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MV decries wind farm split  

Ensminger also spoke to why the wind farm had been allowed to develop in the first place, including that it was believed the windmills would financially aid the school district.

Credit:  Marmaton Valley school district officials asked county commissioners to reconsider the way they divided recent wind farm payments to schools. Most of the wind turbines are located in the area, but the district is getting just 20% of the funds. | By Trevor Hoag | Iola Register | April 28, 2021 | www.iolaregister.com ~~

Marmaton Valley isn’t happy about the distribution of recent wind farm payments to schools.

Kim Ensminger, USD 256 superintendent, along with board member Bob Rhodes, shared their concerns with commissioners at Tuesday’s meeting.

“I’m expressing what the community feels,” she said.

In essence, their question was: if 70% of the wind farm is in the Marmaton Valley school district, why is USD 256 only getting 20% of the funds?

Recall, the Prairie Queen Wind Farm pledged to give $250,000 a year for ten years to area schools. In December, $50,000 was therefore given to Iola, Humboldt, Marmaton Valley and the LaHarpe tech center (along with $50,000 retained by the county), as part of the first payment.

Ensminger also spoke to why the wind farm had been allowed to develop in the first place, including that it was believed the windmills would financially aid the school district.

She further suggested that Marmaton Valley needed the funds more than other schools, given its small size and lack of financial resources.

“Our school district’s struggling,” she said, “and it’s going to continue to struggle.”

Ensminger therefore asked if commissioners would “reconsider how that money is divided,” which includes redrawing the original resolution.

When asked what she thought would be a more equitable distribution, Ensminger pointed out that 70% of the wind farm is in the Marmaton Valley district and 30% is in the Iola district, full stop.

Commissioner Jerry Daniels, who was the only commissioner serving when the initial resolution was developed, said that it had been divided equally since the original plan had been to provide safety and security equipment in equal amounts across the county.

“We did decide we’d take it year by year,” Daniels added, suggesting that he was at least open to the possibility of redrawing the wind farm resolution.

However, no official action was taken by commissioners at this time.

Jonathon Goering, economic development director at Thrive Allen County, spoke with commissioners about moving forward on the airport’s utilities expansion study.

Last week, he recommended that the county accept a bid from BG Consultants for $19,000, much of which will be paid by outside federal/state dollars.

After a short discussion, commissioners voted to approve the study bid and move forward.

Goering also reminded commissioners of community housing meetings that will take place today, especially the public forum on housing at 6 p.m. at the North Community Center in Iola.

Mitch Garner, public works director, spoke with commissioners about expanding the county landfill by adding a new “cell,” or specially-prepared dumping site.

He said that work could be done in around three years if crews were to start now, but added that the cell being replaced still had another six-eight years remaining.

Commissioners therefore wondered if the expansion might not wait a bit, so as to provide a small cushion in the current economic climate.

Garner also said that the county’s beleaguered rock crusher is down once again, after having electrical problems throughout the month of April.

He said that some rotor bearings had been damaged, and was concerned that this would in turn damage other parts of the machine.

It was estimated that the crusher would need about 90 hours of labor, and would need to be hauled to Murphy Tractor in Humboldt.

Garner guessed that it would cost around $40,000 for parts and labor on the machine, and would take two-three weeks before being operational again.

Despite the costs, Garner emphasized that “we have to have it,” especially if the county doesn’t want to purchase rock from outside sources.

Commissioners thus ultimately voted to approve the repairs, and gave permission to Garner to buy additional rock if needed.

Jason Trego, emergency management director, spoke briefly with commissioners about extreme spring weather, and said that although we should expect rain, the forecast has recently improved with regard to things like tornadoes and hail.

Ron Holman, house and grounds director, introduced commissioners to Sharon Sigg, who will be doing part-time maintenance work.

Sherrie Riebel, county clerk, introduced commissioners to Chad Turner, who will be the driver for the county’s new pilot transportation program. The program is slated to begin May 3, and will offer free rides to anywhere within Allen County.

Riebel also spoke with commissioners about the death of an indigent person who passed away on Sunday.

As the deceased was estranged from their family, commissioners agreed it was the right thing to do to provide $1,000 so that the person could be cremated at Feuerborn Family Funeral Service.

Source:  Marmaton Valley school district officials asked county commissioners to reconsider the way they divided recent wind farm payments to schools. Most of the wind turbines are located in the area, but the district is getting just 20% of the funds. | By Trevor Hoag | Iola Register | April 28, 2021 | www.iolaregister.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 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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