ELK POINT, South Dakota (KTIV) - The big vote in Union County, South Dakota Tuesday was funding for their 911 dispatch center, which was in jeopardy of being outsourced to another county.
However, the county voted yes to increase taxes, which will keep that dispatch center right in Elk Point, South Dakota.
The eight full-time employees of the Union County, South Dakota dispatch center have been unsure of their future employment status for years now, as the board of commissioners has debated how to fund the increasing costs that go along with the county's 911 dispatch center.
The commission decided to send the matter to a public vote, and the public voted yes to a tax opt-out to fund the communication center and keep it in Elk Point, saving those eight jobs.
Sheriff Dan Limoges, who's lobbied for the communication center all along, said he was confident the support was there, and couldn't be happier with the results.
"I felt really good about it. I mean, there was good talk throughout the county. I felt we needed a good turnout, but even with the low turnout, obviously the people believe in what we're doing here and keeping the communications local is a priority," Sheriff Limoges said.
The yes vote on the opt-out will increase property taxes in the county by sixteen dollars and fifty cents, per 100 thousand dollars of property value.
Though the commissioners didn't always agree in their budget discussions, Commission Chairman Doyle Karpen says the public has spoken, and it's time to move forward.
"That's great. I mean, they have spoken, and the commission will move forward. And as we've stated before, we'll use those monies, and also the monies that we collect from 911 charges, to keep the communication center here in Elk Point," Board of Commissioners Chair Doyle Karpen said.
Karpen says the budget discussions for the county will take place later this week and early next week, as they decide the logistics of moving the county's new tax money around to fund the 911 dispatch center that will remain in Elk Point.
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