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Differing opinions continue to stall wind energy moratorium  

Credit:  Differing opinions continue to stall Wind Energy Moratorium | By Adam Clay | Hiawatha World | Jun 29, 2022 | www.hiawathaworldonline.com ~~

The Brown County Commission met on Monday morning, and with a decision expected to implement a moratorium against the development of commercial wind energy in the county was once again delayed as commissioners clashed on details of the proposed moratorium.

At the County Commission meeting on June 6, County Attorney Kevin Hill presented a proposed moratorium on wind energy development, per the request of the commission. The proposed ordinance would impose a $1,000 per day fine for any company in violation, and would stand for 18 months, unless extended at that time. The moratorium would give the commission time to put a Comprehensive Plan in place, which would include zoning guidelines among other items.

Commissioner William Pollock has stated a desire from that time to implement a higher penalty for violation of the moratorium, and presented the group with an edited version including a penalty up to $15,000 per day and not to be less than $10,000 per day. Pollock’s draft also stretched the moratorium to 24 months. Attorney Hill responded that his proposal fit within legal allowances for the fines given the type of violation and the standard for length. Pollock responded that he would like to send the two drafts to attorney Patrick Hughes for review, and made that motion, which died on the floor for lack of second.

Commissioner Rich Lehmkuhl stated his opinion that continuing to argue over details was holding up getting anything in place, which could hurt the county in the long term. Commissioner Pollock stated that he is against wind energy development and asked the other members of the group to share their opinion. Hill advised the commission that making a blanket statement could be a problem at a later date in court proceedings. It was decided to send both drafts to Hill to look over, and Hill stated that he would reach out to Hughes to see if he could advise on the direction the county is taking.

Prior to that discussion, Bill Vonderschmidt of Brown County Blade Watch presented a list of signatures of Brown County residents and landowners who were opposed to wind energy development. The current list had 125 names, and he stated that he previously presented a list of 243 names. Commissioner Lehmkuhl requested meeting minutes or some type of presentation of the concerns the group has discussed at their meetings.

In other business:

The Commissioners were informed that the Morrill Township Treasurer had resigned, and were given the group’s recommendation of appointing Brady Chadwell to the spot. The commission agreed to take the recommendation under advisement, but decided to table any decision until the open position has been published, giving other candidates the ability to approach the Township.

County Clerk Dawn Boyles informed the commission that Rahe’s Welding was not closing, as they heard previously.

The group approved an update to the personnel policy on mileage reimbursements, and there was discussion of giving all county employees a 50 cent raise rather than the standard 3 percent raise, which was tabled until Thursday’s meeting.

There was also discussion of the county’s oil distributor, which is down for repairs in Topeka for, at this point, an unknown time and unknown cost. Commissioner Lehmkuhl said the county is in danger of not getting their oil down if they do not start soon.

The group moved on to discussing budget cuts to get the 2023 budget down to the Revenue Neutral Rate, which would require trimming an additional $321,000. Commissioner Lehmkuhl stated that getting down to that rate will be difficult and may interfere with the need to take a long-range look at the county’s roads.

In discussing where to trim and how to handle the approach to the budget, Commissioner Pollock stated that he does not support the funds spent on economic development, which would save $50,000. The group decided to discuss further on Thursday to decide if they need to file an Intent to Exceed the Revenue Neutral Rate.

Source:  Differing opinions continue to stall Wind Energy Moratorium | By Adam Clay | Hiawatha World | Jun 29, 2022 | 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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