left off and goes to the turn on the highway heading towards Kyle.
“Finally, after all these years,” said Cross. “We’ve been working on this for nine years. The completion date will be in November, weather permitting.”
Cross said he also visited with commissioner Rolf Kraft about the issue of snow removal on the Allen Road and said they have been working together, with a joint effort from the County and the BIA on snow removal.
The tribe is also looking at getting scales and having their people trained on using them to help with the issue of overweight trucks on the road causing damage. Cross said they would like to get the weight limit signs up with the spring thaw coming. The weight limit is 6 tons on the BIA roads.
“We want to protect our investment for things like the Allen Road,” said Cross. “It may be the last time we see money for this road.”
The commissioners met with Mary Thomsen regarding Community Action. Thomsen told the commissioners she wanted to explain to them what she does and to clarify a report at the March 1 meeting that suggested her mileage expense for the month was $14,000. That amount included several other things and the mileage is only about $250 a month. Auditor Williams explained that she did not have all the information that would have shown that at the last meeting.
Thomsen said they serve about 183 families per month and that they are pretty well self functional, with some donations and items dropped off that can be sold to give them additional financing. She added that her daughter Linda and her husband Mike donated $22,000 to Community Action.
Williams said the Community Action program was the commissioners responsibility originally when it started, but they did not want to do that so Mary took over.
When asked how long she’s been doing it, she replied, “40 years.”
The commissioners discussed hiring two people as seasonal help to haul gravel to try to get caught up on graveling roads.
The commissioners approved hiring Kaye Lessert, part-time deputy treasurer at $9 per hour, effective Feb. 21, 2017.
The April 5 commissioners meeting has been moved to April 11 and the second meeting will stay at April 19.