Disaster Loans And Equipment Bids Main Focus Of Lengthy Supervisors Meeting

The Custer County Board of Supervisors first regular meeting on April 12 included awarding bids and approving disaster loan extensions.

Following the floods of 2019, numerous townships in Custer County applied for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds to repair the damage. Due to the delay that was expected and the need to repair the roads, the Supervisors offered loans to the townships to pay for the repairs. Through the loan agreements, the Board requested that when the FEMA money was sent to the townships, that money would be applied to the loans.

With the delay of federal payments, the board has extended the time townships have had to pay on the loans. With the extensions the Supervisors also asked for a 25% good faith payment by the end of May. Nearly all of the townships that have borrowed from the county have made at least 25% on their loans, but a couple of the townships had not made any payments as of the meeting.

Two of the township boards that have not made payments on their loans have dealt with a lot of turnover recently which has created confusion on the budgets and what the township board can ask for. The Supervisors recognized the issues in the townships, but stated other townships who have larger loans have made payments on their current loans. With budget time approaching the board felt now was the best time to encourage the townships to find ways of bringing in more money to pay off the loans.

The Supervisors were also concerned that some of the FEMA money was being sent to the townships that were then using it for other projects instead of paying off the loan. Custer County Attorney Steve Bowers stated the county uses the funds loaned to the townships for disaster assistance such as those in 2019.

According to the agreement, townships have until May 31 to pay 25% on their loan or they need to provide a reason as to why they have failed to do so. The Supervisors agreed that if a township has not or does not intend to pay the 25% of the loan by the May 31 deadline, they will be required to attend the May 12 meeting.

Custer County Sheriff Dan Osmond appeared in front of the board to discuss compensation time and the purchase of a department vehicle. Osmond informed the board, the department would be short two deputy positions this summer which would require other deputies to spend more time at work and building up compensation time. He stated the department would be adding a new deputy eventually, but it would not be until the fall as the new hire still needs to go through the training academy and complete other trainings.

With a cap on the compensation time, Osmond asked the board on what they would be comfortable allowing. The Supervisors were concerned on some of the legalities of the compensation time. After a motion died for lack of a second, the board agreed to consult a human resources department before giving the go ahead.

Pickup bids were also read by the board which included the low bid from Gateway Motors being selected. Normally the department would trade in an out of service pickup to get a lower price, but because of the shortage of vehicles with the Highway Department, Highway Superintendent Chris Jacobsen said he would pay the Sherriff’s Office the trade in value so he could get the pickup for their fleet. With the agreement, the Sheriff’s Office will purchase the 1500 Chevy pickup for $51,000 from Gateway Motors and the Highway Department will pay the Sheriff’s Office $21,500 for the 2018 Ram Crew Cab.

Concerning Highway Department business, Jacobsen and the board discussed personal use vehicles and the best way to compensate those who have to use their personal vehicles. Jacobsen said previously, the department has been reimbursing individuals who had to use their personal vehicles for county work with fuel. He noted that this has left the door open concerning liability if there is an accident and wanted to know what change should be made. The board unanimously agreed to change the policy to mileage reimbursement and to make sure there was an active policy on the personal vehicles being driven.

Bids were also approved for culverts, grader/drag blades, and gravel.

The next Custer County Board of Supervisors meeting will be held on April 26 at 9 AM.