City of Eagle Butte votes to annex thirteen lots
The City of Eagle Butte held a public hearing on July 30th to discuss the possible annexation of 16 lots. City Council members voted to annex thirteen of the sixteen proposed lots. The annexation will take affect August 28th. The three lots that will be excluded belong to Gary Rousseau. Rousseau’s land is excluded due to failure to notify the BIA of the annexation.
Mayor Stephanie Davidson opened the annexation discussion by reading a letter expressing her appreciation for so much interest regarding a City issue. Davidson used her letter to correct a rumor about City Officers having the authority to issue citations to Tribal members.
“Yes I did initiate communications with Attorney General Marty Jackley and J.R. LaPlante to see if they could assist us in a mediation with CRST, to look at Law and Order issues here in our community. I thought we could pool our resources of law enforcement officers together to better serve the community. I did speak with Mr. Jackley on issues of law enforcement and also on the possibility of issuing citations, more importantly the uncontrolled speeding issues. Because no matter how you spin it we have a problem with traffic violators. But in no way did Attorney General Jackley ever in our conversation recommend that we issue citations. I want that clear and on the record,” said Davidson.
As Davidson finished reading her letter, CRST members filed into the room holding signs expressing their opposition to the annexation.
Tribal Council Chairman, Kevin Keckler, shared a letter that he sent to Mayor Davidson regarding the annexation:
Dear Mayor Davidson:
I write as Chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe to express the Tribe’s opposition to the City of Eagle Butte’s plan to annex territory within the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. The Tribe is opposed to the City’s use of a State law annexation process to acquire jurisdiction over land located within the exterior boundaries of the Reservation, including land owned by the United States in trust for tribal members and land owned, in whole or in part, by tribal members. This land is subject to the jurisdiction of the Tribal and Federal governments, not the city government.
The Tribe and the Bureau of Indian Affairs provide services to the land the City seeks to annex. We do not believe the City has a legitimate need to annex the land, and we are deeply troubled that the City would attempt to do so without directly notifying the Tribal Chairman or the Tribal Council.
We have made concerted efforts to work together with the City of Eagle Butte and we feel it a step backwards in our relationship that the City would make any effort to annex land within our Reservation and that it would attempt to do so without notifying the Tribe. As we have indicated in joint meetings over the last year, we want to work together with the City to benefit all the people in the Eagle Butte, North Eagle Butte, and surrounding communities.
We will oppose any effort by the City to annex Reservation lands, and we will take all necessary legal action to do so. We will be present at the City Council meeting on July 30, 2012. Enclosed please find a Tribal Resolution duly enacted on July 25, 2012, opposing the City’s proposed annexation.
Kevin C. Keckler
“We have no intention of being annexed into the City,” said Gregg Bourland, BIA Superintendent and former Chairman.
Bourland discussed previous annexations and court cases.
“You have never won a case. This is our Reservation. This is our land for our people,” said Bourland.
Robin LeBeau, CRST Tribal Council Representative, asked why the city wanted to annex the lots.
Mayor Davidson explained that because the City lawyer was unable to attend, council members would just be listening to public concerns and not making comment. After a bit of prodding, Davidson said that the City planned to annex for growth purposes.
The City of Eagle Butte does not intend to force a change from Tri County water to City Water. Water providers will remain the same.
“This is not about money. The services provided vs. the little bit of tax accrued, we may actually incur expenditures,” said Sheila Ganje, City of Eagle Butte Finance Officer.
Both the City and CRST say that they provide services to the newly annexed area. According to Ganje the City of Eagle Butte provides sewer services to that area.
“That is our sewer territory. We are already providing services to that area,” said Ganje.
Residents in the annexed area, at this time, either have service through the City or have a septic tank.
According to Leo Fischer, Tri- County Mni Wastè Director, the CRST put all new sewer lines in place for the Badger Park housing edition.
Badger Park has been unable to be developed further as there is currently a water moratorium.
According to Fischer, Tri-County provides the water to all thirteen annexed lots.
“We serve every single one of them,” said Fischer.
In an excerpt from the newly revised and approved study the City further explains the implications of this new annexation:
“The City shall continue to provide sewer services to all residents of the area. The City does currently provide sewer services exclusively for residents within the area and is under obligation of payment for USDA loans for these services as provided and shall not be curtailed or limited in their capacity to provide these services and/or provide for loan repayment.
The water services provided by rural water association shall not be curtailed or limited by the City of Eagle Butte’s inclusion of the aforesaid described area within the city limits. The City shall provide for existing water services to only those already served by the City of Eagle Butte or shall act in a manner provided by United States and South Dakota code with regard to the aforesaid described area. Given a failure to provide fire protection to this area, the City shall study the need for this service for the aforesaid described area.”
Along with the annexation discussion, there were questions about the Lakeside Golf Course Supper Club liquor license. According to Bourland they do not have a liquor license.
According to Ganje the Lakeside Golf Course is a City owned entity and falls under their liquor license. Further information regarding the liquor license was not available at the time of publication.