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Lincoln County Commission discusses juvenile detention, election security concerns and more

The Lincoln County Commission met Tuesday, February 27 in the Lincoln County Boardroom. Members heard agenda items including a local gun raffle, juvenile detention fees, new credit cards and more.

4-H Advisor, Wendy Sweeter joined the meeting to give notice of Lincoln County Fairground Foundations Raffle per SDCL 22-25-25. 

“This is just to give notice to the County of a raffle that they want to do at their fundraising event on March 23. It is selling 100 tickets at $20 each and they are looking to raffle a Savage .308 rifle a Henry .22 rifle and a Pointer 12-gauge shotgun,” Sweeter said. 

The notice does not require a motion from the board. With no motion needed, the Commission thanked Sweeter for her time.

Eric Kunzweiler, CEO of Inter-Lakes Community Action Partnership (ICAP) joined the meeting to give a report on programs administered by ICAP in Lincoln County. 

“In South Dakota there are four Community Action agencies and we’re one of the four nationwide. We cover 99 percent of all 66 counties in South Dakota. I would like to mention the weatherization program which Rocks administers for Lincoln. It’s important because there is a huge influx of money there, South Dakota received approximately $5 to 7 million over the next five years and what weatherization can do is come into the homes here in Lincoln County and they’ll audit the homes to see what they can do to make them more energy efficient,” he said. 

ICAP team members have been working with agencies across the area to help administer $65.5 million in rental assistance and utility assistance since the Covid pandemic. In Lincoln County, 1,052 families have utilized the program. The Commission thanked Kunzweiler for his time.

Director of the Minnehaha County Juvenile Detention Center, Jamie Gravett, requested board action to approve and authorize the Chair to execute an Agreement for Detention Services between Minnehaha County, Lutheran Social Services South Dakota and Lincoln County for the period of January 1, 2024, through December 31, 2024. 

“Before you today is our annual contract, it’s a lot different than the years past, we’re in the middle of a construction project and we’re trying to find the most equitable way to make sure that everybody pays their equal share for a new facility to be available for everyone. In the past there were discounts given to partner counties that compact or a joint powers agreement that has been dissolved so there is no more reduces or prices given to any partner counties. That has brought you up to the full cost of the facility plus now any construction costs that are included in the new price of $458.28 per day,” he said. 

Last year, the County paid $278.07 per day for services. Chairman Jibben asked Gravett how they measure the success rate of the program. 

“We don’t always hear about the successes unless the kids tell us about it. We only hear about the failures when we see them in the news,” Gravett said. “When you start talking about the money that is spent in the remediation, if you could spend that on the front end and prevention and providing more counseling when they’re much younger, not only does it save money, but it also affects families, kids, and all of those involved,” Schmidt responded. 

Motion approved.

Auditor Lund joined the meeting for request board action to approve and authorize the chair to sign the NASPO Value Point Purchasing Entity Addendum with US Bank. 

“I am here today to talk to you about changing the current US Bank credit cards that we have to the US Bank Point Purchasing cards. They will become a reward card and we’ll receive cash back on the purchases that we make and hoping to utilize that card more to receive more reward cash back,” she said. Commissioner Landeen asked Lund if she had any estimates on how much the card would bring back to the county. 

“In 2023 we spent $85,000 on credit card purchases and that was just typical purchases so around $8,000,” she said. 

Motion approved.

Highway Superintendent, Terry Fluit requested board action to approve and authorize the chair to sign a resolution to select a consultant for the 2024 bridge inspections. “A couple years ago, we changed from doing all 150 structures in one year to splitting it out so we do half of them one year and half the other. These are federally mandated inspections that need to happen every two years. In this resolution, we are selecting IMEG Consultants Corporation as our consultant to do the inspections,” Fluit said. Motion approved.

Fluit also asked for board action for approval to purchase off the Harding County bid for full depth reclamation and injection layback work. “This is going to be the grinding up of the road and injecting that bay stabilizer into it. The cost for this will be $1.28 per square yard and it's going to end up being about 256 square yards for both processes,” he said. Motion approved.

Commissioner Jibben opened the floor to public comment not on the agenda. Linda Montgomery stood to voice her concerns. 

“I am here today, as you know, I talk about election integrity, but something came to my inbox regarding Ohio Sheriff Richard Jones who attended the National Sheriff’s Association and was briefed by the FBI Director, Christopher Ray. Ray said that when we’re looking at this, the warnings, and the red flags that they are getting right now is more than before 9/11. The Sheriff said I can’t tell you everything, but I want the public to know that we are in a terrible way right now. They’re going to attack our elections, all of them, local and national. Election officials, even locally, must be warned to prepare for cyber attacks when we are looking at our elections. Now in the warnings, the FBI warned that China’s hacking infrastructure in our elections and we are helpless to stop it, yet we are allowing Chinese military aged men to cross the border illegally every day. Hand counting, and I know you’re looking at me and going what does hand counting have to do with this, with these cyber-attacks? Hand counting paper ballots in precincts is not just fraud prevention but is also continuity of government. When you’re talking about power outages, when you’re talking about cyber-attacks, when you are talking about what if the tabulators, e-poll books, total vote system is not operable, and we are at an election. We need to have backup and we need to do it well. I was out at the Capitol, and we have been working on this for a very long time. We’re working with different states to come up with a method that is quick and doable not only for a precinct, but for a county, for the state, for national. It is important to us as citizens, there was 80 plus people there, we were 30 steps away from the Secretaries of State office and many of those that were standing out there supported the Secretary of State to be elected, we’re ignored. Minnehaha County had ESNS come to their county to show the citizens there and with their own computer expert and computer software people were allowed to ask questions and the auditor was shown in front of the public how to download public information off of that tabulator. What I’m saying is we need to work on this as a team. Right now, the Secretary of State is having the auditors come this weekend and they’re going to look at what Minnehaha did. You know, we pay $8,500 for ENSF to do education and maintenance on our machine, and they did not even show up to stand up for themselves when you reconfirmed that contract. I want them to come to Lincoln County, I want us to be able to ask the same questions that they did in Minnehaha County. The five Commissioners unanimously voted to stop using the tabulators and hand count the primaries. There are citizens across this state who are signing petitions to get enough to take it to the vote of the people. People don’t trust the elections, and right now I’m sorry, but I don’t trust our Secretary of State to make good decisions, she obviously didn’t last week,” Montgomery said. 

Scott Montgomery also stood to speak during the public comment portion of the meeting.

“I just want to thank the commission for taking the time to come out and visit with the McKinney’s and to come out and visit with the church. I don’t know what’s going to change, but I just want to say thank you for doing what you’re doing and it makes me feel like you guys actually care and I appreciate that,” he said.


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