Meade County - Government & Citizenship
Meade County government supports economic development with an aggressive five-year property tax abatement for new and expanding business construction, and citizens county-wide understand the bulk of construction will happen in the west along Interstate 90—in and near Sturgis, Summerset, Black Hawk and Box Elder.
Law enforcement, emergency medical transportation, and road maintenance are obviously of equal concern county-wide, and county government at times has had to work hard to find ways for maintaining quality services in sparsely populated areas.
Issues that have prompted considerable public comment in recent years have included zoning related to the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, and possible development adjacent to Bear Butte, a sacred site for several native peoples. The National Trust for Historic Preservation lists Bear Butte as one of “11 Most Endangered Places.”
Meade County is governed by an elected Board of Commissioners. Members represent five unique districts within the county and serve four year terms. Commission meeting agendas and minutes are available online.
Regular commission meetings are scheduled for the first consecutive Tuesday and Wednesday of each month. Wednesday is most commonly used for public input. Tuesday sessions start at 8:30 am. Wednesday sessions begin at 10 am and sometimes extend into the evening for public input. Special meetings can also be announced and conducted. The commission meets at the Erskine Building, 1300 Sherman Street, Sturgis.
The commission regularly appoints citizens to advisory boards addressing planning, resource conservation, mental health, housing and redevelopment, juvenile detention, and much more. County residents wishing to serve may complete a citizen interest application found at www.meadecounty.org. Committee openings are announced through the press and may be found at the above address under press releases.
For calendar year 2012 the commission approved a total county budget of $16,939,556. (Source, county auditor’s office) The public can see the budget document at the county auditor’s office, 1300 Sherman Street, Sturgis, Monday-Friday from 8 am – 5 pm. During the budgeting process in late 2011, there was talk among commissioners about finding ways in the future to lower county taxes and expenditures, possibly by reducing county employment and overtime pay. Rising insurance costs for county employees have been a budgeting difficulty.
Meade County votes predominately Republican. For the 2008 general election, 68 percent of registered voters were Republican, and only 32 percent were registered Democrat.