PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Walworth County’s government is on a financial path that will leave it short of money within three years, according to a past member of the county commission.
Rick Cain of Mobridge told state lawmakers Tuesday that the Legislature needs to set up a committee to deal with the situation.
Cain, an attorney, is a past mayor of Mobridge who won election to the Walworth County Commission in 2020.
He resigned from the county post last year, saying that other commissioners wouldn’t change how they were spending the county’s revenue.
Walworth County closed its antiquated jail in October 2020 and began sending inmates to other counties. That’s costing the county government more than it can afford, according to Cain.
“The county’s going broke, mostly because of the transportation costs,” he told the Legislature’s Study Committee on Regional Jails and State Correctional Plans.
Cain said the county is relying on one-time funds to cover a portion of its budget. At the current rate, he said, the one-time money will run out at some point in 2025.
According to Cain, there is “concern” among some on the five-member commission while other members are in “denial” and the public has “buried its head in the sand.”
One of the lawmakers brought up the situation later as she called on the committee to consider allowing counties to charge a sales tax for specific projects such as jails.
“We don’t want to see counties in dire straits like Walworth right now and maybe many more we haven’t heard from,” said Representative Nancy York, a Watertown Republican.