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Commissioners discuss CO2 Advisory Committee, approve Airport Business Plan and more

The Lincoln County Commission met Tuesday, November 7 in the Lincoln County Boardroom. With Commissioner Joel Arends missing, the board heard items on the agenda.

Commissioner Tiffani Landeen brought the first order of business to the board’s attention to have a discussion on the establishment of a carbon dioxide transport and storage advisory committee.

“This agenda item is something that we had discussed at our last meeting. We had a discussion about establishing a CO2 transport and storage advisory committee, and we made some changes to the resolution as it was drafted at the time. Because that new resolution is before us, just a little bit of discussion on it, we did change the membership of this group to seven voting members and two non voting members. I’ve reviewed submissions that were made to the county for membership on this on this board what I am proposing today is that the appointed members of the board that go along with this resolution would be our commissioner Jim Jibben of District 2 that he would be the chair and then commissioner Joel Arends of District 1 and then for planning and zoning members Eric Scott, he is our planning and zoning chair he is our at large livestock program person who is on planning and zoning and I would like him to be the vice chair of this committee and then I also want from planning and zoning Marlene Sweeter, she’s our former auditor and a Lincoln County native she is in District 2 so I would like her as the second planning and zoning member,” said Landeen.

“Then we have registered voters from Lincoln County who are so members of our community. Tony Ventura — he has been an active person with the ordinances that have come forth and I think his voice should be heard also David Anderson, he is a former representative South Dakota representative he was on the House commerce and energy committee and he has agreed to also be part of this committee,” continued Landeen.

“Then also Mark Nordsee he’s a resident of Lincoln County he’s a retired former utility VP and nonprofit CFO he was also part of our fan network that we had here a couple years ago and he’s also agreed to be part of this committee as I understand it and then for the non the non voting members I have suggested landowner Karla Lems who’s a current house representative and then the second non voting member would be Andy Wort on the manager from poet down in Hudson,” Landeen added.

Motion approved.

Commissioner Landeen asked if the public had any opinions on the motion and Eric Schovanec took to the podium to voice his opinion.

“I’m the senior director of pipeline for Summit Carbon Solutions, thanks for giving us the opportunity to speak here today. I did want to voice my opinion that we would like the opportunity to be a part of the process and be a part of and be a non voting member of the process we think that our indepth of knowledge and years of expertise on pipelines would be worthy of being part of the committee. We would like you to consider that and let us have a say in the process. We understand our position with the PUC and we look forward to working with Lincoln County. We just ask that as this process transpires that you consider that and we need to have a fair and reasonable ordinance that’s put into place you know ultimately we think that the existing FEMSA regulations are adequate however we understand that the counties are going to have a say in this process. So again, we would just ask that if there’s a setback that’s put in place for example that it’s that it’s reasonable you know the landowner proposed setback we’ve mapped that out and we’ve overlaid in the county,” he said.

Steve Rasmussen, Senior Commissioner Administration Officer, joined the meeting to get board action to accept a proposal for consulting services with Aeroplex Group Partners in the development of an airport business plan.

“I am here on behalf of the airport, we are looking to do additional development at the airport and we wanted to develop a business plan as well as additional input on development management as well as lease rates at the airport. We looked nationwide for firms that would be able to provide us this insight and we are recommending Aeroplex Group Partners and in addition to having a very comprehensive proposal, they were also the lowest cost group for us so that is what we’re recommending,” he said. Motion approved.

Building Superintendent, John Rombough requested board action to review the quotes and to authorize the water installation project at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds.

“I was given permission to reach out to get quotes for the water project at 4H grounds and I was able to get two of the contractors to refresh their quotes and they stayed with the same number that is kept them digging for $30,600 in short excavating for $39,546.92 I would like to recommend that we move forward with the Tipton digging quote and get this project going,” he said.

The contractors are hoping to begin the project this year, but it is weather dependent. Motion passed.

The floor was opened for public comment, Betty Otten voiced her opinion.

“Again, I come back to why are the taxpayers paying for all this money for 4H where does the foundations responsibility to come into this? I understand that this is an emotional issue that the state took it out of their budget because they couldn’t afford it, so they put it on the counties for the counties wanted to pick it up or not. I totally understand it’s emotional issue but if emotions are the reason that we spend money out of the budget from all the taxpayers are we paying for I don’t know Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts? I’m assuming that the emotional issue that the for the bridge that’s out those people would really like to have that bridge repaired too so to me it always comes back down to why is Lincoln County paying for these projects when it should be on the 4H foundation thank you,” Otten said.

Chief Civil Deputy State’s Attorney, Drew DeGroot joined the meeting for board action to approve indigent counsel overflow contract with Myers Billion, LLP.

“I am seeking approval of two contracts , two overflow contracts ,one for the remainder of this year with Myers billion and then one three-year contract Meyers billion to handle indigent council representation you will note that the remainder of this year is $98,000 next year at the beginning of the contract is $210,000 with a 3% increase a year over year for that three years seeking approval,” he said.

Commissioner Landeen questioned if there is a cap on the overflow contract and DeGroot stated there is a cap on the number of caseloads that are accepted each year.

Commission Administrative Officer, Stephen Rasmussen joined the meeting again to request board action to consider signing a letter of support for the Dakota Access Pipeline urging the Army Corps of Engineers to reissue Dakota Access Pipeline’s easement.

“This is just a request for a letter of support for the Dakota access pipeline with the Army Corps of engineers regarding an easement there’s a few options and there are a few could potentially temporarily suspend or permanently suspend the pipeline and that would then divert some of the energy to the rail as opposed to the pipeline and they reached out requesting a letter of support for consideration,” Rasmussen said.

David Owen with the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce also spoke on the issue.

“I think the most important thing to establish early is that this pipeline isn’t that pipeline. Dakota access pipeline was completed using a temporary environmental impact statement clear back in 2017 and it’s been taking oil from North Dakota down to Illinois and ever since. During the course of time they are going through the full environmental impact statement by the Corps of Engineers. This is a public process they’ve issued their report they’ve recommended five items three of which would involve reducing the flow or stopping the flow of the pipeline. The chamber sees this as a threat to our economic development, domestic oil is important as noted by your staff if the oil isn’t going through the pipeline it’s going to go on the rails and compete with corn and soybeans and everything else that has trouble getting on the rail now and most important to you as a County Commission, if the oil stops pipelines of centrally assessed as part of your tax base that will reduce that value and that will shift those taxes on to your other taxpayers. This is a public process county commissions are credible source and a meaningful source of input to the Corps of Engineers this letter would mean a great deal in terms of keeping their focus on that pipeline completing the environmental impact statement in a way that leaves the pipeline viable we encourage you to send the letter and would appreciate it thank you,” Owen said.

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