An eager reader sends me a photo of a Dakota Dunes service truck with official exempt entity municipal license plates:
Dakota Dunes is not, however, a municipality. It is a master-planned community, essentially a private company that owns a lot of land where residents pay for the privilege of living and playing golf. Dakota Dunes has formed a “community improvement district,” a statutory creature which has the authority to levee property taxes; unlike municipalities, Dakota Dunes cannot levee sales tax.
The Department of Revenue issues fee-exempt license plates to “Any motor vehicle that is the property of this state, the United States, a county, a township, a municipality, a public or nonpublic school accredited by the Department of Education, an Indian mission school in this state, an Indian tribe, a fire department, or any bus or van owned by a church….”
So wait—Dakota Dunes is not any of those public creatures, but they have public, fee-exempt plates?
I wondered if maybe community improvement districts count as municipal entities, but the Department of Revenue tells me no:
Special districts such as sanitary and improvement districts do not qualify for exempt entity license plates. Only entities specifically listed in SDCL 32-5-42 qualify for these license plates [South Dakota Department of Revenue, e-mail response to Dakota Free Press, 2019.05.31].
Improvement districts do not qualify for exempt entity license plates. Yet an exempt entity license plate appears to have made it onto a Dakota Dunes Community Improvement District vehicle. Hmmm… Dakota Dunes didn’t swipe some plates from their officially municipal neighbors in North Sioux City, did they?