December 19, 2023

December 19, 2023

  The Miner County Board of Commissioners met in regular session on December 19, 2023 in the Miner County Courthouse Commission Room.  Members present: Alex Protsch, Tom Reisch, Joe Bechen, Kathy Faber, and Mike Clary.  Absent: none.  Others present for portions of the meeting included various county office personnel, Ed Miller and Mark Struwe.  Chairman Protsch called the meeting to order.  The flag pledge was recited.  Motion by Faber, seconded by Reisch and carried to approve the agenda.  The minutes from the December 5, 2023 meeting were approved.

It was moved by Bechen, seconded by Clary and carried to authorize the auditor to pay the following claims: 4H Club $329.99, Butler Machinery $661.85, Elan Financial $89.08, Emergency Medical Prod $216.05, FoxPromo $111.02, Home Service Water Cond $23.80, HFCA $5103.33, ISTATE Truck Center $1,604.88, John Deere Financial $308.96, Kimball Midwest $134.65, MC Treasurer $26.96, Northern Truck Equip $132.00, Premier Equipment $213.86, Rustys Food $12.95, Shanes HH $84.95, Tiger Mowers $207.82, Ultra $202.02, USPS $236.00, Wingens Garage $1687.00, Acuity $609.52 SUPPLIES; Butler Machinery $366.00, HFCA $69.38, Marshall&Swift $1,964.95, Henry Rentschler $325.00 Two Way Solutions $9,503.51, Tyler Tech $300.00, Ultra $1,715.50, Wingens Garage $80.00 REPAIRS; HFCA $20,470.85 FUEL; ICAP $738.67 COMMUNITY ACTION; Lammers Kleibacker $1,219.80 COURT APPOINTED ATTRNY; Macs $31.85, Shanes HH $35.96, Spencer Quarries $198.77, TrueNorth Steel $175.00, White Cap $104.45 MATERIALS; Microfilm Imaging $385.00 RENT; MC Treasurer $291.82, Stamp Fullfillment $2,393.90 POSTAGE; Mitchell Regional Ambulance $300.00, Office Ally $35.00 AMBULANCE; Redwood Toxicology Lab $50.00 STATE’S ATTY EXPENSE; Sanitation Products $26,396.00 EQUIPMENT; Santel Communications $30.00, Triotel Communications $169.53 911 CHARGES; SD DOT $21,543.90, Ulteig Engineers $6,904.00 MAINTENANCE; Two Way Solutions $2,700.00 EMERGENCY MGT; Willoughby Funeral Home $690.00 CORONER EXPENSE; Central Electric $55.28, Xcel Energy $50.83 UTILITIES; Howard Twp $20,833.45 RURAL ACCESS GRANTS.

During public comment, Cora Schwader, Director of 911 & Dispatch Services, announced that the Miner County Ambulance service will be turning 50 years old in 2024.  The Ambulance Board has decided to hold a banquet on January 15th, 2024, funded by donations made to the ambulance service, with all previous EMTs and board members invited.  The Commissioners were invited to attend as well.

Deputy Auditor Rebecca Mommaerts introduced her new hire, Justin Brandsma, to the board.  Justin began training in the Auditor’s office on December 11th and will be taking over the role of Deputy Auditor when Rebecca assumes the role of Auditor, following Susan Connor’s retirement on December 31, 2023. 

The commission acknowledged receipt of the following correspondence:  VSO Officer November report, and Sheriff’s Office November report.

Clary reported to the board his findings on providing training for the administration of naloxone to county employees.  There would be no liability to the county, but it would have the potential to save a life.  The training would have to be provided for all current employees and any future employees.  Clary presented a sample worksite naloxone policy from the SD Department of Health and asked to have State’s Attorney Ellendorf review the policy before implementation.

Highway Superintendent Ron Krempges presented the Local Federal Bridge Replacement Agreement, which will allow the county to complete the bridge replacement project at 18.05% of the cost, with the state of SD covering the remainer of eligible costs for the project.  Faber made a motion to authorize the Chairman to sign the 2023 Joint Powers and Funding Agreement for Bridge Replacement between South Dakota Department of Transportation and Miner County, seconded by Reisch.  Motion passed unanimously. 

