Proceedings: BC Commissioners 1-3-18


Board Of Bennett County Commissioners

Minutes Of Proceedings

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Martin, South Dakota

The Bennett County Board of Commissioners met in regular session Wednesday, January 3, 2018 in the Commissioner’s meeting room.

The meeting was called to order at 9:30 a.m. by Auditor Susan Williams.

Commissioners present: Jason Fanning, Rolf Kraft, Rocky Risse and Wayne Bond.

Absent: Jeff Slattery

Others Present: Susan Williams, Auditor; Taylor Risse, Bennett County Booster; Sarah Harris, States Attorney, Craig Howe, area resident; Jolene Donovan, Treasurer.

Nominations for Chairman

Auditor Susan Williams called for election of Board Chairman. Wayne Bond made a motion to elect Jason Fanning as Chairman. Rocky Risse seconded.

Voting Aye: Wayne Bond, Rolf Kraft and Rocky Risse

Abstain: Jason Fanning

Motion carried.

Chairman Jason Fanning assumed control of the meeting.

Chairman Jason Fanning called for election of Vice Chairman. Rocky Risse made a motion to elect Wayne Bond as Vice Chairman. Rolf Kraft seconded.

All voted aye. Motion carried.

Minutes Approved

The minutes of the regular December 20, 2017 meeting were approved with a motion by Rocky Risse and second by Wayne Bond.

All voted aye. Motion carried

Auditor’s Account with Treasurer

To the Honorable Board of County Commissioners of Bennett County:

I hereby submit the following report of my examination of the cash and cash items in the hands of the County Treasurer of this County as of December 31st, 2017.

Balance on hand – County $3,900,448.19

Cash Change Account $250.00 

Restricted Funds $326,967.38

Savings Accounts $0.00

Cash, Checks, Credit Cards $4,237.46

Treasurer’s Change Fund - $150.00

NSF Checks $0.00

TOTAL $4,232,736.30

Dated this 8th day of January, 2018.


/s/ Susan Williams, Auditor

December Report

Register of Deeds: $2,903.50

2018 County Board

The Commissioners set the following 2018 County Boards: 

Law: Rolf Kraft and Wayne Bond.

Courthouse Building: Jason Fanning and Rolf Kraft.

Medical Facilities: Jason Fanning.

4-H Promotion and Expansion Committee and Fair: Jeff Slattery and Rocky Risse.

Library: Rolf Kraft.

Roads: Jeff Slattery and Rocky Risse.

2018 Yearly Designations

Rolf Kraft made a motion to approve the following designations:

Bennett County Booster II and Lakota Country Times shall be the official newspaper for Bennett County.

Security First Bank and South Dakota Public Investment Trust shall be the depositories of Bennett County funds.

The bulletin board located in the east corridor of the Bennett County Courthouse shall be used for official posting of all official notices for the public.

The following locations will be places for chattel mortgage sales:

The Bennett County Courthouse Courtroom:

For livestock and machinery, the Bennett County Fairgrounds located in the NE ¼ of NW ¼ of Section 20, Township 36 North Range 37 West of the 6th P.M. Bennett County, South Dakota.

The Treasurer is to invest money for the County and at a regular meeting of the Board in January and July of each year to settle with the Board her accounts as Treasurer.

Polling places shall be:

Vetal/Tuthill Precinct-Vetal Fire Hall

Allen Precinct-American Horse School

Martin Rural #26/27 Precinct-Lacreek Electric Building

Martin City Precinct-Library Community Room

The hourly wage for election judges and clerks will be $8.85 plus mileage. Attendance for Election School will be $10.00.

The County per diem will be $6.00-breakfast; $11.00-lunch; $15.00-dinner, with lodging at current State rates if available, and mileage at $.42 per mile.

Indigent burial will be paid at $1,850.00 with cremation the preferred method and paid at $1,200.00

Wayne Bond seconded. 

All voted aye. Motion carried.

