Lincoln County Board nixes wheelage tax

IVANHOE?- By a vote of 3-2, the Lincoln County Board voted not to participate in a $10 per vehicle wheelage tax at its regular meeting on Tuesday. The motion was made by Commissioner Larry Hansen and seconded by Joan Jagt, who were the only votes for the measure.

Discussion of the proposed tax was initiated by Assistant County Engineer Dustin Hauschild.

A wheelage tax on vehicles kept within a county is being recommended by the state to make up for budget cuts in funds disbursed to the counties. There is an Aug. 1 deadline this year to submit a resolution to the state to initiate a wheelage tax.

Last Tuesday, the Yellow Medicine County Board also rejected the measure by a 3-2 vote.

At Hauschild’s request the board authorized the county highway department to purchase 15,000 cubic yards of gravel for roadwork at a cost of $50,000.

After discussion, the board voted to advertise to fill the position of full-time county engineer left vacant by the retirement of Lee Amundson, who is currently under contract to the county to work one day a week until a replacement is found.

Hauschild informed the board the cost of replacing a 1997 Broce Broom, a self-propelled sweeper used in asphalt road surface work, would be about $45,000 to $51,000 used. The 1997 Broom the county used was damaged beyond repair recently when rear-ended by an SUV.

Insurance on the equipment would cover only about $14,000, Hauschild said.

At the request of Environmental Director Robert Olsen, the board authorized the payment of $1,100 for the disposal of nine horse carcasses in Shaokatan Township just outside of Ivanhoe.

Operating on an anonymous tip, the sheriff’s office discovered five neglected horses in a field and nine carcasses in various states of decomposition. The contractor burned the carcasses on-site and buried the remains, Olsen said. The five surviving horses were taken to an animal rehabilitation facility.

According to Lincoln County Sheriff Jack Vizecky, misdemeanor charges of animal neglect and failure to dispose of carcasses are pending.

The money spent on disposal of the carcasses can be recovered either through a special assessment on the property or a court-ordered fine, according to Olsen.

At Olsen’s request, the board canceled a scheduled hearing on improvements to County Ditch 33, after the Army Corps of Engineers refused to issue a permit at this time. The hearing was originally scheduled for Aug. 20 and will be rescheduled when the Corps’ requirements are met.

At the request of Vince Robinson, executive director of the Lincoln County Enterprise Development Corporation, the board voted to accept a federal Small Cities Development Grant of $375,000 for the rehabilitation of multi-family residential buildings in Tyler.

Acting on the request of Ron Schramel, attorney for the Lincoln-Pipestone Rural Water System, the board voted to recommend the reappointment Joe Weber, Jerry Lonneman, and Rod Spronk to the board for another four-year term beginning in 2014 and ending in 2017.

The LPRWS serves 10 counties and is governed by a board of 11 commissioners.

By state law commissioners of multi-county water systems are appointed by a judge taking into account the recommendations of county boards.