County budget hearings begin

Leslie Silverman
Pennington County’s budget hearing takes place soon after the Independence Day holiday.
On July 8 hearings begin at 1 p.m. with budget presentations from the county auditor, health & human services, the public defender, the state’s attorney, law enforcement and the court system. The day winds down at 6 p.m. 
On July 9 hearings start at 8 a.m. and continue all day with a lunch break at noon. 
Morning presentations include ESCC/911, emergency management, fire administration, the county commission office, natural resources and 4-H youth program.
Afternoon presentations include  the county treasurer, register of deeds, buildings and grounds, highway, planning and zoning, information technology and equalization.
Both days allow for public input and comment. The hearings are held in the county commission chambers on the lower level of the county office building at 130 Kansas City Street in Rapid City.
All meetings will be live streamed via the county  YouTube channel. 
Holli Hennies of the Pennington County Commission Office said public comment is encouraged all along the way. These meetings allow commissioners and the public to learn more about department needs, including new full-time employers, programs and goals. It also gives an overall financial snapshot of the condition of the county as a whole.
The budget needs to be finalized by the end of September and a public hearing is held prior to that on Sept. 3.
In other county news, Pennington County has adopted a Vacation Homes Rental (VHR) policy, effective June 26.
The policy requires all VHRs within Pennington County, but outside of any city limits, to have a VHR license.
By definition a VHR is when a dwelling is rented for more than 14 days during a calendar year and is “not occupied by an owner or manager during the time of rental.” That dwelling can be a home or a cabin or even an apartment or condo  but cannot be an RV.
A VHR can be located in a residential, commercial or even agricultural zone, but cannot be located in a  floodway. The policy limits the total number of bedrooms to five and the total number of occupants to 14.
All VHR owners will need to apply for a license and pay a $150 fee. They also must have a current state Department of Health Lodging License and a Health Inspection Report.
Cody Sack of Pennington County Planning and Zoning said the new rules are being enforced on a complaint basis only.
“We don’t sit on airbnb  or VRBO and look for vacation  home rentals,” he said.
Rather, the county will look into any complaints it receives from neighbors or guests.
“If someone calls us, for example, saying they’re seeing a lot of coming and going and thinks they’re running a VHR we will then look online to verify it,” he said. “If there is no substantiation to the claim then there will be no further investigation.”

User login