Commissioners here more road requests

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Walworth County Commissioners at the Friday, June 6, meeting discussed the issues of servicing private roads in the county and dealing with nuisance property issues.

Residents living along Riverview, near New Evarts, spoke to the commission about an earlier discussion on paying the county for services along Riverview Road. The group had formed a road district and paid to have the south end of the road paved. The north side of the road is gravel.

One of the residents owns a tractor and has removed snow from the road and driveways, but has not been able to get the road cleared before some people have to leave for work and kids have to get to the school bus.

The group asked the commissioners to allow the county highway department to clear clear snow on the south end and in the summer repair potholes. They also requested the highway department be allowed to grade and gravel the north side. The group said they would pay the county for those services.

Highway superintendent Penny Goetz was present and told the group the county is not allowed to service any private roads as they are then competing with private businesses. She said if they started plowing private drives, they would have to do it for all who requested it.

Commissioner Duane Martin said there are other situations in the county with similar roads such as Spring Lake and the Schriber Addition near Mobridge. He said the county does not maintain private roads.

It was pointed out that more new homes are being built outside of municipalities in the county and there may be more people requesting these services, Goetz said.  There are other situations, such as New Evarts, she pointed out, where they have a large group of homes, but the county does not plow because it is privately owned.

The group then asked if the county could help look into other options such as petitioning to bring the road into the county.

Since the Walworth County State’s Attorney was not present at the time of the discussion, commissioners could not answer the group’s questions about the options. They said they would contact Jamie Hare to discuss those options with him.

 

Tax deed properties

When Hare returned to the meeting after court, they discussed tax deed properties in Mobridge and the cooperation in demolishing the building on those properties. He said he had spoken to the Mobridge City Council about a property on Second Avenue West that needs to be demolished. It is tax deed property now owned by the county. Hare said the city agreed on working with the county and splitting the cost of removing the structure.

Hare praised the cooperation of the two entities and said there are other times that partnership between the two groups will be needed in order to successfully clean up areas in the county.

He said he has discussed with Mobridge Ordinance Officer Brooks Johnson the dilapidated and abandoned trailer house on the property owned by the late Roy Hoff just west of Mobridge on U.S. Highway 12. He said the late owner’s business was rehabilitating old trailers for resale, but some of the 30 or so units on the property have been abandoned there and Hoff’s relatives do not own those units.

Walworth County Landfill Supervisor Ryan Badten said to process each mobile home for disposal costs about $9,000. The structure has to be separated from the frame and wheels. If that could be done before the units arrive at the landfill, the disposal would be easier and less costly to the landowner.

It was agreed that none of those dilapidated homes should end up being sold for homes in the county.  Commissioners also agreed that the property had been an eyesore for years and something needed to be done.

Martin said he would work with the City of Mobridge and Hoff family to work out a plan to get rid of the units.

Hare said he would check with the register of deeds to ensure there were no liens on any of the property that is on Hoff’s land.

 

 Executive session

After an executive session on a personnel matter, commissioners voted to suspend employee Brenda DeToy for one week without pay and to require her to issue an apology to auditor Becky Krein for misinformation given at a public meeting. That misinformation was published in the minutes of the meeting. According to the discussion, DeToy also went through files in the auditor’s office that she is not allowed access to.

Martin objected to the suspension and to the commission getting involved in something that happened outside commission chambers.

“I feel strongly that this is an overreach for the commission to try and control conversation outside of the work environment,” he said. “I have been personally impacted by what has been said out there, but that comes with the territory. We have to look at what is coming down the pipe if we do this. We have to be very careful what we try to control.”

He voted against the action, but commissioners Phylliss Pudwill, Dave Siemon, Denis Arbach and Rick Godkin voted to approve the action.

- Katie Zerr -

 

 

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