The Spink County Commissioners denied Resolution #12-22, a resolution Approving the Aberdeen-Brown County Regional Railroad Authority to levy taxes in relation to Rail Project in Brown County, South Dakota. The matter was before the Spink County Commissioners because Spink County is in the Aberdeen-Brown County Regional Railroad Authority. It stems from an application submitted by Todd Ochsner who had applied to the Regional Railroad Authority Board in January of 2012 for a loan to provide rail service to his 1,500,000 bushel grain elevator. With the money a 10,620 foot oval shaped rail line would be constructed to bring the product from his elevator into the main rail line. The two mile railroad loop track would be strictly for private transportation and would be connected to the BNSF line and support 110-120 grain cars.
The South Dakota Railroad Board required a resolution from the Brown, Beadle, Edmunds and Spink County Commissioners and the Aberdeen City Council acknowledging the authority of the Aberdeen-Brown County Regional Railroad Authority to certify any tax levy as allowed to be used in the event of default to pay the annual payments that were required to service the project debt.
Oschner was present to testify before the Commissioners on his project and the resolution. He explained that it would not be a public elevator but would benefit the public and he would own that section of rail if constructed but would not own the switches. The question of the cost to taxpayers in Spink County in case of default was asked with answer coming that it would be their share of the $1.4 million dollar loan. After much lengthy discussion a motion was made by Commissioner Craig Johnson to approve the resolution but a second was not initially forthcoming until such time that Commissioner Chairman Dave Albrecht stated that he would second the motion to get it to a vote. Approval of the resolution was defeated with a 4 -1 vote. All Commissioners: Brian Johnson, Jeff Albrecht, Jerry Zerbel, and Dave Albrecht voting nay and Commissioner Craig Johnson voting aye.
Oschner expressed his disappointment with the vote stating, “Be careful what you do, this could come back on you. I feel as if I am not well supported as a Spink County Taxpayer.” Upon that he exited the meeting.
In other business, Spink County Highway Superintendent Jeff Haessig presented Commissioners with an update of his department activities stating that they have been working on graveling some replanned roads, patching roads, and road work in Doland, Frankfort and Northville. He had met with Redfield City Mayor Jayme Aiken and his department will also be helping to do some black topping at the new sites in Hava-Rest Park.
Spink County Sheriff Kevin Schurch presented his department update, a portion of which can be read on page 2 of this Redfield Press edition.
An official canvas of the vote for the June 5, 2012 primary election was held and tallies were confirmed for each precinct.
Spink County Veteran Service Officer Gordan Richard was present and handed out information on an event his office will be sponsoring in July for any in Spink County.
Also present were Laura Boone of North East Mental Health Center (NEMHC) and Larry Wattier of NESDCAP. Each presented an overview of the services they have provided in Spink County during their last fiscal year. During the 2012 NEMHC fiscal year they served 163 consumers in Spink County. 6 of those were between the ages of 1-9; 25 between the ages of 10-18; 14 between the ages of 19-27; 57 between the ages of 28-46; 43 between the ages of 47-65; 15 between the ages of 66-84; and 3 in the 85+ range. Boone stated that they had seen an increase of 17 in the 28-46 age range but had no solid explanation as to why saying that there could be many contributing factors. Spink County contributes $4,000 to Northeastern Mental Health Center yearly.
In his address of the Commission, Wattier presented that in 2011 NESDCAP served 49 households in SpinkCounty through their weatherization and furnace repair program; 5 households in their Home Rehabilitation Programs; 1 in their Governor’s House Program; 6 in their Housing Revolving Loan Fund Active Program; 18 with NESDEC Loans; 17 at their Small Business Development Center; 16 in their Apartment Management in Tulare and Doland; 15 through Emergency Assistance; and 24 through Volunteer Tax Assistance for a total of 151 Households or 240 people served. NESDCAP employs two full-time staff in Spink County and rents an office in Tulare. NESDCAP and Northeast South Dakota Economic Corporation (NESDEC) are officially announcing their new brand and logo. NESDCAP, NESDEC and GROW South Dakota will remain legally separate corporations, but all organizations will start doing business as GROW South Dakota.