By Julie Ann Madden
Union County’s 911 dollars dispute has made its way in to the Union County Circuit Court.
At their June 10 meeting, Union County commissioners and Union County Auditor Carol Klumper were served notice by Union County Sheriff Dan Limoges.
According to the court document’ facts in the entitled Verified Petition for Writ of Mandamus, Complaint for Declaratory Judgment and Unjust Enrichment and Conversion:
• South Dakota Legislature has passed a comprehensive statutory scheme pertaining to the collection and distribution of 911 emergency surcharges, which requires the S.D. Department of Public Safety to remit each month 70 percent of the 911 emergency surcharges collected to the public agency where the surcharges were collected.
• Between July 1, 2012, and through June 6, 2014, county officials had the responsibility to in turn remit the portion of emergency surcharges properly attributable to North Sioux City.
• In a June 21, 2011 letter from Klumper, she acknowledged North Sioux City is entitled to receive E-911 surcharges from cellular customers with a physical address inside the city limits. The commissioners directed Klumper to assist North Sioux City officials and any cellular providers in determining the appropriate designation of surcharge fees.
However, North Sioux City officials allege the commissioners and Klumper have failed and/or neglected to remit all emergency surcharges properly attributable to North Sioux City.
North Sioux City officials allege defendants have unlawfully retained their emergency surcharge dollars, have delayed and/or obstructed payment to them, and they have suffered damages as a result.
North Sioux City officials allege county officials have been “unjustly enriched” at their expense and ask the court to order county officials to pay “all monies, surcharges and gains which they have obtained or will unjustly obtain in the future.”
The court is also asked to order a preliminary injunction restraining county officials from dissipating any portion of the emergency surcharges it receives or has received pending the lawsuit outcome. Furthermore, city officials are asking county officials to pay pre-judgment and post-judgment interest on all amounts to be paid them and to pay the city’s attorney fees and all costs of the lawsuit.
County officials have 30 days to respond to these accusations.
At the June 10 meeting, commissioners, along with Klumper, Limoges and Communications Director Judy Oberg, met in closed session with Union County States Attorney Jerry Miller and the county’s insurance company attorney, Anthony Lamb of Klass Law Firm of Sioux City.
Afterward, a $77,003 bill from North Sioux City was added to the county’s biweekly claims list, which the commissioners unanimously approved paying.
In addition, Commissioner Marvin Schempp made a motion to transfer $77,000 from the county’s General Fund to the county’s 911 Fund. Commissioner Dale Neely seconded it, and the vote was unanimous, 4-0, with Commissioner Ross Jordan being absent.
According to Karpen, North Sioux City officials are working out an agreement with state officials whereby they will be paid directly from the state like counties are.