March 2019 Newsletter Article by Todd Kays

County Wage and Benefit Survey

County Government, like private business, needs to be innovative in regard to recruitment and retention strategies. Counties are in competition with other counties and municipal governments when it comes to attracting, recruiting or even poaching employees from other public entities. In order to be competitive, especially in counties with minimal population growth and aging employees, counties will need to offer competitive wage and benefit packages to existing and perspective employees. This is a difficult task with the limited resources available.

The First District in conjunction with the South Dakota Planning Districts and the South Dakota County Commissioners Association will be conducting a county wage and benefits survey in March of 2019. This survey will be similar to the work completed in 2015 and 2017. Please take the time to complete the survey as the results will provide an excellent resource for counties to use in comparing wages and benefits paid in their county and other counties across the State. If you have questions after you receive the 2019 County Wage and Benefit Survey, please contact Suzie or me.

Housing Solutions Website

Housing is an issue that impacts every community within the First District. I know that many communities continue to address this complex topic. There are many stakeholders with different ideas on how best to address housing. The short answer is that there is no silver bullet or a one-size-fits all solution. Lorraine Polak with the SDHDA recently provided me with a website which I feel can be beneficial when addressing housing in your community.

There is quite a bit of information and it is easy to maneuver around the website. One of the tabs that I found interesting related to why it is important to develop a local housing strategy. It provided a six-point straightforward approach to developing a local housing strategy.

Those steps include:

  • Analyze the jurisdiction’s housing needs that illustrate the problems the jurisdiction is seeking to solve.
  • Define the policy objectives the jurisdiction hopes to achieve through the strategy.
  • Develop a comprehensive approach to meeting these objectives using the full array of resources available to local agencies in the community.
  • Identify funding sources and contingencies.
  • Develop a plan for implementing the recommended approaches.
  • Establish a list of numerical goals and associated milestones to use to track and monitor progress and to uncover shortfalls.

I would recommend anyone interested in housing to visit

Governing Body

The next First District Governing Body meeting will be on March 28th. The highlight will be a presentation from representatives of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. Hope to see you there.

While as a native South Dakotan I realize that winter is just one of the four seasons and part of life here on the prairie, I am getting quite sick of all the white stuff. Hurry up Spring!