Newell Becomes Member of WDRWS

Newell News

NEWELL-The Newell Commissioners have voted to become Class I members of the Western Dakota Regional Water System. The $1500 annual membership fee will allow Newell to be a voting member of the organization. As a grassroots effort which is comprised of active water systems, it has brought water systems together to do something about the many factors that impact water availability.

WDRWS hopes to deliver bulk water to systems across western South Dakota. So far, over the past year the organization has collaborated with more than 350 water systems to learn about current capabilities and future needs. The organization has seen near-term and long-term benefits that hold the promise of water delivery from the Missouri River.

As they set sites on conservation as a tool that plays a large role as the population of South Dakota increases, they see it as a measure in meeting future needs. Developing a right-sized solution is important to WDRWS.

WRDWS was formed in 2021 and is operated as a nonprofit organization. More information can be found at

Newell joins several other area cities as Class I members, including Rapid City, Box Elder, Spearfish, Bear Butte Valley Water District, and the Butte-Meade Sanitary Water District, among others.

A Notice of Vacancy was announced for the election of Mayor of Newell for a three-year term, the present term for Mayor Wetz is up this year. Petitions can be obtained beginning January 26 at City Offices, 101 E. Third Street, Newell between the hours of 10 am and 3 pm Monday through Friday. The completed petitions must be filed at the City Offices by February 23 at 5 pm.

Salaries for 2024 were approved by the commissioners as follows: Mayor Ken Wetz, $1009.40 annually; Commissioners Donald Adams, Lorri Olson, Tiffany Tennis, and Allen Youngberg, $849.75 annually; Barney Barnes, $38,833.60 annually; Bernie Minne (changed from salary to hourly, regular/part time) $11.20/hour, Sydney Durham $11.20/hour, Dennis Myrice $13.25/hour, Lyle Nelson $14.25/hour, Lawrence Parker $48,609.60 annually, Betty O’Dea $11.20/ hour, Diana Williams $11.20/hour, Michelle Harkins $11.20/hour, Sheila Smith $39,124.80 annually, Arlene Sundstrom $14.85/hour, Verl Tifft $16.59/hour, Linda Velder $14.03/hour, Kendahl Wetz $15/hour, Lisa Wonderly $13.25/hour, and library subs $11.20/hour.

Kailyn Snyder from Black Hills Council of Local Governments gave the commissioners an update of Butte County Hazard Mitigations. She explained that the plan would lessen the impact on the loss of property and life from the natural disasters that come through the area. Snyder explained that it would be constructive to have a local council representative. Mayor Ken Wetz will join other members of Butte County as Newell representative.

There was no action on a decision for a building permit for a camper/storage shed at 412 6th St. According to the commissioners there was not enough information the permit request to go forward.

The commissioners approved the repair on the dry interior ladder for the town’s water tower. The proposal comes from Utility Service Company for $5,628. The existing notch-T-rail safety climb will be removed from the ladder in the water tower and a new cable safety climb will be installed.

The 2024 Newell Fire Department roster was approved by the commissioners. Members are Don Tishmack, Don Adams, Keith Baker, Tom Swan, Bryan Culver, Kris Jones, Phill Thornhill, Todd Williamson, Verl Tifft, Mike Clausen, Karen Baker, Jeremiah Heath, Clint Baker, Robbie Vansickle, Bill Heidrich, Dylan Vanderboom, Kim Jaukkuri, Andy Anderson, Tyler Swan, Steven Fischer, Corey Larson, and Lynn Koehn.

The fire department had one structure fire in December. The structure had heavy smoke damage and minimal bur damage. The home is still livable following cleanup. New SCBAs were expected to arrive around the early part of January and new PPEs should arrive in a month or so.

The Butte County Ambulance Service had a regular board meeting in December. Newell reported 28 requests for service during November. Newell Ambulance has a driver who will be taking the EMT class starting in January through the Spearfish Ambulance Service.

The Newell Museum has received $400 toward the purchase of three sets of steel alphabet letters for Hope Cemetery. Curator Linda Velder has begun research on the Stevenson Family and is rewriting the church history on a neighboring town.

Story time with Miss Patty continues to grow at the Newell Library. It takes place on the first and third Wednesday mornings from 11-11:30. The library offers books for adults to children, computer use, DVDs, audio books, and periodicals.

The next commissioners’ meeting will be February 12 at 5 pm. in the City Offices on Third Street.