Two people have appeared before the Union County Board of County Commissioners to advocate for the soon-to-be open Veteran Services Officer position. Doug Maurstad appeared at the July 27 meeting and Jim Wennblom at their Aug. 10 meeting, both urging the commissioners to make the position full-time.

Besides one application for the part-time position, there has been little to no interest in the position unless it was full-time. After discussions, the commissioners moved to move the position from part-time to full-time.

Along with the move, a list of equipment was provided by current VSO Susan Irons. The board approved the list and limited the spending to no more than $4,000.

Wennblom also thanked the commissioners for the $250 reimbursement for his mailbox replacement.

Expansion Project

The board continued discussions of the proposed courthouse expansion project and when they wanted to hold public meeting dates. The dates proposed were Aug. 23 and 24 in Beresford and Elk Point, respectively, from 5 to 7 p.m. and Aug. 25 in North Sioux City from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. However, these dates could change depending on representative capabilities from Architecture, Inc. (An update will be provided in next week’s paper).

Fair Update

Union County Fair Manager Janet Lingle said this was a record year for the fair. She said they had about 500 in attendance at the Bull Riding event and 466 at the tractor pull. They had 192 hook-ups at the tractor pull. The pedal pull had 107. She said the only complaint she heard was the bull riding wasn’t long enough, but other events in the area were the main cause.

Department Heads

Union County Emergency Manager Jeff Christie informed the commissioners of his latest training held during the last meeting in Sioux Falls. The county was awarded a 50/50 grant in January for a portable light tower. He purchased the $2,800 light and half of it will be reimbursed through the grant. He also informed the commissioners that tires had to be replaced on the generator trailer because they weren’t heavy duty enough.

Christie had a POD (Point of Distribution) meeting to attend and plans to ask why it wasn’t used for COVID-19 vaccinations. He also informed the commissioners that a simulated tornado strike drill is being planned Sept. 1 in Beresford. Local departments will be participating.

Union County Public Building and Grounds Superintendent Scott Sexton gave an update on the sewer line repairs in the basement. He said that it was all shovel work as they had to dig 3.5 feet down to expose the pipe. When they tapped on the top of the pipe, the top broke. After that was repaired, they jetted the line three times and ran a camera in between each jet. The line isn’t 100 percent clean, but it’s better than it was. Sexton stated that it’s going to have to be replaced and it will be all shovel work and labor. He estimates that the project would be close to $75,000 and need to go for bids, if they decide to replace it.

Union County Planning and Zoning Director Dennis Henze gave an update on permits issued in July. He stated that construction is down, mostly due to the high cost of construction materials.

Union County Director of Equalization Dawn Steckelberg shared that the South Dakota Department of Revenue will not be utilizing its new ag soils program just yet. It might be ready in 2023, but she stated it would not be ready during 2022 assessment period.

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