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Meade County Starting Nine New Employees at $17.50/Hour—Want to Buy a House?

Also on the Meade County Commission agenda Tuesday are personnel actions, including the hiring of nine new employees at $17.50 an hour:

Meade County Commission, agenda item G-4: Personnel Actions, 2021.12.21 meeting.
Meade County Commission, agenda item G-4: Personnel Actions, 2021.12.21 meeting.

$17.50 an hour for new fire mitigation specialists means the fire crew lead also gets a raise from $15 to $19 an hour.

Those new hires in Meade County government are getting about $35,000 a year. says the median listing price for homes in Sturgis in November was just under $340,000, up 48% from two years ago. NerdWallet says that to finance a house at that median list price at 3% interest, with a $20,000 down payment, a decent credit score, and $600 of existing monthly debt payments (car, student loans…), a borrower should have annual income of just under $80,000.

So unless those new Meade County firefighters, jailhouse staff, and dispatchers have a spouse making $22.50 an hour full time, at least half of the houses on the market in Sturgis will be out of their range. Without a second income, those new hires will have to settle for houses under $165K, and that’s if they can come to the bank with no other debt.’s listings for single-family homes in Sturgis available now start at $180,000.


  1. Loren 2021-12-20 09:35

    Watch the Repuglicans start carping about lazy welfare recipient when folks don’t flock to those openings!

  2. Richard Schriever 2021-12-20 15:05

    Loren – the names associated with those “new hire” lines indicate that these positions are already filled. My guess is rental housing or trailer park housing for all of them. Maybe a couple live “out in the country” somewhere in what would be an otherwise abandoned farm/ranch house.

  3. Mark Anderson 2021-12-20 16:24

    Republicans like humble servants.

  4. John 2021-12-20 18:11

    Based on the metrics Cory provided, even the county attorneys do not earn a living wage to qualify for a mediocre home loan.
    What a state. State of disrepair.

  5. Arlo Blundt 2021-12-20 22:15

    Well…17.50 an hour is considered great “wages” by many people West River. I’m certain the new employees will be criticized as loafers and nerdowells for working for the county….that’s just shy of Leprosey out there. It’s the economics of institutional poverty. These employees will take on two or three other part time, or on call jobs helping out folks within their social sphere.

  6. jerry 2021-12-20 23:17

    $25.00 an hour for starters is more a benchmark that is needed. Install that as a start up wage with a government supported child care program for workers and we may finally see some progress in this state.

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-12-21 05:26

    I’d suggest the new county employees could supplement their income by renting their homes out during the Rally, but since correctional officers, dispatchers, and firefighters are probably in higher demand during the Rally, they can’t take vacation and decamp.

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