The Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors listened to comments on the positive side of the wind energy controversy during their regular meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 3, as well as discussing the purchase of two new pickups for Secondary Roads.
“I’m gonna go a different direction than what we’ve been hearing,” Ray Grandstaff, landowner began. “I think the freedom of speech has been given to us at a very high cost and we are still paying for that. Public open meeting laws are in place so citizens can respectfully exercise their freedom of speech. Having their opinion heard and supported by facts without intimidation, name calling, conflicts of interest or threats.”
“I feel Supervisors have been doing a very good job at hearing both sides of the subject here and you’ve been doing your homework and I do not believe, as said last week, that the Supervisors are in cahoots with the wind company,” Grandstaff continued. “The people in Palo Alto County are very important to the Supervisors and take their job very seriously and when they make a decision they make it with respect to everyone.”
Grandstaff went on to point out that energy can be produced and exported out of the county like crops and livestock while still keeping the benefits locally and at the same time feeding the world. He pointed out that schools are struggling and county infrastructure needs help as well as jobs leaving the area.
“I’ve heard at one of these meetings that Palo Alto County does not need more money for roads because that person lived on a good road,” Grandstaff said. “I’ve been in conversation with the Supervisors for at least four years on the road north of me, which it is on the plans to be fixed. But anyone who thinks that we don’t need help with our infrastructure and stuff can take a ride between Ruthven and Graettinger. The speed limit is 40 mph (miles per hour).”
Grandstaff went on to say that the Supervisors have a very tough job trying to come up with money to pay for these things with all the budget cuts as well as the high cost of healthcare and retirement care.
“In visiting with Julie Nelson on the Board of Health, their feelings on the Board are also split,” Grandstaff noted. “In visiting with her I feel I heard about the same thing as I heard here. I feel with Dr. Veltri on there, he’s definitely going to be interested in the health of people in Palo Alto County and I guess that’s where I put my trust in the Board.”
“To go on record, the Health Board did not make a recommendation one way or the other, just so you know,” Supervisor Linus Solberg interjected.
According to Gandstaff, Iowa Lakes Community College is going to be doing disaster drills, but as Grandstaff says, “You plan for a disaster but it’s never exactly what you plan for, but you deal with it.”
In other business, Mark Zaccone, Business Developer for Invenergy, gave an update on progress working with those individuals who have come forth with issues regarding turbines or lines, as well as an update on the airstrip on the Emmet County line.
“That is the hands of the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration],” Zaccone told the Board. “They will get back to us when they want to.”
In final business, Palo Alto County Engineer Walter Davis-Oeth joined the meeting via conference call and Andy Stolley from the Palo Alto County Engineer’s Office brought in bids for the purchase of two pickups for Secondary Roads. Bids were received for 2018 Ford F250 4×4 Supercab from Don Pierson Ford, Spencer – $30,160 and from West Bend Ford, West Bend – $31,663 and for a 2018 Chevrolet Silverado Pickup 2500 HD 4WD Double Cab (F series) from Karl Chevrolet, Ankeny – $29,982.34.
After some discussion it was unanimously voted to keep the money within the county and purchase the two pickups from West Bend Ford at a total cost of $63,326.
Davis-Oeth also gave the Supervisors an update on the N40 project.
“They finished the mainline pours yesterday. There is still some hand work and a driveway to complete,” Davis-Oeth stated. “They are hoping to get that done this week obviously.”
“When will they be able to drive on N40 then?” Supervisor Craig Merrill questioned.
“They kind of messed up the maturity curve part of the determining of the structural strength, so I think we are looking at potentially Thursday or parts of it at least,” Davis-Oeth responded.
The next meeting of the Palo Alto Supervisors will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 10 at 8 a.m. An informational meeting regarding Wind Energy in Palo Alto County will be held on Thursday, Oct. 5 at 6:30 p.m. at the Emmetsburg VFW.