Commission approves jail site work


By Sandy Bond –

Walworth County Sheriff Duane Mohr told the Walworth County Commissioners, Tuesday, Oct. 22, that the drainage problem at the county jail needs to be fixed.

“Whether we build a new jail or not, we must address the landscaping and drainage issue for the addition built in 1999, as soon as possible,” Mohr said. “I agree with Commissioner (Duane) Martin; I guess I was under the impression that it was in the process of being taken care of.”

Martin said he felt he had been given the go ahead to take care of the situation as well.

“Just so we’re on the same page,” he said, with a unanimous vote for forging ahead with the project.

At the Tuesday, Oct. 8, meeting, by three to one, commissioners voted to immediately begin grading of the soil adjacent to the jail addition built

in 1999, with Commissioners Phylliss Pudwill, Duane Martin, and Denis Arbach voting yes and Don Leff no. (Richard Godkin was absent).

Martin said he would be interested in continuing to oversee it, beginning with input from civil engineers Goldsmith and Heck of Mobridge.

With concerns addressed by the highway department previously that it doesn’t have the appropriate equipment to undertake the project, Martin said Scott Schilling has offered to do the dirt work.

In regard to leaks in the metal garage that has separated from the facility, Martin suggested Wayne Schmidt of Mobridge could look at it when he is already here taking care of the roof maintenance. In addition to vehicles, the department stores food for the department.

The results from the feasibility study prepared by Toby Morris and HKG Architects of Aberdeen in building and renovating the old part of the jail suggested “we’re good to go until 2030,” Martin said.

Chief Deputy Josh Boll and Mohr reported that HKG is preparing a second set of blueprints and proposing eliminating the 100-year old portion of the facility because it would be less expensive than renovating it.

Commissioners requested that residents with concerns should contact their respective commissioners: Dennis Arbach, District I; Richard Godkin, District II; Phylliss Pudwill, District III; Duane Martin, District IV; and Don Leff, District V.

If county residents are unsure whom to contact, they can contact the auditor’s office and they will be referred or will pass the concern on to commissioners.  They can request anonymity.


Other business

A low-to moderately-priced apartment complex in Mobridge qualified for the discretionary assessment formula resulting in a five-year lowered assessment plan for new commercial type properties, State Attorney James Hare reported at Benjamin Stoick’s inquiry. This formula allows for 20 percent forgiveness of taxes the first year and subsequently in increments to 100 percent the fifth year.

Highway superintendent Penny Goetz gave commissioners a heads up concerning the status of snow removal and maintenance on the north end of New Evarts as neither north nor south is in the county highway system. Several years ago the dozen or so households at the south end voted to form a road district and are levied for maintenance. At that time, Goetz said, the residents of the north side were not interested in joining the south side. The population has continued to grow to 15 to 20 households.  The option for those residents is to either form their own district or to join the existing district.

Kathy Friend has begun duties as a part-time custodian through the Experience Works program, according to supervisor Leah Holder.

Although no formal action was taken because of concern of liability, mobilization, etc., from the Highway Department, once again Northern Plains of Selby Manager Mike Rausch and Chuck Lapta, comptroller, Northern Plains, Gettysburg, requested the truck route designation should be changed from Selby’s Main Street to minimize the risk of accidents and minimize congestion. Sometimes trucks are backed from the elevator back to the jail, they said, as they presented their proposal. In June 1995, the city council voted to block Bangor Street at U.S. Highway 12 and 83 and designate Main Street as a truck route.

No formal commitment was made when Good Samaritan Society representative Paula Holzer, Mobridge, and Selby Good Samaritan Center Administrator Katie Catmill requested a donation of $3,000 to help purchase 28 more television supports to allow accommodating televisions in residents’ rooms at the Selby site pointing out that in addition to enhancing the quality of life for the residents, the center is one of the largest employers in the area and 90 percent of its residents are from Walworth County.

Commissioners made a verbal commitment to do everything in their power to help county forces, producers, and engineers to work cooperatively to facilitate prompt installation of a culvert on County Road 236.

– Sandy Bond –




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