Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Meade County Commission rejects Sturgis annexation proposal

Meade County Commission rejects Sturgis annexation proposal
By Jason Gross, Meade County Times-Tribune | Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Meade County Commissioners unanimously rejected Sturgis’ annexation resolution Monday morning.

This matter now reverts back to the city, according to commission chairman Robert Mallow. “The city determines if they want to make those changes we submit.”

Property belonging to the Bureau of Land Management, Meade School District, and Fort Meade; agricultural land; and various commercial properties, including Glencoe CampResort and Full Throttle Saloon, are included in the city’s proposal.

When the city turns in its amended plan, Mallow said, the county will act on it. “What they put into it will determine whether we vote yes or no.”

Meade County Deputy State’s Attorney Ken Chleborad said the city cannot approve the resolution, in whole or in part, until the county does.

Linda Burnham and her husband, Tom, who own Valley Implement, oppose annexation. She said the farm equipment dealership has generated millions of dollars to local banks in the past 30 years.

“The city is proposing to our neighbors in the city that everyone’s taxes will go down,” Burnham added. She said the city bases that on sales tax revenue coming from that area.

South Dakota law changed two years ago, according to Burnham. She said the law now states there is no sales tax on any farm services or parts, including trucking and labor.

“There is a state sales tax of 4 percent on farm equipment,” Burnham said. “But that tax does not apply to the city.” Because of this, she added, the city will gain virtually nothing from Valley Implement.

Should annexation succeed, Burnham continued, the business will incur higher taxes which it may need to pass to its customers.

“In turn, it’s just going to be another burden on our farming community,” Burnham said. “Agricultural is still our no. 1 industry in this area, I believe -- not the rally.”

Several pieces of property in that area were presented to the board Monday, along with classifications and platting status. Chleborad presented the state’s attorney opinion on whether the property was properly placed before the board.

“We don’t have any say on anything that’s been platted and commercial,” Mallow said of the county. “If it’s unplatted or agricultural, then we have to address it.”

Commissioners conducted a poll on each property piece among themselves. They based their nonbinding votes on available information and public comment.

“The poll is to advise the city,” Chleborad explained. “If they (the city) choose to do any revisions to their annexation plan, it gives them a feeling of what the commissioners may do in the future.”

Rally venues were among those appearing before the board. Mike Ballard owns Full Throttle Saloon, which is commercial and platted. It was, therefore, not subject to board consideration.

Ross Lamphere, who ranches and owns a campground, has unplatted land. Some is classified as ag, and some is commercial.

Commissioners took a poll on Lamphere’s land and voted no by a 5-0 margin. This means all five thought the land should not be included in further annexation efforts. A poll on Burnham Family LLC also yielded a 5-0 no vote.

Some of the Glencoe CampResort property is platted and commercial; other land is commercial and ag. Those first two pieces are not subject to board consideration. The pavilion area is platted and not classified as ag, so the board could consider it. Board members voted no by a 3-2 count.

Sturgis city manager David Boone said the city will use public feedback and commissioner comments to try improving the study.

“Ultimately, it’s going to be the council’s decision on how to proceed,” Boone explained. “We’ll lay out some alternatives for them and go from there.”

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