Hospital Bond Election

Avera Hand County HospitalThe upcoming hospital renovation and expansion is an important project for our community and surrounding area. Strong health care providers are one of the key ingredients of a successful and vibrant community. 

The hospital is finalizing their financing for the project and as part of their financing package they are requesting general obligation bonds (GO bonds) through Hand County. A county election is required to issue the GO bonds. There have been a couple of public meetings to explain this process and to answer questions. If you missed the meetings, don’t worry, there are more to come. Here are the meeting dates and places:

  • Tuesday, November 17, 7:30 pm, Miller Fire Hall
  • Monday, November 23, 7:30 pm, St. Lawrence Community Room

 The county election is scheduled for Tuesday, December 8. A “Yes” vote will allow the county to issue the GO bonds. The hospital will pay for these bonds and all associated costs through their lease payments to the county.

 Following is some summary information about the hospital expansion and renovation.

 Organizational History

  • Since 1947, Hand County owns the entire health care campus. 
  • In 1985, the decision was made to lease the campus to Hand County Memorial Hospital Inc. (HCMH). 
  • Present, Hand County leases the entire campus to HCMH who subleases space to Vision Care, and AMK, while operating the community based services.


  • The project will remodel approximately 13,600 square feet of existing space and add 15,400 square feet of new space, while eliminating 12,000 square feet of non-health care usable space. 


  • Total project cost is $5.6M.
  • They are seeking USDA loans/bonds in the amount of $3.55M.  Avera Hand County Memorial Hospital & Clinic (AHC) will pay all bond related costs.
  • The hospital foundation has pledges over 5 years now exceeding $1M. 
  • $500,000 in Community Development Block Grants are available if the program is fully funded in 2010.
  • They are also applying for a Rural Electric Economic Development (REED) Fund loan @ 0% interest for ten years. 
  • Balance will be through HCMH Inc reserves.


  • Because the hospital campus is owned by the county, the USDA Rural Development has directed them to seek General Obligation Bonds (GO Bonds) through the County to finance the project.
  • All bond costs would be paid by the hospital, including the principle, interest, election costs, bond fees and closing costs.  There will be no tax increase as a result of the County GO Bond.
  • The GO Bond process requires a simple majority election of the residents of Hand County, to vote on any bond issuance of the County. 

If you have any questions regarding the project, you can call Bryan Breitling, the hospital administrator, at 853-0399.


Emergency Funds

Two agencies that partner with our local agencies and governments is NESDCAP and NESDEC. Here is a brief summary of what they do:

The Northeast South Dakoka Community Action Program (NESDCAP) and Northeast South Dakota Economic Corpotation (NESDEC) are here to help promote community excellence and stimulate economic growth through loans, techinical assistance and partnerships.

NESDCAP recently announced that they have emergency funds available for families in the counties of northeast SD, including Hand County.

These funds can be used for:

  • Utilities, utility deposits, and utility reconnection fees (electrical, water, sewer, garbage, propane, natural gas).
  • Rent/mortgage payments or rental deposits. Must be past due in their payments.
  • Food and personal care vouchers will also be available up to $300 or three months of need.
  • Tools, equipment, uniforms, specialized shoes, necessary for employment up to $300 per person.  
  • Public transportation, fuel for personal vehicles, personal vehicle repairs, bus transportation to shelters, medical related transportation up to $300. 
  • Eye glasses (up to $300 per person), prescription medicine, and dental work up to $500 or three months prescriptions. Clients may also be assisted with 35% COBRA co-payment for health insurance for newly unemployed individuals.
  • Temporary Shelter including hotels, boarding houses, shelters.

To qualify, the family income must be below 200% of poverty income guidelines based on the family size.

Family size              Income

  • 1                                  $21,660
  • 2                                  $29,140
  • 3                                  $36,620
  • 4                                  $44,100
  • 5                                  $51,580
  • 6                                  $59,060
  • 7                                  $66,540
  • 8                                  $74,020

To contact NESDCAP, you can call 605-698-7654, or go to their website at

Miller Housing Committee

HousingWe have been receiving feedback at the On Hand Development office that people moving to town are having a hard time finding affordable housing. The Miller Housing Committee has been created to study the housing situation in the Miller area. The mission of the committee is to find out the specific housing needs in the Miller area and to develop a plan to address those needs.

People may ask why On Hand Development is working on housing and how does that relate to economic development. Economic development involves helping our local businesses expand and new businesses get started. That means that these businesses will hire new employees and new employees need an affordable place to live. Insufficient housing will have a negative impact on the growth of new and existing businesses.

Committee members include Joe Fiala, Kurt Pfeifle, Ron Blachford, Dick Palmer, Mike Beaner, Dan Coss, Bryan Breitling, and Mike Ruth.

As part of this project, the committee will be conducting some surveys through the mail. They may also have an independent party conduct a telephone survey to gather pertinent data related to our community’s housing needs.

If you are contacted to provide information for one of our surveys please take the time to answer the questions. We would really appreciate your cooperation and it will allow us to get a clear picture of the housing situation in the Miller area. If you have suggestions or questions, feel free to contact us or stop by the office.

Welcome to the Blog for Miller, SD

Welcome to the blog for Miller, South Dakota. Don’t know what a blog is? Essentially, it is a journal that can be updated easily and published to the internet so that everyone can read it (here is a more detailed definition).

We will use this blog to post things about our community, organizations, and events. It will be used in conjunction with our website at and our facebook page.

Thanks for stopping by and we hope you enjoy the info that we post here in the future.