The first meeting of 2022 of the Sully County Commission was called to order by Auditor Susan Lamb who accepted nominations for board offices. Commissioner Greg Yackley was elected to serve a second term as chair and Commissioner Caleb Shepherd was named vice chair.

Organizing for the year, commissioners retained their current committee appointments. The makeup of the Planning and Zoning board will remain the same with Russ Ball remaining on the board. Theron Stephens and Paul Eidsness, Jr were named to the Weed and Pest Board.

Commissioners heard first reading of the ordinance to adopt commission districts as developed by the Central South Dakota Enhancement District (CSDED) and approved at the board’s November 3, 2021 meeting. Sitting commissioners remain in their current districts under the map developed by the CSDED. The ordinance will have its second reading at the board’s next meeting on February 1.

In advance of passing a road and bridge levy ordinance, commissioners spent much time in discussion of the possibility. Commissioners spoke passionately and at length regarding their position on the levy question. Arguing in favor of a special levy, commissioners noted that without it, it will be challenging to maintain the roads we currently have. Against the levy, commissioners noted it would result in a tax increase. If at their February and March meetings the levy is passed, commissioners indicated their intention to circulate petitions to refer the measure to the electorate. The referred measure would be included as a ballot item for the Primary Election on June 7, 2022.

Taking a second look at the speed limit ordinance the commission recently passed, Highway Superintendent JJ Schall said that on a recent trip to Aberdeen, he observed that the counties enroute have set the truck speed limit at 40 mph and pondered reconsidering the ordinance. After discussion, commissioners noted that the speed limit increase was based on recommendations from state engineers.

Schall also voiced his concern regarding the proposed carbon sequestration pipeline. As proposed, the pipeline will be in the county right of way, but only 3’ deep. Schall believes the pipe needs to be buried deeper in order to prevent damage during road maintenance. State’s Attorney Emily Sovell suggested working with other counties along the pipeline corridor in order to develop an across the state comprehensive plan.

New rules requiring a $5,000 course to acquire a South Dakota Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) go into effect on February 7. Schall sought direction from the board regarding paying for the course for Highway Department applicants. The board directed that applicants be required to have a CDL before becoming employed by the county.

SDGFP recently alerted Schall to their plans to do minor work this spring at the Bush’s Landing boat ramp and more involved work in the fall. In light of the increased traffic this will create, commissioners are considering delaying chip sealing work on the road planned for 2022 until 2023.

Sovell related that the court will continue to be held one Tuesday a month with occasional overlap with the commission meeting. With criminal prosecutions on the horizon, Sovell expects court expenses to continue to go up. The Steve West matter is on the February 15, 2022 court calendar.

Because Sully County Treasurer Helen Jane Paxton is out sick, commissioners were not able to go over the General Fund Surplus analysis.

After meeting in executive session, commissioners in regular session directed Sully County Sheriff Bill Stahl put law enforcement decals on his new vehicle.

In other business, commissioners approved the minutes of their December meeting, signed off on department inventories, approved the burial and funeral assistance resolution, approved claims and a resolution permitting Auditor Lamb to pay midmonth claims, approved travel reimbursements, approved election worker wages at $13.00 per hour, passed the weight limits resolution and approved the exemption for the Voorhees Cattle Company feedlot, approved a budgeted Highway Department purchase, and designated the Onida Watchman the county’s official newspaper and Sunrise Bank and BankWest official depositories.