By Julie Ann Madden
At Union County’s 2014 Budget public hearing, the only topic was the county’s Communication Center.
When Union County Director of Communications Judy Oberg tried to hand petitions containing about 1,125 signatures to the commissioners, Commission Chairman Doyle Karpen told her to give them to the sheriff.
“We’re just setting the budget,” said Karpen. “That’s asking for (the center) to not be moved. That’s not our decision.”
“But if we don’t have the money, it will be moved,” responded Oberg. “I ask you to look at the petitions.”
She noted the petitions contained signatures of residents in each of the commissioners’ districts, people who had voted for them, and asked them to listen to them.
Later, Karpen told media the majority of signatures were from non-voting residents, teenagers, “but at the same time, there are concerned citizens there.”
The unofficial petitions stated: “We’re urging the board to keep our 911 and dispatch center in Elk Point. If budget cuts are needed, then the board should cut money from other areas than Public Safety.”
People signing the petitions were from Akron, Alcester, Beresford, Burbank, Brandon, Canton, Centerville, Dakota Dunes, Elk Point, Hawarden, Jefferson, McCook Lake, North Sioux City, Sergeant Bluff (Iowa), Vermillion and the Wynstone development.