Krempges gave a report on an update he received on the expansion and update to the Hanson Rural Water Systems which comes into Miner County around Epiphany.  They would like to add a 3-inch water line on a ½ mile of county road near Epiphany.  Ron presented their application for occupancy for underground construction on Miner County Highway Right-of-Way.  Faber made a motion to authorize the Chairman to sign to approve the application, seconded by Bechen.  Motion was unanimously passed.

Krempges gave an update on the rural infrastructure projects.  Howard Township is currently working on their project, and once that is done, it will be the last of the 2023 projects.  Krempges will prepare a report for the next meeting of what the county spent on these projects for the year.  The new sander came in last week.  Krempges stated that he is looking to acquire a new pick-up after the first of the year.

Krempges made a request to grant level raises to a few of the highway employees.  Reisch made a motion, seconded by Faber and carried to move Terry Carlson from Level 9 to Level 10, Brian Dold Level 4 to Level 5, Terry Burger from Level 2 to Level 3, and Amie Kidd from Level 8 to Level 9, effective Jan 1st.  Krempges requested the commissioners consider him for a raise as well. 

Krempges reported that spray recertifications are due the 1st of the year.  The county highway is also still busy hauling gravel, grading, doing shop work, and will be hauling chips to stockpile for next summer.  Krempges also reported on the repair of the Mack truck that was previously having transmission issues. 

An email was received from Connecting Point that Microsoft will be requiring users to switch to the NCE (new commerce experience) licensing model at the end of the year, along with a price quote to update these licenses.  The Commissioners authorized Deputy Auditor Rebecca Mommaerts to sign and return the proposal to Connecting Point. 

Due to changes in office personnel, Faber made a motion to add Deputy Treasurer Brittany Yanish and remove Deputy Treasurer Kathy Weidler as an authorized signer on all county bank accounts, seconded by Clary.  Motion carried.

The following quote per gallon (excluding non-applicable or refunded tax) based on a constant markup escalator clause was received for fuel for the period of January 1, 2024, through December 31, 2024:  Howard Farmers Coop Association $3.056 unleaded, $2.726 unleaded with ethanol, $4.096 clear #1, $3.566 clear #2, $3.829 dyed #1, $3.289 dyed #2, $3.879 dyed #1 at Carthage shop, $3.339 dyed #2 at Carthage shop.  It was moved by Bechen, seconded by Reisch, and carried to award the purchase of fuel for the period from January 1 to December 31, 2024 to Howard Farmers Coop Association with the price being adjusted according to the average cost as of January 1, 2024.

Clary made a motion to remove the county’s (2020) COVID leave policy, effective immediately, seconded by Reisch and passed unanimously.

Motion by Bechen, seconded by Clary and carried to allow Lori Kiehl to use an additional 16 hours of personal leave for 2023 (for a total of 56 hours).

It was moved by Faber, seconded by Bechen and carried to recess as a Board of Commissioners and reconvene as a Planning and Zoning Board acting as the Board of Adjustments.  Planning & Zoning Chairman Protsch took the chair.  Board members present:  Alex Protsch, Tom Reisch, Joe Bechen, Kathy Faber and Mike Clary.  A public hearing was held as advertised to consider the application for a variance pursuant to Section 1101.04.  The applicant, Travis Miller, is seeking a variance for the acreage size and building setbacks to the adjoining property line in the parcel described as SW4 of Section 14-105-56.  He has requested the acreage would include the two grain bins and driveway access.  Present for the hearing included Zoning Administrator Tami Severson, Susan Connor, Rebecca Mommaerts, Justin Brandsma, Ed Miller, and Marke Struwe.

