Minnehaha County commissioners vote to raise taxes

Local News

MINNEHAHA COUNTY, S.D. (KELO) — A steady increase in the need for deputies and courts means your taxes are going up in Minnehaha County.

“We have commissioners Beninga and Karsky on the phone,” said Minnehaha County commissioner chairman Jean Bender.

With all members present, Minnehaha County commissioners reluctantly voted to raise taxes.

“When we opt out, we don’t do it because it makes us happy,” Commissioner Jeff Barth said. “That said, when the time comes to where it’s necessary to opt out, it’s our job to do that.”

“Most of our spending goes towards state statute of law enforcement and court services. According to our paper, 94 percent of our general fund goes toward these expenses and that’s mandated,” Commissioner Cindy Heiberger said. 

Before voting, commissioners learned the price tag for the opt out.

“Before you today is a $6.5 million opt out,” Minnehaha county commissioner administrative officer, Carol Muller said. “A $150,000 house would see their taxes increase by $19.10. A $200,000 house would increase by $25.46.”

“None of us sleep well at night when we know this is what we have to do today,” Commission chairman Jean bender said. “This is not something that any of us relish but when I talk to folks and I explain the criminal justice side of the question, I think most people think ‘you know what? One of the great things about living in Minnehaha County is that I generally feel safe at might.'”

With that, commissioners voted unanimously to approve the opt out.

If anyone objects to the opt out, they have 27 days to gather nearly 6,000 valid signatures to force the issue to a public vote. The last county opt out in 2015 took effect without opposition. 

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