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Back to the Drawing Board for South Dakota Veteran’s Home

Governor signing
(South Dakota Governor’s Office)

The goal is to do the right thing for those who have served our country.  There is also the hope that the state of South Dakota will use its resources wisely to complete the task.

South Dakota Lieutenant Governor Matt Michels has been deeply involved with the process of adding to the Michael J. Fitzmaurice Veteran’s Home in Hot Springs.  This also involves Federal Government entities and standards, which played a part in the underestimating the cost of the project, scheduling and canceling a legislative session and working the ranks for a lot of favors to get the project moving.

The state veteran’s home is different from the federal facility that also resides in Hot Springs.  When you examine the history of the state facility, it dates back to the Civil War and the oldest current resident participated in the Battle of The Bulge in World War II.  However, the state needs federal funds to get the project off the ground.  It would be run by South Dakota when completed.

Michels Gives History And Mission Of State Veteran’s Home

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During the 2013 Legislative Session, lawmakers and state officials thought the cost of the facility was going to be $34 million.  The bids came back in May with the lowest being $43 million.  It’s not like no one is going to miss $9 million to $10 million, so that appropriation needed approval or the grant money from the federal Veteran’s Administration would be lost.  Michels was candid in revealing the reasons for the discrepancy.  Material costs and the federal specifications of hospital space ballooned the bid price.  Fortunately, Michels was able to work with the VA to extend the deadline for the grant without legislative action.

After Tense Moments, Michels Says Solution Reached

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The planning stages for the State Veteran’s Home will continue.  Next on the agenda could be design changes to fit the amount of money appropriated by the Legislature.  Otherwise if additional money is needed, lawmakers will need to approve the funding by late February of 2014.

NEXT: GOVERNOR'S MEDICAID TASK FORCE MEETS

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