Voters in Cash-Strapped SD County OK Tax Increase

Bennett County South Dakota on Map


MARTIN, S.D. (AP) – Voters in southern South Dakota’s Bennett County have approved an opt out of state-imposed property tax limitations.

Tuesday’s vote was 349 in favor and 168 opposed. Auditor Susan Williams says the cash-strapped county used paper ballots that were counted by hand to save money.

The opt-out is designed to generate an additional $350,000 annually and save the county from the possibility of bankruptcy.

The county is surrounded on three sides by American Indian reservations, and about one-fourth of the land is tax-exempt Indian trust land. Officials also cite the recent bad economy and an increase in crime as reasons for the budget woes.

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