Letters County officers should be equally paid

To the editor:

Responding to a letter printed in the Plain Talk, Jan. 22/99 by Commissioner Paul Hasse, regarding salary increases for county officials.

A statement was made that the large salary increases requested by the county officials was so unusual for Clay County. If the large increase was so unusual, why was this large salary given to the director of equalization (assessor) when he was hired in 1997? This position has always received the same salary as the auditor, treasurer and register of deeds; with the exception of the assessor, who received less until certified. It was explained that the positions are different requiring different skills and there was no justification for the same pay and technical skills and judgement required by an assessor, justifies a higher wage.

I disagree. Having worked in the courthouse, I realize each of the offices require different skills and judgement; however, their technical skills and judgement should not be degraded, as they are equally as important, and should be equally paid. The auditor, for an example, in an election year, holds a second job, which is a heavy load in itself, and does require technical skills and judgement, and requires more than eight hour days.

Mr. Hasse is not aware of the responsibility, technical skills and judgement required in county officers. County commissioners have too much power for what they know, not having worked in a county office. Where are your technical skills Mr. Hasse, when acting as a Board of Equalization?

Esther Girard

Vermillion, SD

Changes apparent at city golf course

To the editor:

Remarks last year by a Vermillion official stating that "the city is almost desparate for lot sales at the new golf course housing development," has prompted this letter. Most people will agree that a properly designed and operated 18-hole golf course and housing development is an asset for the community.

After the 214 acres were purchased by the city, the property went off the tax rolls. When lots are sold and structures built, the property becomes taxable. These tax dollars go to the city to pay for the borrowed money that was used to purchase and develop the area, not to the school district, city or county until the debt is repaid.

It is alarming but not surprising that lot sales in the Augusta subdivision are lagging behind projection because of the mistakes the city council made in approving the plans. Remember that the city has had a near monopoly on improved residential lots for about four years.

If a reader desires to call this writer a johnny-come-lately with my criticism, try a different approach. I appeared at two city council meetings and wrote all members a letter with some suggestions for improving the development before any lots were sold or any cement poured.

The clubhouse should have been built on the bluff above the USD letters. There would have been a magnificent view of the valley and a place for a terraced patio for entertaining and relaxing. East of this clubhouse could have been an ice skating rink suitable for ice hockey. The hill to the south of the ice rink could have been made suitable for snowboarding/sledding/skiing. The youth of our community need some outdoor winter recreation area and this would have been increasing the use of this land.

The biggest hindrance to lot sales is their narrow width. Have you ever tried to place a ranch style house with a 2 or 3 car garage and have a decent side yard on an 85' lot? The city will not sell you 1 1/2 or 2 lots for one home.

The 32' wide streets out there, that allow parking only on one side, are a remnant of the house and buggy days. A 40' wide street that allows parking on both sides is much more desireable. The point is that the city could have made the streets 40' wide. I maintain that Norbeck, Lee, Sterling streets and the adjoining 2 blocks of Crestview and Lewis streets, all at 40' or more, offer much more than the narrow streets.

The ugly net behind 3 houses on Crawford Road is not a joyful sight for those property owners and indicates a bad design of the 10th hole. There are other areas where there is great potential for people getting beaned in their backyard or on the Burbank Road.

The Augusta subdivision has 50 lots with one way in and out. I do not believe that any other developer in our community could get approval of a 50 lot subdivision with only one way in and out.

To fund the project the city sold bonds for more than the development cost and used the extra for payments. Also used are funds from the sale of the old golf course, cash rent from farmland the city owns, golf course revenues, city sales tax and taxes from the new houses. The city calls the latter TIF dollars because it comes from the Tax Increment Financing District.

With lagging lot sales and resultant TIF dollars the city may find it difficult to keep The Bluffs project as a self-sustaining enterprise as promised.

It appears the city needs to make some changes.

Paul M. Hasse


Support effort to help diabetics

To the editor:

All of us know someone with diabetes, whether they be you, a spouse, a parent or child, or a friend. In fact, approximately 40,000 South Dakotans have diabetes. The direct and indirect costs of the complications of diabetes cost the citizens of our state a minimum of $251,000,000 a year. To help prevent complications of diabetes and to reduce the large cost of these complications, adequate care of the disease is very important. Studies show that for every $1 invested in prevention, $5-$7 are saved by preventing diabetes complications. Self-management through education and use of diabetes supplies for blood sugar monitoring are necessary to promote long-term health and reduce chronic complications of diabetes.

I have had Type I, insulin dependent diabetes for 10 years, and the cost of diabetes supplies and education to improve care are very expensive. In the past 10 years I have used 26,000 blood glucose test strips, 2,800 syringes, and 620 bottles of insulin. Many other South Dakotans with diabetes cannot afford to pay for diabetes supplies and education to improve care. Private insurance often does not provide adequate coverage for diabetes self-management education and supplies. The South Dakota Diabetes Coalition, consisting of South Dakotans with diabetes and health care professionals, of which I am a member, are introducing legislation this month in the South Dakota Legislature. The bill would require insurance companies to pay for equipment, supplies, and education needed to reduce the complications and costs of diabetes.

If you are interested in supporting this effort, you should first contact the South Dakota chapter of the American Diabetes Association office at 1-800-658-4502. Second, you can contact your legislator to voice your support of legislation written for the welfare of South Dakotans with diabetes to decrease complications and cost of the disease.

Evelyn Breck


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