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County works on wind farm agreements

Staff writer

Marion County Attorney Susan Robson plans to have details worked out on agreements related to a proposed wind farm ready for County Commission on Monday.

The proposed wind farm would be in a wind overlay district south of 140th Road, north of U.S. 50, east of Pawnee Road, and west of U.S. 77.

Robson and Rex Savage of Windborne Energy met with commissioners Thursday to discuss four agreements related to the project: right of way, infrastructure and public safety, decommissioning, and community contribution agreements.

The right of way agreement is related to use of county rights of way during construction of the wind farm. The infrastructure and public safety agreement has a similar purpose, but it also requires funds to provide training for ambulance workers and firefighters because of the unique requirements of wind turbines related to those services.

The decommissioning agreement addresses how wind turbines will be removed after their useful lifespan. Savage said the materials in the turbines makes them more valuable for salvage than the cost of removing them, but he agreed that a bond of $1 million total or $30,000 per turbine, whichever is greater, would be appropriate.

The community contribution agreement would only be in effect as long as the state exempts wind turbines from property taxes. It would provide a total of $400,000 per year to cities, county, and school districts affected by the wind farm for every 100 megawatts of wind farm capacity.

Robson wanted to be certain that Road and Bridge Superintendent Jim Herzet was comfortable with the right of way and infrastructure agreements, and the community contribution agreement wouldn’t create unwanted issues for school districts.

In other business:

  • Commissioners delayed discussion of cost-of-living raises for employees. The county budgeted 2 percent raises, but County Clerk Carol Maggard recommended 1.5 percent and saving the remainder for raises due to longevity.
  • Commissioners met in closed session for 10 minutes to discuss land acquisition. No action was taken on return to open session. They later met with Robson in closed session for 10 minutes to discuss land acquisition. No action was taken on return to open session.
  • Sales tax revenue for October sales was $49,000, compared to $45,423 for October 2009. Sales tax revenue for 2010 was $630,985, an increase of 5 percent from 2009.
  • The county received a $433,643 Kansas Wireless Enhanced 911 Grant to upgrade 911 and dispatch with next-generation equipment.
  • Commissioners will interview candidates for the emergency management director and communications director openings at 6 p.m. today.
  • Checks outstanding for more than two years were canceled, totaling $1,280.
  • A cereal malt beverage license for Donna Kreutziger for Canada Bait and Tackle was approved.
  • Cooperative Grain and Supply of Hillsboro will sell 6,550 gallons of fuel to Road and Bridge Department for $18,905. Cardie Oil Company of Tampa bid $18,995.

Last modified Jan. 5, 2011

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