ERIE – A transformer malfunction has caused an outage at the Neosho Ridge Wind energy facility that Neosho County commissioners discussed Tuesday.
Commission Chair Gail Klaassen said she was contacted by Kelly Price with Neosho Ridge who said operator Liberty Utilities had reported the outage. The issue has shut down electric generators in the wind turbines and put out aviation warning lights.
Klaassen said officials are working on the problem but do not have a timeframe for repair. Commissioner Paul Westhoff said oil is visibly leaking from some of the windmills, and Commissioner Nic Galemore said the windmills each have about 60 gallons of lubricant.
Commissioners also discussed the possible impact of an electrical line being constructed across Allen County, and said it will not affect Neosho County.
In other business at Tuesday’s meeting, commissioners approved hiring accountant Rodney Burns to assist with preparation of the 2023 budget and to audit the 2021 budget. Commissioners have discussed seeking bids for upcoming audits, but Klaassen said the approaching budget work does not allow enough time to find another auditor.
Burns will audit the 2021 budget for $18,675 with an Oct. 1 deadline, and prepare the 2023 budget for $1,400. Commissioners Tuesday scheduled a series of meetings in May and June to hear presentations from departments and outside agencies with a goal of final budget approval July 26.
Commissioners reappointed Phil Jarred to a four-year term as trustee of Neosho Memorial Regional Medical Center, and approved a liquor license for the Erie American Legion to serve at a beer garden for the rodeo and Erie reunion. They tabled disbursement of funds to the Neosho County Fair board for prizes, trophies, judging fees and other costs.
Commissioners voted 2-1 to pay bills except for an invoice from the city of Chanute to store law enforcement body-camera footage. Galemore questioned if using diversion funds was proper, and whether taxing entities should be paying each other. Klaassen initially moved to include the invoice, but the motion died for lack of a second, and she voted against the second bill payment measure.
In his comments, Westhoff said he had talked to other counties’ commissioners and suggested having an independent audit of the hospital and ambulance service.
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