Severson explained the site and setbacks.  She had given the applicant other options, such as building on lease site.  The site is too close for the addition of trees.  Existing structures could be replaced with structures of the same size.  Ed Miller, Travis’s brother, and personal representative for the late Duane Miller, appeared on his Travis’s behalf.  The grain bins have been on the site for about 12-15 years, built for use by Ed’s brothers who were active farmers.  The lot was fenced off at 1.2 acres with two driveway accesses. 

With consideration of the information presented it was moved by Reisch, seconded by Bechen that the following findings be approved:


STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA)                                                           BEFORE THE MINER COUNTY

                                                                : SS                                         BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT

COUNTY OF MINER            )

IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION OF                              )

                                                                                                            )              FINDINGS

TRAVIS MILLER FOR A VARIANCE                                     )




                That the applicant, Travis Miller, has made an application for a variance to buy property that grain bins are sitting on in the parcel described as SW4 of Section 14-105-56, Canova Township, Miner County, South Dakota and that the owner of record thereof is Ronald Miller.



                That the proposed use of said realty is specifically prohibited by the zoning ordinance without applicant first obtaining a variance, for which he has applied and paid the applicable fee.


                That upon said application, notice of hearing was given as required by the Miner County Zoning Ordinance by mailing to the adjoining landowners and by publication.


                That hearing upon said application was held on December 19, 2023, in the Commission Room of the Miner County Courthouse.


                That applicant, Travis Miller, did not appear in person, but his brother, Ed Miller, spoke on his behalf.


                That a presentation in support of said variance and testimony on behalf of said variance was received at the hearing.


                That no testimony was received in objection to granting of said variance.

                NOW, THEREFORE, that application and testimony at the hearing all having been considered, it is the FINDING of the Miner County Board of Adjustment that the application of Travis Miller for a variance to acreage size and building setbacks to the adjoined property line than current zoning allows the following reasons:

1)            That the Miner County Board of Adjustment is empowered under Section 506 to grant the variance and that the requirements of the zoning ordinance regarding a variance have been met by the applicant.

2)            That the Miner County Board of Adjustment is able to make the applicable findings required by Section 506 of the ordinance, which are considered prerequisite to the granting of a variance.


                That the Board of Adjustment vote upon approval of such application was five in favor thereof and none opposed thereto.

                It is, therefore, ORDERED that said application be approved with the condition that no other buildings or trees will be added to the property.

Dated this 19th day of December, 2023.

Alex Protsch, Chairman

                                                                                                Miner County Board of Adjustment

Attest:  Susan Connor, Secretary

Miller asked about what step needed to happen next in the process, and Severson informed him they would need to have the land surveyed and bring in a plat for official approval.  It was moved by Faber, seconded by Clary and carried to adjourn as a Planning & Zoning Board and reconvene as a Board of Commissioners. 

Commissioners recognized employees with benchmark employment anniversaries in 2023: Jeremy Beyer, highway employee, for 10 years of service and Susan Connor, Auditor, for 20 years of service.  Chairman Protsch presented Connor with a plaque commemorating her retirement from county service after over 20 years of service.  Molly Steeneck will be recognized at a future meeting for her 15 years of service.

Mark Struwe gave a presentation on the mission and background of Hearts & Hammers of South Dakota.  All Miner County donations are used for projects within Miner County.  Hearts & Hammers of South Dakota is an autonomous organization, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that is registered with the state.  The organization is requesting a grant in the amount of $5,000 for startup costs, materials and supplies.  The commissioners requested to table the decision until their end-of-year meeting on December 28th.    

Having no further business, Clary made a motion to adjourn to December 28th, seconded by Faber.  Dated this 19th day of December, 2023. 

                                                                                                                                Alex Protsch, Chairman

                                                                                                                                Miner County Commissioners

Attest:  Rebecca Mommaerts, Deputy Auditor



Contact Info

Please see department pages for direct contact information.

Physical Address: 

Miner County Courthouse

Park Ave. & Main St

401 N. Main St.

Howard, SD 57349


Office Hours: 

7:30am-12:00pm & 12:30pm-4:00pm

Monday - Friday

(Sheriff/Dispatch Office Open 24/7)