Union County received $1,547,302 from the American Rescue Act (ARA) and $43,614.76 from Rural Access. South Dakota received just over $974 million as part of their share and part of that was given to counties across the state. Other counties have done stipends for their employees. Of those funds, the Union County Board of County Commissioners moved to give stipends to their employees at their Nov. 16th meeting.

Those who were employed prior to June 1, 2021 and are currently working will receive the stipend – $2,000 for full-time employees and $1,000 for part-time employees, including a stipend for the commissioners. All the commissioners except for Kevin Joffer voted in favor. He said his reasoning for voting against it wasn’t to do with the employees, but for the commissioners.

“I’m voting no,” Joffer said. “I’m good with the employees. I just figure it’s part of my job.”

“Well, I think you got a good point,” chairman Milton Ustad said. “But, on the other hand, last year we probably put in more time than we ever have. I’ve been here 15 years and I put in way more time than I normally do.”

The motion passed 4-1. The stipend will be paid out Nov. 24. The commissioners moved to pay out longevity the week of Dec. 6.

Department Heads

Union County Emergency Manager Jeff Christie gave his report stating that the county received a Rapid Tag system from South Dakota State Office of Emergency Management to add to their list of emergency supplies. The system would be used in a large-scale event and could be color-coded for different entities such as homeowners, law enforcement, emergency personnel and volunteers.

Union County Community Health Nurse Lisa McInerney updated the commissioners on the backpack program, the Point of Distribution meetings and the latest COVID-19 numbers.

Union County Veteran Services Office Wade Tompkins gave a brief report on the contacts he’s made and the contacts he’s currently trying to make.

Union County Highway Superintendent Jerry Buum presented a pay request for Persing Excavating. The original contract amount was for $74,087.70, but a change order for an $821.70 deduct gave the final payment of $73,266.

See full story in this week’s Dakota Dunes / North Sioux City Times and Leader-Courier.