Hughes County Commission Discusses Possible Impacts And Adjustments To Prepare For Coronavirus

(KCCR) — The Hughes County Commission discussed a number of items related to the coronavirus during a Wednesday night meeting at the Hughes County Courthouse. Commissioners started by approving a resolution similar to the City of Pierre that follows an executive order issued by Governor Kristi Noem…

“We’re gonna support the Governor’s resolution and we encourage our residents to follow those guidelines and that would be in line with what the Mayor of the City of Pierre did, so to me that seems to be a good idea to stay kind of in step with what the cities do.”  “At this point I totally agree.  We’re addressing as many things as we possibly can here at the courthouse and Darin at the jail and…”  ” And our business community is stepping up and doing what they can as well.”
County Manager Kevin Hipple told Commissioners it would surprise him if property tax collections drop because of Covid-19…

“We are gonna have people that choose not to pay their property taxes because they don’t know what that future holds and they may or may not have income coming in and or whatever other issues they’re facing, so our income is probably not going to be as we expect, certainly isn’t going to be as kind as we expect.  The state delayed the requirement for paying motor vehicle licenses from March into April.  Well, one of the issues with that is April don’t have any renewals so that we can collect taxes.  Well now we will be doing both renewals and taxes.”
The state Revenue Department says due dates for property taxes are not changing. Hipple says meetings through electronic means are legal, but come with issues….

“I think it might be a little difficult to conduct just because you can’t look at each other and tell who wants to talk next and stuff like that.  I think it would be really difficult to figure out how to conduct an executive session cause you’d have to end the open public one then start up a new one.”
Hughes County is also looking into split shifts for employees to promote social distancing…

“One work one week and one work the next one week so, you would not be working two 80 hour…or two 40 hour weeks for 80 hours, you’d be working you know maybe a 50 or 60 hour week in one week then be off the next week.”

Officials are still exploring what a change to split shifts would mean for county employees who would be losing income from the off week. Also under consideration are impacts to the primary election and absentee balloting and Sheriff Darin Johnson talked about steps he’s taking at the Hughes County Jail to protect inmates and staff from the coronavirus.