Huron Plainsman | Johannsen Letter 6-19-21

For the publisher:

We live in a township, which has no hard roads, 20 miles of shoddy county and 29 miles of gravel township roads, which our township officials are responsible for maintaining and repairing. In 1995, our ability to raise taxes to meet costs was capped by the state government. We have the ability to withdraw about $ 1,000 more than in 1995. To offset the rising costs, we had to withdraw. This is another layer of unnecessary paperwork, indicating that we cannot make the decisions necessary to manage our townships.

Our roads were devastated by flooding in 2019 and we enlisted the help of FEMA and the SD Office of Emergency Management (SDOEM). Funding for approved projects is shared cost, with FEMA at 75%, SDOEM at 15% and 10% for the county. It was my fifth experience as a local representative and by far the worst. I found both agencies hard to please and in some cases the staff completely incompetent.

Redundancy has become widespread.

The first FEMA managers were great, but the last one was an idiot. In order to get something, I canceled some smaller projects and abandoned others. We spent $ 50,000 of our own money to make the roads usable.

Under Governor Janklow, he ordered the auditor to pay the 10%, also making the state responsible for the 25% share, during a difficult financial time. Now the state has “money coming out of the wazoo,” and sharing some of it seems like a good way to help the townships. Our roads are vital to communities, providing transportation for livestock, grain, emergency services and more. They were not built for modern equipment and require more maintenance.

I hope that in the next special sessions the lawmakers will just send us money.

Jim johannsen

About Eric Buss

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