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Commissioners take steps to protect county as wind energy topic heats up  

Credit:  By Joey May | Hiawatha World | www.hiawathaworldonline.com ~~

The Brown County Commissioners took steps to protect the county as the wind energy topic heats up.

Clif Heiniger presented the commissioners with a letter signed by 143 residents who were concerned about wind turbines being present in the county. Heiniger told commissioners most of the signees were rural resident and cited everything from visual, noise, electronic interference to reasons they didn’t want the turbines. He also noted that property values would suffer with large wind turbines in the area.

A member of the Brown County Glade Watch – as the group of concerned citizens has named themselves – Heiniger told the commission that the group was concerned with the progression of the Pony Express Wind Project, which consists of 320 turbines that will primarily be located in Nemaha County but also encompass an area of Brown County near Fairview.

Heiniger said the group was asking the commissioners to prevent the wind energy project from crossing county lines.

“You need to get control of this,” Heiniger told commissioners.

Commissioner Bill Pollock made a motion to enact a moratorium to prohibit the construction of Commercial Wind Energy Conversion Systems consisting of the turbine apparatus and any buildings, roads, interconnect facilities, measurement devices, transmission lines, support structures and other related improvements necessary for the

generation of electric power from wind until a Comprehensive Plan is developed to determine how to best protect the county and its residents from the negative effect of such projects.

Pollock’s motion died for lack of second, but the commissioners continued to discuss the alternatives they had, asking County Attorney Kevin Hill for advice.

Hill discussed the protective measures a moratorium could provide, but said they needed to provide a time period. The plan to put a moratorium in place would essentially prevent any new construction of the wind turbines to occur in the county while the commissioners were working on a comprehensive plan for zoning.

Commissioner Richard Lehmkuhl said this doesn’t mean there will be in-depth zoning in the county, or that they will say no completely to wind energy. It just gives the county a time frame to work with legal counsel to develop zoning regulations that would deal with the turbines.

Following more discussion, Commissioner Lehmkuhl made a motion to proceed with the moratorium process in regards to Wind Energy in Brown County. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Pollock and approved 3-0.

In other business:

* Solid Waste Director, George Bruning, requested the landfill continue to be closed on Memorial Day as in years past. The commission sees no issue with this.

* Brown County Appraiser, Steve Markham, discussed the Abstract of Appraised and Assessed Values with the commission.

* Community Corrections Director and Assistant Director, Vicki Hubin and Chris Denner, discussed the FY2023 funding for staff salaries. Motion by Richard Lehmkuhl to allow Hubin and Denner to allocate the funding from April through June. Seconded by William Pollock. Motion carried.

* The May 4, 2022 payroll was approved as follows: Motion by William Pollock. Seconded by Richard Lehmkuhl. Motion carried.General $81,414.78, Road & Bridge 20,333.50, Technology 325.50, Appraiser 7,020.00, Noxious Weed 2,265.36, ACC 6,954.34, JJA Core 4,843.15, Reinvestment Grant 1,570.78, Services for Elderly 2,965.00, Solid Waste 6,239.98, Special MVT 1,480.00, Employee Ben FICA 8,709.06, Employee Ben KPERS 9,872.69, State Unemploy/Work Comp -123.47, Insurance -3,592.45 TOTAL $150,278.22.

* The May 9, 2022, mid-month claims were approved as follows: Motion by Richard Lehmkuhl to approve accounts payable. Seconded by William Pollock. Motion carried.

001 General $21,399.58, 103 Road & Bridge 2,493.58, 125 Employee Benefit 99.90, 135 Capital Improvement 12,457.25, 143 Appraiser 619.15, 147 Noxious Weed 45.06, 155 Diversion 187.49, 160 911 SB50 108.08, 165 ACC 13,466.25, 167 JJA CORE 25,713.34, 201 Services for Elderly 203.92, 211 Solid Waste 120.29 TOTAL: $76,913.89

* Commissioner Lehmkuhl, requested a 4 minute executive session. Motion by Richard Lehmkuhl for a 4 minute Executive Session on non-elected personnel with the three commissioners, Kevin Hill, County Attorney, and Dawn Boyles, Brown County Clerk, present to discuss personnel matters of non-elected personnel with executive session necessary to protect privacy interests. Seconded by William Pollock. Closed 8:27 a.m. Opened 8:31 a.m. No binding action was taken.

* The commission discussed the request by the NEKLS to appoint a representative from Brown County. Brown County Clerk, Dawn Boyles, will contact the local library for their input.

* Brown County Clerk, Dawn Boyles, presented a letter from the Kansas Silver Haired Legislature Finance Committee requesting funds. The commission would like to research the committee before committing any funds.

* Motion by Richard Lehmkuhl to approve the amended Salary and Wage structure. Seconded by William Pollock. Motion carried.

Source:  By Joey May | Hiawatha World | www.hiawathaworldonline.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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