DANVILLE – Results of a study of noise caused by Invenergy wind turbines could be finished by the end of October.
Attorney Michael Blazer, an environmental law attorney representing Invenergy, spoke to the Vermilion County Board at its meeting Tuesday night, informing them of the status of the study.
The study is the result of complaints voiced by the Miles and Hartke families, both of whom live in the Hope area near two wind turbines. The Hartkes, who have the nearest turbine 1,665 feet away from their home, contend the turbine causes sleep deprivation and health problems for parents and children.
Blazer indicated the study is intended to determine whether the two turbines are exceeding Illinois noise pollution limits and the cause of the excessive noise.
The Hartkes in the past have compared the noise produced by the turbines to a semi running outside a window.
According to Blazer, two experts – one originally selected by Invenergy and a second hired at the request of the Hartke and Miles families – are handling the study. He indicates the study, however, is being conducted on property adjacent to the property of each family because neither has allowed the experts on their land as of July 29.
Ted and Jessica Hartke attended Tuesday’s meeting and spoke afterwards regarding Blazer’s statements, calling them “intentionally misleading.”
“We offered Invenergy full access to hour home and our property for five months and they refused to take us up on our offer,” said Jessica Hartke, noting they first began to voice their complaints in January.
Blazer, in speaking to board members, said the study began on Aug. 10, noting that August is a “lousy wind month.” The study has continued since, resulting in only two three-day periods where data could be taken from wind conditions.
“If the results are that we are causing a problem, we are going to fix it,” Blazer said on behalf of Invenergy. He noted that includes possibly curtailing the certain turbines or dealing with topographical issues.
Under questioning from District 6 board member John Alexander, Blazer admitted it is “physically impossible” to measure or determine the noise levels inside the Hartke or Miles homes without coming onto their property.
Jessica Hartke said after the meeting that her family will wait to see the results of the study before deciding on its validity.
“We would hope they would be very open and transparent with this study and allow us to view all of the data,” she said. “There is a lot of different things to be measured and there is going to be a lot of data collected and we hope they would provide full access to that raw data.”
Blazer told board members the study will be brought before the board once completed.
n Board members approved putting the county’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year out for public inspection.
Board members voted 19-5 for the budget and 19-6 for the levy. With the vote, the budget will be available for the public to look over at the Vermilion County Clerk’s Office during normal business hours.
District 4 board member Terry Stal asked the majority of questions about the budget, acknowledging that the deficit budget “makes me a little nervous with the change in philosophy.”
The budget steps away from using fund balances to stave off property tax increases, calling for a property tax increase of $5.60 per $1,000 property tax bill.
“This is an effort to put the brakes on a little bit on the use of fund balances,” said board chairman Gary Weinard.
The proposed budget will be a deficit budget with figures similar to the budget passed by the county last year. The deficit figure will be $1.08 million, a little more than $20,000 more than last year’s budget.
By law, the county must have a budget in place by the beginning of the next fiscal year, which starts on Dec. 1.
n New adoption fees for the Department of Animal Regulation were approved by board members.
The new proposal called for a $125 adoption fee for all dogs. Cats older than 1 year will now cost $75 while kittens and cats under 1 year will cost $90.
On average, care for cats and kittens costs the county between $85 and $94. Dogs and puppies costs the county between $104 and $121. In each case, the price to spay and neuter the animals ($38 for dogs and $42 for cats) is the highest cost, followed by rabies shots.
The county has not had an adoption fee increase since 2006 when the adoption fees were increased by $5.50 for all animals.
n A.J. Wright of Danville was approved as the newest member of the Vermilion County Board, representing District 6.
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