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County official urges pursuit of noise test

BAD AXE – A Huron County Commissioner plans to present a resolution next week to address the county’s wind turbine noise complaint dilemma.

According to Commissioner David G. Peruski, who chairs the board’s legislative committee, the resolution would include the following requirements:

• If a test shows a violation of the noise requirements of the county’s wind ordinance, a civil infraction would be issued.

• If landowners do not give permission to test on their land, their complaint would be closed.

During this week’s Huron County Board of Commissioner’s meeting, Peruski added that a bidding process is not required to choose a testing company since sound testing would fit under the category of professional services.

“I believe it’s not something you want to do with the bidding process,” Peruski said. “It’s an exempted purchase from the purchasing policy. The purchasing policy says (for) professional services … basically, we do not have to go through the bidding process.”

A common argument against hiring ABD Engineering & Design to conduct testing is that the job was not put out for bids.

Commissioner Ron Wruble asked whether other companies should be invited to give presentations on the project and be evaluated.

Peruski said when the county was working on the 2015 wind ordinance, ABD was then compared to other companies and determined to be the county’s best bet.

Commissioner John L. Bodis added the committee worked for two years to establish the 2015 wind ordinance and decided ABD was the best firm.

Peruski also noted the sound study could be reviewed by other sound experts.

He said it’s important that the county follows through with its investigation of the three noise complaints.

After lengthy discussion, the board voted last week unanimously to turn down a finance resolution to pay ABD $24,500 to perform the test. Peruski was absent.

After Peruski spoke, county Building and Zoning Director Jeff Smith explained the testing standards.

He said the protocols would be the same regardless of whether the 2010 or 2015 ordinance was used.

The turbines in question were built under the 2010 ordinance, but the 2015 ordinance more specifically address noise-testing standards.

Throughout Smith’s report, noise complainant Robert Gaffke of Bloomfield Township adamantly shook his head.

Since it was a committee meeting of the whole, no public comment was allowed, and the board could take no action.

In other business during Tuesday’s meeting:

• Commissioner Steve Vaughan asked Properties Chair Todd Talaski whether he had received a copy of the plans for a proposed replacement for the Huron County Expo Center.

He had not, but noted a committee meeting was being planned among interested parties in the expo center.

• Vaughan also asked about the mutual aid agreement between local fire departments that states if one fire department is called to a scene, another must join them.

County Emergency Services Director Randy Miller said the arrangement is a Fire Chiefs Association agreement. It ensures that firefighters get to the scene quickly. Not to mention, 80 percent of the time, both departments are used.

“You usually get as much help as you give,” Miller said.

• In finance news, Wruble reported that the budget process will start next week.

The board meets next at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the Room 305 of the County Building.