Taxpayer blasts county
Credit: By Phyllis Zorn, Staff writer | Marion County Record | marionrecord.com ~~
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Lloyd Meier minced no words when he gave two county commissioners a piece of his mind Monday.
On his list of irritations were road repair money owed to the county by Diamond Vista wind farm in the northern portion of the county and money lost on a covered fishing dock at the county lake.
His comments about road money were pointed at commission chairman Randy Dallke.
“Six weeks ago, that wind farm up at Tampa said they had a check in the mail. Where is it?” Meier said.
County counsel Brad Jantz told Meier that he and Enel Green Power still were negotiating a settlement agreement and that he was awaiting Enel’s response to his latest proposal.
“I want to say, especially to Mr. Dallke, don’t say nothing you don’t mean,” Meier said.
Enel promised to pay for road repairs needed because of wind farm construction but contends it is not responsible for flood damage to roads.
Enel also disagrees that it should have to pay $686,000 for services provided by Kirkham Michaels, an outside engineering firm hired to oversee road work as the wind farm was built.
A portion of Kirkham Michaels’ fees was deducted from a payment in lieu of taxes that Enel made in 2019.
“That’s what we’ve been negotiating,” Dallke said. “They took it out of the PILOT payment, and they don’t have to pay the PILOT payment, so what can you do?”
Meier also questioned commissioner David Crofoot about money paid to a Kechi boat dock company in January 2020 to repair the county’s covered fishing dock after it was destroyed in a storm six months earlier.
The county paid Ben’s Boat Docks a $102,000 down payment, but little progress was made. The county arranged in March to pay $3,000 to haul pieces purchased for the dock back to Marion County. It then gave the building contract to a different company, Nelson-Fowles.
Meier objected to paying the Kechi company in advance.
“I don’t do that,” he said. “I get my stuff. I pay for it.”
Crofoot said the county had to pay for Darryl Brewer to haul the boat dock pieces because a wide load permit would be needed.
“It only costs $10 to get a wide load permit,” Meier said. “Just do something. Use your hands on it; don’t use your butts.”
The county has considered suing Ben’s Boat Docks.
In other business Monday, commissioners:
- Met representatives of Orsted, a Danish company that purchased Diamond Vista Wind Farm in May. Jonathan Vasdekas, project development manager, said the company soon would have a timeline for project construction.
- Accepted a $9,467 bid for a new courthouse flagpole.
- Met in separate executive sessions with county appraiser Carl Miller and assistant appraiser Nikki Reid, who is training to replace him, to discuss Miller’s contract, which is soon to expire. When open meeting resumed, Dallke said commissioners would make a decision next week.
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