DANVILLE – Plans will continue to sell county-owned farmland despite an unsuccessful attempt to sell the property.
Brian Neville with Farmers National spoke Tuesday at the Vermilion County Board meeting and explained the situation.
The county attempted to sell the land, totaling more than 100 acres, at a public auction in mid-February. Bidders, however, fell short as the top bid reached a total of $925,000 – well short of the around $1.2 million set by the county as the minimum bid price for the total property.
Neville told board members that Farmers National would continue to attempt to find a buyer for the land by seeking a private offer from an interested party. Farmers National has until May 20 to find a private offer.
After that date, Neville said a custom farming contract would be set up for the growing season with the operator who has farmed to the land in previous years to plant and harvest a crop. The county receives the profit from the crop while the operator is paid for the duties and responsibilities that come with handling the land.
Questions were raised by the board at the meeting regarding exactly how much land was put up for auction. A.J. Wright of District 7 indicated he believed the board voted and approved the entire tract of 120-plus acres to be sold. But only 113 acres – tillable land – was actually put up for auction.
Funds from the sale were expected to go toward of a number of maintenance projects on county buildings – including the Vermilion County Courthouse, the Courthouse Annex and Emergency Management Agency building, among others – that have been pushed back in recent years.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting:
n Board members officially declared a vacancy in District 5 with the February resignation of Orick “Corky” Nightlinger of Tilton. Vice Chairman Mike Marron said letters would be sent out to Democrats and Republicans to fill the post.
n Board members heard a summary of results of a study done on wind turbine noise complaints by the Miles and Hartke familes living in the California Ridge wind farm.
Michael Blazer, an environmental attorney for the wind farm company Invenergy, said the final study results indicated Invenergy was not in violation of state decibel limits in the nine octave bands for residential property as set by the Illinois Pollution Control Board.
“Good, bad or indifferent, this is the law in Illinois as it stands today,” he told board members.
District 2 board member Kevin Green noted that the study does not rule out the present of vibrations or infrasonic noise that could create the families’ problems.
Michael Hankard, one of two noise specialists that collaborated on the study, also spoke to board members and indicated that the idea of infrasonic noise has received scrutiny, but at this point he’s seen nothing to verify a clear link.
“The jury is still out, I would say, to say the least,” he said.
Blazer noted the study does not indicate the end of the process in dealing with the Miles and Hartke family complaints. The Miles family and the attorney representing the Hartke family have received copies of the study.