Resolution #1-2018

The Board reviewed resolution #1-2018. Wayne Bond made a motion to approve Resolution #1-2018 To Secure Federal Impact Aid Funding in Lieu of Property Taxes on Indian Trust Lands. Rolf Kraft seconded.

All voted aye. Motion carried.


To Secure Federal Impact Aid Funding In Lieu Of Property Taxes On Indian Trust Lands

WHEREAS; Bennett County, South Dakota is in imminent danger of bankruptcy. Local Bennett County Budget Planning shows that without the renewal of the funding opt-out due to expire in 2018, Bennett County will probably default in 2019. South Dakota Legislative Audit documents confirm fiscal instability, and

WHEREAS; Approximately 45% of the total population of Bennett County lives on property tax-exempt trust lands, and

WHEREAS; Approximately one-fourth of Bennett County is trust land accounting for approximately 190,259 total acres, and

WHEREAS; All trust lands are held in trust for Native Americans by the federal government, and

WHEREAS; Monies derived from property taxes are the major source of funds that provide for county services to all residents of the county, and

WHEREAS; People who live on trust property in Bennett County are residents and citizens of the county. They live here, work here, send their children to school here, vote here, hold public offices here, recreate here and are part of the local community, and

WHEREAS; People who live on trust land consume county public services the same as any other county citizen, and

WHEREAS; A Supreme Court ruling in 1831 (Cherokee Nation versus Georgia) determined that the federal government has the sole trust responsibility for Indian peoples wants, and

WHEREAS; The population of Bennett County is 3,431. Only 853 citizens of Bennett County, more or less, are private land owners and pay all local property taxes. With the property tax opt-out, the burden on these tax payers is disproportionate, inequitable and overwhelming, and

WHEREAS; The economy of this rural county is mostly agricultural and there is limited employment available for the number of people living here, and

WHEREAS; Bennett County has traditionally had a high per capita crime rate and is one of the most violent counties per capita in South Dakota. Bennett County, with a population of 3,431 people, had an estimated incarceration rate of 19.5 prisoners per day with highs of 25 prisoners per day during the summer of 2017 or 5.73/1000 persons, which is a very high crime rate for a small rural county when compared with a larger county such as Pennington, with a population of 101,000 people and an estimated incarceration rate of 550 prisoners per day or 5.44/1000 persons, and

WHEREAS; Bennett County budgets approximately $100,000 per year for court appointed attorneys because Bennett County only has one practicing attorney that resides in the county and most attorneys commute to defend their clients in court, and

WHEREAS; Bennett County budgets an additional $80,000 for incarceration of juveniles at $295/day in Rapid City or other distant facilities plus deputy overtime, mileage and administrative costs, and

WHEREAS; All of the current annual real estate property taxes collected by Bennett County is about $3 million, of which $1.8 million goes to the County, $1.08 million to the school district and $157,400 to the City of Martin, and

WHEREAS; If trust lands were taxable, the property tax assessment to Bennett County is estimated at nearly $1 million annually, when land and infrastructure values are considered, and

WHEREAS; Bennett County has opted-out of the State imposed property tax freeze for $350,000 for five years ending with fiscal 2018. The measure is a temporary stop gap measure, but must be renewed to avoid fiscal default in 2019, and

WHEREAS; Bennett County remains in danger of bankruptcy should any future property tax opt-out fail.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Bennett County board of Commissioners requests that the Congress of the United states live up to its obligations under the Supreme Court decision in Cherokee Nation versus Georgia, 1831, and provide funding adequate to fund the county services provided to and for Indian people living on trust lands in South Dakota Counties, if not in a direct payment of estimated property taxes, then in some form of Impact Aid based on the trust land population in the county similar to Impact Aid for Schools.

IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED, that Resolution #1-2018 supersedes Resolution #5-2016.

Motion passed and Resolution #1-2018 adopted this 3rd day of January, 2018.

/s/ Jason Fanning

/s/ Chairman Rolf Kraft

/s/ Jeff Slattery 

/s/ Wayne Bond

/s/ Rocky Risse


/s/ Susan Williams, County Auditor

Bennett County Personnel Policy Manual

Rolf Kraft made a motion to approve the Bennett County Personnel policy manual. Wayne Bond seconded.

