Finalizing Wind Energy Conversion Systems (WECS) regulations for Sweetwater County will take more time.
At Sweetwater County Commissioners voted to table the WECS for another 60 days which creates a problem.
According to county land use director Eric Bingham, the regulations would need an additional 45 days to be adopted, on top of the 60-day delay. On June 21, the county’s wind farm moratorium expires.
With the new 105-day delay, the regulations would not be finished in time for the lifting of the moratorium. Chairman Wally Johnson wanted to make one motion to table the WECS regulations, and extend the moratorium, but county attorney Cliff Boevers said that could not be done since the public would need notice to extend the moratorium. Representatives from EDF Renewable Energy, Jennifer Scoggins, and Alan Cowan, asked for a delay of the regulations at the meeting.
Cowan said some of the noise regulations were too harsh and said people in Oregon had no noise complaints with wind turbines. Scoggins said some of the regulations were stricter than state regulations, and said there should be an explanation. Commissioner John Kolb told them they should have showed up to the county Planning and Zoning meeting regarding the WECS changes advertised.
Don Schramm, from the Rock Springs Grazing Association, said the county should take its time on the regulations, and stop building in conflicts and referring to other regulations in the WECS. Clark Stith, a representative from the Church of Spiritual Technology, said the regulations should go forward and there was no reason for delay.
* The commission voted to table a budget amendment for the Sweetwater County Events Complex. The amendment would have increased the events complex budget up to $5,292,790, up from $4,433, 114. According to Bob Perry, accountant for the events complex, the increase was for housekeeping so the budget would be in compliance with a state statute.
Both Commissioners Gary Bailiff and Johnson said it was not new funding. Commissioner Reid West said he wanted more detail in where spending was going, and Commissioners Kolb and Don Van Matre agreed.
* Another financial issue arose at the meeting. The county will implement a new payroll system in July, according to county Human Resource director Gary McLean. With it will come a new payment schedule and having salaried employees become hourly.
County road and bridge employee Mike Carter, said the new pay schedule would be difficult because the checks would come later and require employees to build up reserves to deal with bills. Bailiff and West voted to rescind the changes and start over with deciding how to deal with employee pay, but the motion was defeated 3-2. In the end, the commission voted to have the pay date for employees have a limit of five work days after the pay month, with a $2,000 bonus for any employees that struggle with the later pay date.
* During the county resident concerns portion of the meeting, Green River resident Mike Lynch told the commissioners to dump the county’s subsidy toward Sky West after the airline dropped flights from the county airport.
“Why am I paying taxes when you guys are canceling flights?” he asked.
The commission also talked about the situation with the airport. Kolb said he would attend a meeting with Sky West in Utah to represent the commission, and would tell them the county supports the subsidy now, and then negotiate with Sky West. County clerk Dale Davis said the county will pay about $232,571 for the subsidy in the next fiscal year.
* Later in the meeting, Ruth Lauritzen, Sweetwater County Historical Museum director, talked about a study the museum made about refurbishing the Carnegie Library building.
She asked the commission to not make any decision regarding the building for a year, so the museum could investigate the building and find a use for it. The museum would also try and get the building on the National Register of Historic Places, she explained.
Lauritzen suggested building could be used as a research center for the museum, and for more storage space. West said the museum should have gone to the commission first, and noted there was already a 1998 study on the building they could have used.
Kolb said it is a beautiful building, but was in such a heavy state of disrepair, it would be difficult and expensive to repair it. He also asked how the museum’s study came up with half the price of an estimate for repair done 13 years ago. Lauritzen said the museum would need to do further studies on cost of repairs, and said they would try and find grants.
The commission took no action on the building, and Johnson said they would advertise and give notice when they did start taking action on it.
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