Commissioners contemplate forming weed board

By Deb Hendrickson

The Bennett County Board of Commissioners met in regular session on Wednesday, July 15 at the Courthouse.

Several complaints as well as concerns from the community have been received pertaining to the increased encroachment of noxious weeds throughout the county. Knowing these are viable concerns, and since the county currently doesn’t have a weed board, discussion was held regarding possible options the board can instill to deal with the issue. One option presented was to consider forming a weed board. State mandates require certain specifications be followed if a board is to be established.

1) Weed and pest board shall consist of five or seven members.

2) The implementation and pursuit of an effective program for the control of weeds. 

3) Hold regular meetings with minutes and all official acts being recorded. 

4) A yearly report must be submitted to the Department of Agriculture. 

5) Employ supervisors, and if necessary, deputies and make at least one annual inspection to record the progress of weed and pest control. 

6) Written reports covering the inspections need to be available for public use. 

7) Be compliant with the law for county purchases when obtaining competitive bids for any purchases.

Another option presented was the possibility of the county purchasing and stocking the recommended chemicals to sell to the public. Since chemicals are constantly changing, some programs to keep everyone educated on upgrades and proper usage may be necessary. If the county goes this route, it would mean they would have to be licensed.

Commissioner Judd Schomp has experience in weed and pest control so he volunteered to do further research, organize and try to find four other people willing to serve on the board. A motion was made by Jason Fanning and seconded by Rolf Kraft to table the issue allowing Schomp ample time to gather more information.

Mark Buchholz from Kennedy Implement was at the meeting to present a quote to the board regarding leasing a 2018 New Holland T6.180 tractor. According to Buchholz, the tractor he is quoting only has 245 hours on it, would come with a two-year base warranty, five-year warranty on emissions and has been upgraded with a Class 4 front end, making it loader ready. The suggested list price for this tractor is $157,000 but Buchholz said it would be available for a lease purchase price of $94,000. The Commission told Buchholz they would take it into consideration and get back with him.

The minutes from the June 30 special meeting and the July 1 meeting were approved.

Recent improvements and repairs having just been made to the Cody Road were destroyed after last Friday night’s storm. Hahn Construction is working on rebuilding County Line Road.

Justin Friese reported that the CAT blade is working fine. Rod Kirk made a motion to pay off the two CAT blades and then list them on Big Iron for liquidation. Judd Schomp seconded and the motion carried. 

A motion to surplus the ‘81 loader, which the transmission went out of, was made by Rod Kirk and seconded by Judd Schomp. Motion passed. The loader will be listed on Purple Wave for liquidation.

The county currently has seven pieces of equipment listed on Purple Wave: two trucks; two loaders; two blades and one trailer.

After some discussion was held concerning the current claims being presented, Jason Fanning moved to pay the claims excluding the bill from Brosz Engineering. Rod Kirk seconded and the motion carried.

Bennett County Extension Agent, Mary Kay Sell reported to the Commission that her old Windows 7 desktop computer is totally outdated and won’t be supported any longer. Cost to replace it ranges between $900-$1,000. Jason Fanning moved to give Mary Kay $1,500 to purchase a new computer. Rolf Kraft seconded and the motion carried.

Chad DeRenzo and Joe Kim from Pete’s Builders out of Cheyenne, Wyo., performed an inspection on the Courthouse roof. According to DeRenzo and Kim, the current foam material on the roof is beyond repair, retaining moisture, leaking and needs to be removed. Two alternatives were presented to make the necessary repairs but after some discussion amongst the board, it was decided that the suggested ISO insulated material which has a glue-on application would work the best for the environmental conditions of the area. A budget for the project had previously been established. Auditor Angie Hicks was asked to start the bidding process and some specifications for the bid were suggested. 

As of July 1, the state authorized county employees the right to carry a weapon in the Courthouse. Auditor Hicks has located a policy from the county’s insurance company which is being reviewed. 

While responding to an emergency, one of the Sheriff’s office cars sustained some damage and is being repaired at Dodge Town in Rapid City. Along with that, three other vehicles are in need of repair.

There has been some repercussion from the community concerning purchasing reserve gravel from Commissioner Judd Schomp at $1 per ton. Schomp stated that if there was a problem, he’d advise not doing it. The board decided to continue purchasing the gravel on an as-needed basis for $1 per ton. 

The last item on the agenda was the 2021 budget. It was the decision of the board to meet with each individual department head to discuss the possibilities of cutting some line items to allow for raises for employees. Before doing this; however, an hour recess beginning at 1:30 p.m. was called to give everyone time to look over their budgets one more time. After the recess, Jason Fanning moved to go into executive session for some discussion concerning personnel with Rolf Kraft seconding. 

The board was in and out of executive sessions for the remainder of the afternoon.

A special meeting of the board will be held Thursday, July 30 at 8:00 a.m. to approve the budget.

The next regular Commission meeting will be held on Wednesday, August 5, 2020 at 9:30 in the courthouse.

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