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South Dakota’s challenge to western town returns to court

July 30, 2018

STURGIS, S.D. (AP) — A town in western South Dakota is returning to court to seek a dismissal of the state’s case against its incorporation.

Court arguments over whether Buffalo Chip can incorporate are scheduled for Tuesday in Fourth Circuit Court in Sturgis, the Black Hills Pioneer reported.

“If the judge grants our motion on the 31st, then that should be the end of everything,” said Buffalo Chip’s Kent Hagg about the ongoing legal battle since Meade County voters approved the town’s incorporation in 2015. Several county residents and the city of Sturgis have since attempted to appeal the decision.

The South Dakota Supreme Court ruled in January that any action challenging Buffalo Chip’s incorporation must be brought by the state.

But Hagg argues that the state doesn’t have the authority to dissolve a municipality.

“While the state may believe itself to possess the power to dissolve an existing municipality, it has provided no authority for such omnipotence,” he said.

James Moore, the state’s special assistant attorney general, said South Dakota can challenge the town’s incorporation under state law.

“What the state grants, the state may take asway,” Moore said.

In its application for permission to challenge, the state said that a municipality can’t legally be incorporated if it has fewer than 100 residents or 30 voters. Census information submitted at the time showed Buffalo Chip didn’t meet the threshold.

The law’s threshold changed in 2016 to 100 legal residents and 45 registered voters.


Information from: Black Hills Pioneer, http://www.bhpioneer.com

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