All voted aye. Motion carried.

State Contract fuel

Rocky Risse made a motion to approve the purchase fuel for the Highway Department at the State bid price from Country Pride Co-op at White River. Wayne Bond seconded.

All voted aye. Motion carried.

SD DOT Load Restriction Notice

The Board reviewed a request from the State to submit roads for the SD DOT annual load restriction notice. Rocky Risse made a motion to post the following roads at 6 ton per axle, 40 mph from February to April 2018:

1. Highway 18, 9 miles North

2. Junction 18 & 73, 1 mile South

3. 6 miles West & South of Todd Hill to the State line.

Wayne Bond seconded. 

All voted aye. Motion carried.

Jackson County Load Haul Agreement

The Commissioners reviewed a haul road agreement with Jackson County for the Bauman Pit. Because of the need for more information Rocky Risse made a motion to table the agreement. Wayne Bond seconded. 

Jerry Bennett and Rocky Risse will meet with the Jackson County Highway Superintendent.

Resolution #2-2018

Rocky Risse made a motion to approve Resolution #2-2018, Kroeger Tract 1 and Tract 2 Plat. Wayne Bond seconded.

All voted aye. Motion carried.


Kroeger Tract 1 And Tract 2 Plat

WHEREAS; there has been presented to the Board of Commissioners of Bennett County, South Dakota, the plat of the land described herein platted as Kroeger Tract 1 and Tract 2 located in Sections 1, 12 and 13 T35N, R34W of the 6th P.M, Bennett County, South Dakota and;

WHEREAS; it appears to this Board that all taxes upon the property have been fully paid and the plat of the above described property has been executed according to law.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that said plat is hereby approved in all respects.

Motion passed and Resolution #2-2018 adopted this 3rd day of January, 2018.

/s/ Jason Fanning, Chairman 


/s/ Susan Williams, Bennett County Auditor

Area Resident

Craig Howe, area resident, met with the Commissioners. Mr. Howe reviewed resolution #1-2018. Mr. Howe questioned the Commissioners individually concerning the current plan to secure funding for tax exempt property. There was discussion about decisions being made as a Board. Mr. Howe questioned representation on the Board for trust land residents and was told the election of the Board is open to all registered voters. He questioned if the County actually is in financial distress and was told due to the increase cost of inmates and the court system and the tax freeze the County was not generating enough funds to cover expenses. The tax opt-out has helped keep the County out of bankruptcy. Mr. Howe questioned the amount requested from the federal government and how it would be used if it was received and was informed about the process used to determine the amount and the funds would be used to repair the Courthouse roof and possibly personnel.

Vetal and Tuthill Volunteer Fire Department Rosters

Wayne Bond made a motion to approve the roster for the Tuthill Volunteer Fire Department and Vetal Volunteer Fire Department for Workmen’s comp purposes. Rocky Risse seconded.

All voted aye. Motion carried.

The rosters are on file in the Auditor’s office.

County Employee wage increase 

Treasurer Jolene Donovan questioned the Commissioners on the wage increase for County employees and elected officials for 2018.

Executive Session

Rocky Risse made a motion to go into executive session with States Attorney Sarah Harris concerning legal matters at 11:18 a.m. Wayne Bond seconded. 

All voted aye. Motion carried.

Chairman Jason Fanning declared executive session closed at 11:30 a.m.


There being no further business to come before the Commissioners, Wayne Bond made a motion to adjourn with a second by Rocky Risse.

All voted aye. Motion carried.

Board Of Bennett County Commission

/s/ Jason Fanning, Chairman


/s/ Susan Williams, Auditor

The next regular meeting will be Wednesday, January 17th, 2018 at 9:30 a.m. in the Commissioner’s meeting room.

Published once at the total approximate cost of $172.62

Published: January 17, 2018

502 Second Avenue, Martin, SD 57551 • 605-685-6866 •