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Commissioners address rezoning, parking solutions, and public defense report

The Lincoln County Commissioners met Tuesday, May 28 in the Lincoln County Boardroom. Commissioners heard agenda items including a public hearing, potential parking solutions and the Public Defense report.  

The first order of business was the second reading and public hearing for and an Ordinance of Lincoln County, SD, rezoning Tract 1, Kwallek’s Addition, NW1/4, Section 32-T100N-R50W, Delapre Township, from the A-1 Agricultural District to the I-1 Light Industrial District and amending the official zoning map of Lincoln County. Planning Director, Toby Brown was present to answer questions the commission or public may have.

 “The subject property is approximately 4,000 feet to the West of the City of Harrisburg, subject property as identified in the Comprehensive Plan is future agricultural area. This property is neither adjacent to or near rural commercial industrial area. The subject parcel is improved with a single family dwelling on the property and there is some outbuildings a little west of the property,” he said. 

The Planning Commission recommendation for approval failed 0-6. Property owner, Carlos Gutierrez, joined the meeting to plead his case. 

“I’m not sure if I can really address or say much, this has been reviewed and we did have a meeting, again, it’s the property that we do own and obviously run the business out of there at the same time. It’s not about the neighbors or what’s on the back or on the side, and I’m not sure if there’s really much I can convince or persuade you guys to look at it,” Gutierrez said. 

Chairman Jim Jibben opened the floor up for opposition to the rezone. 

Travis Dahle was the first to speak.

“In summary, there was a lot of us that could be at the Planning Commission, but I can tell you the entire HOA that’s around Baker Crossing there was opposed to it, you can hear the backing up of heavy machinery at 6 in the morning and if it’s light industrial, that’s just what it’s going to cause and I think the Planning Commission, your staff, did an amazing job and I highly recommend you take what they suggested and deny it,” he said. 

Motion was denied 5-0.

Assistant Commission Administrative Officer, Paul Anderson joined the meeting to introduce Myron Adam of JSA Engineers and Land Surveyors with possible board action to approve bid letting for construction of an asphalt, off-street parking lot and sidewalk improvements that will serve the public visiting the Lincoln County Courthouse. 

“About a month ago we got the process started of looking at the two parking lots and parking along Main Street and Broadway Street for additional parking for visitors to the Lincoln County Courthouse. We looked at can this area be restriped and potentially gain a few more parking spots and we were able to reconfigure that and gain a few parking spots,” Anderson said. 

“Adam and his team began to look at the property where the old jail was located and if they used that lot and additional 33 parking stalls could be added in that lot,” he added. 

The plans to work on the roads were not in the budget for this year and the commission was not provided with the needed projections for parking of the future Courthouse. Currently, employees use around 80 percent of the parking spaces in downtown Canton. With no public input on the matter, the Commission agreed that although this is not an emergency situation, they would take bids on the matter to see what pricing is. Mr. Adam suggested to the Commission that since they were not going to award a bid and with how much effort it takes to put a bid package together, that he could look into local contractors and have them give a price if they were willing as to not waste anyone’s time. 

Dave Stuart joined the meeting to give a report on the Public Defense Contract. 

“In 2024, we are currently at 213 felonies and 214 misdemeanors for a total case load of 427. Of the two areas I want to point out, one is the rate at which we’re getting the cases and then once we’ve hit our cap as the main contract, the county has also contracted with an overflow firm which is Myers Billion. Compared to 2023 for felonies, the main contract, we’ve hit that four cases faster than last year but more importantly, once we hit that cap, then the overflow contract has received 46 cases already,” he said. 

In the first five months of the year, Stuart has seen a 37 percent increase in case load. 

Emergency Management Coordinator, Harold Timmerman joined the meeting for board action to authorize the Lincoln County Emergency Management Office to enforce or restrict open burning. 

“Before you today is a brief addition to our current burn ban policy which basically states that any time that National Weather Service issues a Red Flad Warning our burn ban is in effect in addition to the other things that are in there. The reason for this is if you try and put it on and take it off, it’s a little cumbersome, and when there’s a Red Flag Warning, nobody should be burning. Should this be approved, I will generate a press release for all the media and our newspapers, and I will personally call each Fire Chief so they are aware of it too,” he said. 

Chairman Jibben opened the floor for public comment. Linda Montgomery took to the podium to share her opinion. 

“I am again here to talk about the CVR, the ballot images, and the audit log. Now there’s been some problems with this and I’m assuming this is what has been the problem in the last three to three and a half years with all the issues about us asking for CVR’s. I remember a time when Commissioner Arends asked Auditor Lund if we had CVR’s and she said yes and no. I never understood that question until here lately. The CVR records being two separate records, the ballot image, and the result file of the scan of the ballot image are required in the election machines. We have a federal primary and a federal election coming up in November. We need to be able to audit the machine and our election, it’s a must and the only way that anyone can say they’re 100 percent for the tabulators is if we do an audit and the audit consists of the CVR, the ballot image, and the audit log. They can be simply run off by the Auditor and apparently, it’s like five minutes. ESNS should have been preparing our Auditors for this. This is not a small thing, this is our election, this is what runs our country, and please, please just look at me for 30 seconds, please. I get really tired of not being looked at when I’m up here and sat for however long. I really appreciate you looking because this is an issue that needs to be public. We need a public hearing on our election. What can we do? We’ve always heard ‘Linda, the machines are fine, this election is perfect, we signed it, we certified it.’ You’ve never proved that the machine is right and the election is right. This is a federal election. In this primary, I don’t know if you’ve looked at the campaign donations going on in our primary but never in the history of Lincoln County have we had so much money coming into this County and not all from Lincoln County. We need to be able to verify our election, to verify the machines, the ballot images need to be on, even your surety company says advises the Auditors to keep them on and to keep them for 22 months. This is a federal election, both primary and general. We need to have those on and I want you to verify you are going to require our tabulators to have the ballot images on so when I come to you and ask can you run the CVR’s, a ballot image and the audit logs, I hope we don’t go through what we have the last three and a half years. Of course you weren’t able to give us the CVR’s because that would be to admit that, I’m assuming, that those ballot images were not on so we couldn’t actually audit the machine,” she concluded. 


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