Washington County Commissioners met Tuesday, September 28 at the Event Center, as they continued their public meeting on the wind, solar and transmission lines debate. Less than 100 people were present. Pastor James Glisan opened the meeting with a scripture reading and a prayer, followed by the “Pledge of Allegiance.”
The Department of Human Services presented their monthly report. The minutes of August 31 and the payroll and vouchers were approved.
Pam McKay said there were nine referrals during the month of September, making 82 referrals for the year. They have 11 ongoing cases involving 20 children and there are six subsidized adoptions. There were five referrals for adult protection, and the number of adult protection referrals is over those reported for 2020. There were questions about the elderly and McKay said, “If dementia is reported, we make sure they go to a doctor, as physical problems can sometimes cause dementia. All that is checked first.”
Teresa Traxler then gave the financial report. They have received 80 percent of the federal and state revenue and 97 percent of local revenue. They also asked for the commissioners to sign a contract between the local department and Kit Carson County. The Washington County office has been asked to help with CCAP cases and the local office has agreed. The board approved that the chairperson signs the contract.
Director Grant Smith said applications for help doubled in August and he expects them to go up for September. They have done four case reviews. There being no more business, the meeting with the Department of Human Services was adjourned.
After the regular meeting was opened, the time for public comment was opened. Randy Hayes from Colorado Plains Regional Airport spoke first. He said the decisions on the wind, solar and transmission lines could affect the funding and the operations of the airport.
“We are an important airport and if the FAA decides it could affect the airport, that would be detrimental to us. I am concerned about the impact there could be on the airport,” Hayes said.
Cheryl Miller said the towers would change the terrain of the county and could have a lasting effect on everything in the county and would impact our grandkids and great-grandkids.
Melody Christensen spoke against the towers and said the roads are not being take care of now and wondered what they would be like if towers came in. Eric Christensen also spoke against the towers and reinforced what his wife said. He added that the commissioners were elected to represent the people of the county, not the big businesses who want to bring the towers in.
Bob Simkavitz said the commissioners need to make the best decision for all the residents. He felt wind energy was a poor energy outlet. He added that he is not totally against towers coming in, but he supported a 90-day moratorium.
Carrie Colby said let the people vote and decide. Sally Strand said she was disappointed in the public officials.
“You guys are all Republicans, why aren’t you thinking like Republicans?” Strand asked.
Gene Perry doesn’t want the towers and doesn’t want them for his descendants. He also said let’s put it to the vote of the people.
Suzie Sweney commented about the health issues, which had been mentioned before. She also spoke against the towers in other aspects that others had brought up. Strand spoke again and said the commissioners need to be transparent. Kim Harman said there is no transparency and to let the people vote and make the decision.
Steve Diamond then said the commissioners need to speak with the planning and zoning committee. He said the companies that want to come in are going to make Washington County look like a porcupine.
Dale Dunbar said the wind is a passing fad and everyone could put up their own wind charger in their backyard.
Rodney Palser said there is no transparency. He is a member of the planning and zoning board, as is Diamond, and he said the commissioners need to meet with the committee and work together and get questions answered. He also said he didn’t think the setbacks were far enough away.
Lea Holtorf said the towers are not for Washington County. Kirk Larson said he got one of the commissioners elected and he would make sure he is not elected again. He said he is considered one of the losers, which is about 40 percent of the county. He has pulled away from the county and is making his own power.
Town Clerk Dencia Raish said the town is worried about the airport’s safety and what the towers might do to the airport. Any decision needs to comply with FAA rules and regulations.
Chris Young, lawyer for Sacred Horizons, spoke against the towers, which is opposed by the people in Sacred Horizons. He stressed the opposition of the group and that the group thinks the rules and regulations made by the planning and zoning committee should be used.
Lacie Harman said this is a waste of money. She is very disappointed the public officials are not listening to the planning and zoning committee. Washington County is in negotiations with the big companies and are bowing down to these companies. She also felt the corporations don’t have morals and are wasting money.
Kristin Crumley felt the commissioners should have not started the meeting until 10:00 a.m., as it was listed in the agenda. She also asked what would happen if the towers interrupt the internet and what would happen to the people who work from home or an office?
Riley Strand said they have to do better on the setbacks. He also said the lights are going to be a problem, and added that it needs to go to a vote of the people.
Jaimee Mollohan said the research needs to be done and that everyone in the county needs to work together
“Let us help and let us all work together. Let us move forward and listen to the voices, please,” Mollohan said.
Gina Palser said the landscape is our way of life.
“I don’t want to see it trashed by towers and blinking lights. We want to keep it for our children and grandchildren,” Palser said. She also said let the people vote and make the decision.
Anthony Schaffert said as a landowner, we need to work together on the setbacks and the commissioners need to work together with the planning and zoning committee.
The regular meeting was then opened. Building permit 21-20 for Rick and Brenda Rhea to build a 28×46 foot garage was approved. Emergency Manager Bryant McCall said there are 26 active cases of COVID, 11 new and the positivity rate is 7.0 percent.
County Administrator Misty Peterson presented letters of impact for the Washington County Nursing Home that the chair needed to sign and this was approved.
The public hearing on the wind, solar and transmission lines was opened. Rodney Palser spoke about the energy cost and said the energy cost would go up about 50 percent. He said he did not know if it was true or not, but that is what he heard. Dena Palser spoke about the public hearing.
The public hearing was then continued to October 5 at 10:00 a.m. Resolution 94-2021 then extended the moratorium for solar, wind and transmission lines to October 15, approved by the commissioners.
A liquor license for Anton Store was approved. The meeting was then closed.
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