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County continues to discuss road repair responsibility 

Credit:  By Patty Decker | Hillsboro Free Press | October 22, 2019 | www.hillsborofreepress.com ~~

The Marion County Commissioners heard more about the road maintenance agreement involving the Diamond Vista wind farm project, approved a class for responders and more at the Oct. 21 regular meeting.

Brice Goebel, county engineer, said the ongoing road maintenance agreement involving Enel Green Power, which acquired the Diamond Vista wind farm, wasn’t going as well as planned.

Goebel and others involved in the RMA were optimistic at the Oct. 16 commission meeting regarding county roads being repaired, but now he said EGP is wanting to have a list of post-construction work, a list of roads reworked and a punch list, which is prepared near the end of a construction project indicating work that doesn’t conform to contract specifications.

Commissioner Dianne Novak said she witnessed that firsthand on Saturday, Oct. 19, she saw heavy equipment on 330th Road, which is not a haul route, stating an alternate route that should have been taken.

“I followed them and they went to an RV park to dump rock (in that area), which is a violation,” she said.

In total, and as a best guess, Goebel said he thought about four to five truckloads of rock were hauled to that location.

Commissioner Randy Dallke explained to David Mueller, who is the liaison between the landowners and Diamond Vista, and who was at the meeting, that the county is trying to get Enel out as soon as possible.

“It just looks bad,” Dallke said, “when rock should have helped here.”

Mueller said he was unable to address the rock issue being hauled to Abilene, but said he would check with wind farm officials.

It was mentioned that EGP wanted to close out this project regarding the road maintenance agreement by Oct. 31, but the commission touched on the line of credit letter and how it would no longer be valid after Dec. 31.

Prior to making any decisions on road repairs, the commission turned its attention to the next agenda item.

The main dispute between county officials, Kirkham Michael Engineering, hired to protect the county’s road interests, and EGP is whose responsibility it is to repair flood damage caused by the July rains.

The wind farm officials don’t consider the repairs their responsibility, and the commission disagrees because the damage caused by rain is to be expected in Kansas.

The Diamond Vista wind farm project could span across Marion, McPherson and Dickinson counties with 130 to 150-plus landowners involved, according to information presented by Tradewind Energy, the original company involved in the county.

Novak said at the Oct. 16 meeting that she was told by a Dickinson County official that all eyes were on Marion County and how it’s being treated.

EMS director Travis Parmley said he would like the commission’s approval to begin looking at classes for emergency medical responders, who are people trained to provide basic life support.

“I believe it’s the future of EMS,” Parmley said.

Parmley said the size of the classes would need to be a minimum of 10 people, but no more than 20, and a majority of the cost might be available through scholarships.

“I would like to open this up to the public,” he said, “and see people getting involved.”

Department on Aging Coordinator Gayla Ratzlaff provided a quarterly update saying that on Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, they would be handling prescription drug enrollment.

Ratzlaff said she would be going to Hillsboro, Goessel and Peabody at least two times each during their enrollment period.

In addition, she talked about the senior centers in both Durham and Peabody.

In Durham, she said, that because of the flooding it had not been meeting, and in Peabody new carpet was laid and the mold removed, but without help through a small business loan or other avenues.

The secretary/transportation coordinator reported to Ratzlaff that two trips were made for the month of August, with one of those being health-related. In September, nine trips were reported. Eight were health-related, she said. In October, all five trips reported involved health issues.

The commissioners also approved a low bid of $31,280 for a Loftness 51-inch battle ax from Victor L. Phillips of Wichita. Goebel said this bid was for a forestry rotar drum for the Road and Bridge department’s excavator.

Source:  By Patty Decker | Hillsboro Free Press | October 22, 2019 | www.hillsborofreepress.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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