The Brown County Commission met Thursday morning for the regular end-of-month meeting, and after much discussion, the group took a vote that brought the culmination of months of discussion regarding wind energy, agreeing to a Wind Energy Moratorium by a 2-1 vote, with Commissioners Larmar Shoemaker and Richard Lehmkuhl voting for the Resolution, and Commissioner William Pollock voting against.
With the moratorium now passed, the commission will move on to selecting a company to help create their Comprehensive Plan, and then begin working on zoning regulations.
Pollock reiterated his position prior to the vote, stating that he did not feel the moratorium proposed was firm enough or carried a heavy enough penalty for violations. County Attorney Kevin Hill shared that he had visited with outside council, as requested, and that he felt the framework of his previously-presented resolution was taking the city in the right direction. The resolution, as passed by the commission, establishes a moratorium and provides for the suspension of certain types of improvements on any land within the unincorporated area of Brown County, and directs that potential land use regulations for the county be developed.
The Commission held their first regular meeting of July on Monday morning, and during that time, Commissioner Pollock asked to return to a previous discussion. Pollock commented at a past meeting that he would like to see $50,000 of donations, which go to two different groups in the county, removed from the budget.
On Monday, he made a motion to back this sentiment, presenting a motion that stated, “Whereas the city of Hiawatha has a ¼% sales tax for economic development which in 2021 amounted to $192,439.81, and Whereas the free enterprise system up on which America depends works best without government interference, I move that the $50,000.00 that the County has been donating to two groups in the county to use as they wish not be included in our budget, as tax dollars are not ours to give.” The motion died for lack of a second, but both other commissioners commented that they would like to see how those funds are benefiting the entire county before they make a decision.
In other business:
During Thursday’s meeting, the commission heard from Chad Higdon of Second Harvest Food Bank, requesting up to $128,306.82 in ARPA funds to help with expansion and costs of the program over a three year period. Second Harvest will be added to the list of groups requesting to receive ARPA funds.
Representatives from Globe Life Insurance were present, also, discussing possible services to offer county employees. Commissioners also voted to approve renting a distributor from Vance Brothers for $3,000 per week for up to a month while their current truck is being worked on.
There was also discussion of extending hours for the Road and Bridge Department during the rental period to get the most out of the rental distributor. The group also voted to send a notice to exceed the Revenue Neutral Rate, with a hearing to take place on Aug. 31.
Gordon CPA was approved to prepare the 2023 Brown County budget, with a cost not to exceed $2,610.00. The group also voted to approve the purchase of iWorQ mapping software for the Road and Bridge Deparment at a cost of $5,000, and approved an annual cereal malt beverage license for Sac & Fox Truck Stop.
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