At their weekly meeting on Tuesday, the Cherokee County Board of Supervisors discussed the cost of meals in some cities to which county employees travel for overnight meetings, and approved raising the per diem allowance for meals, which has been policy since 2005, from $24/day to $34/day.
The Board agreed that they also need to take a look at county policies to determine which other policies need updating, and set a goal to accomplish this policy update over the next few months.
The Supervisors also received an annual report from Veteran Affairs Director Dana Evans. Evans reported that 98 new claims for disabilities were filed for Cherokee County veterans in 2012, including 47 claims which were re-opened. Evans said the main claims have been for 1) mental health issues, such as depression, anger management and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; 2) Hearing loss; 3) Agent Orange, cardiac problems, Parkinson's, Diabetes and other medical conditions; and 4) problems related to service in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He also opened four new Widows pension claims and re-opened two other case; assisted veterans with procuring home loans; and filed 56 new hospital claims and 34 renewals, traveling to Sioux Falls, Spirit Lake and Sioux City to assist the veterans in these instances. Evans estimated that he takes three or four vets to medical appointments each month.
Evans estimated that 5-8 veterans come to his office each day, and for the last three years, veterans' counselors from the Sioux City Vet Center have come to the Cherokee office on the first and third Wednesday and Friday each month to provide vets with counseling - providing individual, couples and group counseling.
Evans has also had an outreach presence at several area events and has staged an annual Veterans Appreciation Day for the last few years. This year's event will be on July 27, 2013, and they will be observing the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, honoring deceased veterans from the area who served in that conflict.
In other business, Arlene Hollenbeck, a Board member of the Marcus Historical Society, reported on the progress of their new building and the moving of the Reed Center.
The outside of the new building is complete, with the exception of old time storefronts, and utilities are all installed except for the overhead lighting in the building and external lights. The sheet-rock inside is complete and bathroom space is almost complete. The floor covering has yet to be decided upon and moveable partitions yet to be constructed. Wall coverings and the painting for the exhibits needs to be done as well. Hollenbeck stated that the Historical Society's estimate on building costs was low, and volunteer labor not as plentiful as they had hoped, so they estimate that they need approximately $50,000 more to complete these projects. They are again applying for grants, and also asking the Marcus community for continued donations, but she also asked the supervisors to consider donating again to the project.
The Supervisors took no action at Tuesday's meeting, and they will review the status of funds in the Rural Betterment Account and other projects under consideration before acting on this request.
The Supervisors also discussed the proposed 911 Phone System upgrade and will research what financial assistance the county can provide to complete the project.