Commission to send tax reform resolution to Governor Noem

By Cathy Nelson

HOT SPRINGS – The Fall River County Commissioners are progressing with their plan to ask the state Department of Revenue to correct the soil table for western South Dakota. The agricultural land should be assessed on the basis of the productivity and the annual earning capacity of the agricultural land. Currently, the soil table incorrectly classifies land adjoining the National Grasslands with similar soils as cropable for the purposes of highest and best use and taxes these lands as the much higher assessed cropland.

“We’re being obviously overtaxed,” said State’s Attorney Lance Russell, when he presented a resolution the commission plans to send to Governor Kristi Noem and the S.D. legislators. The resolution is titled “Fall River County Property Tax Reform.”

S.D. Rep. Trish Ladner has introduced Draft Bill 50 for the upcoming 2022 Legislative Session that designates land that has not been cropped for at least 20 years as non-cropland for purposes of property taxation. The Fall River Commission is requesting through the resolution that the S.D. Legislature adopt the tax reform legislation.

Also, the commission is requesting that the legislature draft and adopt legislation to incorporate USDA Risk Management Agency crop production data to ensure the taxpayers of South Dakota that the property tax system has integrity, veracity and thus, equity and uniformity. They are also asking the state to consider a study by Dr. Matthew Elliott of SDSU that evaluated property tax inequities and potential reforms. Elliott’s study from 2015 showed that reforms would likely result in most of the $6 billion in assessment reductions in western South Dakota.

Russell said the next step is to send the resolution to Governor Noem and ask to meet with her and to send a copy of the resolution to each of the legislators via email.

On another topic, the commission approved setting the date of December 1 as the deadline for requesting cannabis license applications.

GIS Supervisor Stacey Martin presented information on the Fall River County 2020 census. The total population is 6,973. The racial breakdown is 85.9 percent White, 6 percent American Indian, 3.2 percent American Indian and White, 1.4 percent White and other, .8 percent other, .7 percent Asian, .5 percent African American, and .4 percent African American and White. The remaining 1.1 percent of the county is made up of other races and various combinations, all of which are under .25 percent each of the population. She also explained how voting districts are affected in regard to redistricting and suggested that the commissioners hold a meeting if there is concern about the current at-large system.

The commissioners approved sending a letter concerning the need for the S.D. Department of Transportation to develop an infrastructure plan of action for the Provo to Igloo bridge and road redirection. The letter states that the current infrastructure will not withhold the amount of new traffic going in and out of the Igloo area. Approximately 100 bunkers have been leased.

In other business, the commissioners approved the following items:

• Pay raise for Lynn Two Bear, $16 to $18

• Set hearing for 2022 liquor licenses on November 18 at 9:30 a.m.

• Plats for Andersen Engineers

Fall River County Herald Star

EDGEMONT OFFICE: 410 2nd Avenue   Edgemont, SD 57735-0660 | 605.662.7201
HOT SPRINGS OFFICE: 334 S. Chicago St.  Hot Springs, SD 57747 | 605.745.3930
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