Two issues the Fall River County Commissioners have been dealing with for some time have been delayed again.
The commissioners last week agreed to discontinue efforts to create a policy that would allow county employees to carry concealed weapons in the courthouse and decided to rewrite its proposed ordinance dealing with dynamic braking systems.
State’s Attorney Brian Ahrendt advised the commissioners against implementing the concealed carry policy after discussion with other legal advisors. While the Legislature has included language in the statutes for carrying concealed weapons at the state capitol, language addressing county courthouses is vague. Ahrendt said a policy allowing employees to carry concealed weapons would likely be interpreted legally as allowing everyone to do so.
Fall River County would become a test case for the state, and since one judge has already refused to hold court at the courthouse if concealed weapons are allowed, the county could find itself incurring costs to have all its court cases heard in Rapid City, Ahrendt said.
“We could pretty much kiss court bye-bye in Fall River County, period,” he said. “Let somebody else be a test case.”
Commissioner Paul Nabholz urged the commissioners to approve the policy for a brief time, arguing that they have included everything the judge wants in the policy, but Ahrendt again pointed out that the statutes Nabholz referred to address only the state capitol, not county courthouses. Nabholz eventually withdrew his motion, and Commissioner Deb Russell made a motion to drop the matter until the state clears up the language. That motion was approved.
The commissioners also considered the second reading of a proposed ordinance prohibiting dynamic brake systems but postponed a decision so it can be rewritten. Ahrendt told the commissioners the state will place signs wherever the county wants them, but the ordinance must specify those locations somehow. The ordinance will be rewritten to include that language, limiting the use of dynamic brake systems to certain locations within the county. The commissioners will have a first reading on the rewritten ordinance at their next meeting.
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In other business, the county commissioners:
*presented Emergency Manager Frank Maynard with Jim Fjerestad Memorial Safety Leadership Award, which was announced at 2019 County Convention. The award recognizes efforts to prevent loss and promote safety.
*agreed to provide $1,500 in funding for repairs to Battle Mountain Road. The repairs are estimated to cost $10,000, Maynard said, and the state and Black Hills Energy have committed $7,000 combined.
*approved a bid by Flint Electric for $1,820 to upgrade the wiring in the dispatch center and approved a bid by Golden West in the amount of $3,007.23 for a switch required due to the dispatch center remodel.
*approved making the state’s attorney’s position a full time one starting in 2020.
*learned that rebuilding the Chilson Bridge could be delayed until 2021. The state had hoped to let bids next March but must contact the tribe and investigate a pile of rocks that has been located for archeological purposes. Contractors are also scarce due to flooding, said Road Superintendent Randy Seiler, making a 2020 completion difficult at best.
The commissioners agreed to see if a state representative can speak to the public about the bridge proposal and to contact the tribe’s cultural resource office in an effort to expedite the archaeological review.