HURON COUNTY – Citing uncertainty in regard to issues surrounding wind turbines, the Huron County Board of Commissioners voted 5-2 to send a letter to the county planning commission stating wind turbine actions won’t be placed on the board’s agenda until the picture from the state becomes clearer.
District 6 Commissioner Ron Wruble said he feels the board can’t make decisions while there is this uncertainty. He said the purpose of the Huron County board is to represent the interests of the county and its residents.
Board Chairman Clark Elftman (District 3) said the purpose of the letter is to express the board’s concern to the planning commission. He said one particular concern is that the State of Michigan could take wind turbine zoning away from the county level.
District 1 Commissioner John Horny disagreed with sending the letter and said that the planning commission is knowledgeable and is doing a good job. Furthermore, he said wind turbines may become obsolete and replaced by other sources of alternative energy such as methane digestion or thorium, for example, but in the meanwhile wind is the best available option. Horny, who did not support this action, said he would support a vote by Huron County residents on the matter of wind turbines.
District 4 Commissioner Steve Vaughan also voted no in regard to sending the letter.
Those in favor of sending the letter stressed that this action is not a moratorium; also, it does not stop the ongoing projects that already have been approved.
During the Tuesday, Nov. 13 Meeting of the Whole, the board granted pay increases for department heads and non-union employees on a 6-1 vote. Commissioner Vaughan dissented, saying he feels a more equitable system could be found. District 2 Commissioner David Peruski and District 6 Commissioner Ron Wruble said the current plan is equitable and replaced one that was less so.
The board also passed a measure regarding eligibility of elected officials receiving longevity payments. The Resolution states the County Clerk, Treasurer, Register of Deeds, Prosecuting Attorney, and Sheriff, in addition to their annual salaries, also receive an annual longevity payment – 1st term $0; 2nd term $500; 3rd term $1,000; and 4th+ term: $1,500. After discussion about how to value service and experience but whether it should be somewhat matterof fact for re-election, the item passed 5-2, with Chairman Elftman and Commissioner Vaughan dissenting.
In another matter, the defining of a salary progression for central dispatch employee Christy Mularz passed 7-0.
In reports, District 4 Commissioner Steve Vaughan reported about the ongoing matter of the air duct issue at the Veteran’s Clinic, Michigan State University-Extension and Health Department building. He said that new bids will be sought. Vaughan said the new bids are necessary because it has been a full year since existing construction work. The board learned that although nothing is wrong with the ducts, which meet code for a county building, the Veteran’s Administration is requesting they meet Federal specifications. He said the work will be difficult because the areas are hard to get to and that service could be dis- rupted for a few days. Vaughan said that “a considerable amount” of ceiling tile may have to be removed. He said the building’s design wasn’t based on a duct system. The board also heard that any such air duct work in the building could involve electric and heating and plumbing crews.
In regard to neighbors helping neighbors, Vaughan reported that a large amount of potatoes was acquired and has been distributed to several local food pantries and distribution networks.
In another matter, Vaughan informed the board that Richfield, which handles local refuse, is in the process of being purchased by Emmie Leung, who is the CEO of the Canadian-based Emterra Group. Vaughan said the company is involved in recycling and she is looking at sites around Flint and down-state area as well.
In his report, District 1 Commissioner John Horny said that Sebewaing Township and the Village of Sebewaing are discussing on the formation of a charter township and that Huron County Economic Development Executive Director Carl Osentoski is assisting. Those involved also are looking to see how such a plan might benefit Unionville-Sebewaing Area Schools, he noted. Horny also reported that the Village of Sebewaing now oversees the operation of Sebewaing Light & Water.
Horny, who was defeated in the Nov. 6 election by Jeremy Tietz, said he will stay busy working with methane digesters, as well as uses of algae as a food source.
District 5 Commissioner John Bodis said in his report: work is progressing on the airport zoning ordinance; 9-1-1 is having re-banding problems as radios are not compatible with the existing computer systems; and that the county jail passed state inspection.
The board approved the Clerk to advertise vacancies: Veterans’ Affairs 2, 4-yr. terms; Rd. Commission 1, 6-yr. term; Construction Appeals 1, 1-yr. term; and 4 for the Nature Center of various term lengths.
The board approved Bills of $1,194,617: Health Department $149,798; Board Bills $172,707; and paid w/o presentation $872,110. The board, during New Business, amended the 2012 General Fund and Public Improvement Fund budgets.
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