MANITOWOC – Discussion about urging the state to complete a study on the effect of wind turbines on human health was deemed inappropriate by County Board Chairman Jim Brey, who took the discussion off the board’s agenda prior to the county’s Board of Supervisor’s meeting Tuesday.
“We have Broadwind Energy here and that is great, but with Manitowoc Company’s announcement this past week, and losing all of those jobs in the community, I don’t think it was appropriate to discuss the merits of wind power right now and have that big discussion,” Brey said.
“Broadwind is doing great in our community and we value them as a neighbor as business in our community and we want them to remain that way,” Brey added.
He said delaying the conversation about wind power also gives him and the rest of the county supervisors time to watch what happens with a similar study approved by the Wisconsin Counties Association.
“With these wind towers in different communities, there are claims of health effects by people living near them,” Brey said. “No one can come up with a determined study or a determined factor of this stuff that is happening. I’m not doubting people, but there needs to be a study done.”
Brey said he supports the presence of wind power in Manitowoc County and hopes to bring the discussion back to the board after the Wisconsin Counties Association meets about its proposed study. He said the Manitowoc County Board of Supervisors isn’t likely to discuss bringing wind power to the county before the end of the year.
Edward Rappe, a resident of Manitowoc County and a former county supervisor, said he believes bringing wind power to Manitowoc County would provide some much-needed tax revenue, especially in light of the announcement from Manitowoc Company to move its crawler crane operations to Shady Grove, Pennsylvania.
“I personally think this is going to be a very devastating time for us, not just the city, but the whole county,” Rappe said.
Rappe said he remembers when the board previously discussed bringing wind power to Manitowoc County but voted down the proposal.
“At the time, northern Manitowoc County was the best wind-generating area in the state,” Rappe said. “We could be capitalizing on that. Eleven years ago, we would have made over $267,000 in taxes if that would have gone through, and I imagine that would be much greater today. Wouldn’t that go a long way in helping us after Manitowoc Company leaves?”
The board did approve spending $115,000 from the Highway Special Revenue Fund to repair a deteriorating culvert pipe along County Trunk Highway CR.
Highway Commissioner Marc Holsen said he and his staff have been checking culverts a year prior to any road work that needs to be done. He said they do this to avoid needing to tear up a new road if a culvert pipe fails.
Board Supervisor Kevin Behnke advised the repair could cost a lot more in the future if the board decided to decline the repairs.
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