Residents of Wynstone and members of the Wynstone Homeowners Association brought forth a petition to dissolve Wynstone from the Jefferson Township and create Wynstone Township at the Union County Board of County Commission meeting Tuesday, Feb. 9.
Jim Walker said they are looking at dividing the township because in the last 25 years they have paid taxes into Jefferson Township. However, they’re a private community, with their own road system that they maintain. He said there’s about three-tenths of a mile that belongs to Jefferson Township from the highway heading toward Wynstone.
Walker stated that for what Wynstone residents pay into Jefferson Township, they receive little back. So they contacted the township about reimbursement.
“We didn’t like the response from the township,” Walker said. “We do not think we’ve been treated fairly. And we’re paying a lot of money for essentially nothing.”
Under South Dakota Codified Law 8-1-7, a township can be reorganized, divided or merged. That’s what Wynstone is proposing. However, the issues they’re encountering have to do with the interpretation of how the law reads. According to Walker’s understanding, they should only have to petition the voters of the affected portion of the township, hence, Wynstone. Union County Auditor Jackie Sieverding and Union County State’s Attorney Jerry Miller disagree. They believe it means the entire township. The second issue is registered voters who don’t necessarily reside in Jefferson Township. Of the 520 registered voters in the Wynstone area, Walker said at least 134 don’t reside there anymore and shouldn’t be counted toward the petitioning numbers.
The county commissioners listened to Walker and then asked several questions. How did they determine the boundary lines for this new township? Why not run for the township board?
“If your property either adjoins or is serviced by the .3 miles of road, you got included in it,” Walker said in regards to the boundary. “We minimized the amount of property we took to leave it for the remaining township. So that was the logic behind that.”
Miller clarified that neither he, the commission nor Sieverding had any type of bias against their request; they only wanted to see it handled correctly. He reiterated that he still believes Walker is reading the law incorrectly. Miller volunteered to work alongside attorney Darrell Jesse and draft a request to the Attorney General for his interpretation of the law. The commissioners agreed and directed Miller to do so.
See full story in this week’s Leader-Courier.