The Board of Marshall County Commissioners met in regular session with Barbara Kickhaefer, chairman, Tom Holle, member, Keith Bramhall, member and County Clerk Sandra Wilson present. Others present to observe the meeting were Paul Kessinger with the Advocate, Ellen Koch, Mona Musil, Kenny Feldhausen, Ellie Musil, Jim Musil, Dave Stump, Austin Cline, Gayla Randel, Mike Couch, Rich & B.J. Ruetti and Jonathan Sill.
Chairman Barbara Kickhaefer called the meeting to order at 8:30 a.m.
The Board opened the meeting with the flag salute.
Tom Holle moved, seconded by Barbara Kickhaefer to approve the minutes of the 07/27/20 meeting and approve the agenda for today’s meeting. Unanimous.
County Health Nurse Sue Rhodes met with the Board. Mrs. Rhodes voiced her concerns regarding the uncooperativeness of some Covid positive patients in regards to following the stay at home and quarantine recommendations or simply not providing information that is necessary for contact tracing. County Health Nurse has spoken to the County Attorney, law enforcement and the judge and will use those resources if it is necessary.
County Health Nurse Sue Rhodes did hear back from the engineer regarding the health department structure. She does not have a plan in hand yet but said it will be provided within the next couple of weeks. The engineer did assure her that the integrity of the building is intact and there is no worry that the floor will collapse.
County Health Nurse Sue Rhodes said there is funding opportunities through the SPARK dollars specifically for public health which could be up to $750,000, she will continue to monitor this opportunity and advise accordingly.
Public Works Coordinating Supervisor Roy Yungeberg met with the Board.
Tom Holle moved, seconded by Keith Bramhall to approve the following purchase orders. Unanimous.
Salina Steel, Salina, KS
For 24-6” I beams, 10 pc 1” angle iron, 10 pc 3” angle iron
$3,552.00-Road & Bridge Fund-P.O. #109108
Hoyt’s Truck Center, Topeka, KS
For Replace 6 pack injector & valve cover gasket
$3,675.94-Road & Bridge Fund-P.O. #109107
STAR Programming, Danville, KS
For Software maintenance agreement
$1,000.00-Road & Bridge Fund-P.O. #109109
Public Works Coordinating Supervisor Roy Yungeberg reported that the recent wash out near a bridge N. of Axtell has been filled in with material. Abutment work will need to be done to repair the bridge properly but it is stabilized for use now. Various bridge work is progressing.
Emergency Management Director Bill Schwindamann, Jr. met with the Board. Mr. Schwindamann reported that the 911 recording system needs to be renewed & updated. He presented a bid from Revcord in the amount of $5,711.74 per year for 5 years, this is for a 24 channel recording system which is an increase from the previous 16 channel recording system. This will allow for expansion in the future if needed.
Keith Bramhall moved, seconded by Barbara Kickhaefer to approve the replacement of the 911 recording machine with maintenance with Revcord in the amount of $5,711.74 per year for 5 years. Unanimous.
Keith Bramhall moved, seconded by Tom Holle to approve the following purchase order. Unanimous.
Revcord, Houston, TX
For Replacement 911 recording machine w/maintenance
$5,711.74-911 Local Fund-P.O. #6141
Tom Holle moved, seconded by Keith Bramhall to pay the following Home Sewer bills out of the appropriate account. Unanimous.
Dustin Tormondson – wages $401.72
Linda Weber – wages & supplies $426.61
Evergy – 2 lift stations $181.12
County Counselor Jason Brinegar met with the Board. He brought in a Revised Public Health Order regarding Governor Laura Kelly’s Executive Order #20-59 regarding the reopening of schools mask orders. The Board did not make any decisions regarding this Public Health Order.
County Counselor Jason Brinegar has been working on cleaning up an additional tax sale property and thought he would have it finalized. He will keep the Board updated on the progress.
Barbara Kickhaefer moved, seconded by Tom Holle to approve vouchers as presented and issue manual warrants from respective funds. Unanimous.
Barbara Kickhaefer moved, seconded by Tom Holle to recess the meeting at 9:46 a.m. to take a quick break and reconvene outside for the Public Comment section of the meeting (due to the large number of attendees). Unanimous.
Tom Holle moved, seconded by Barbara Kickhaefer to reconvene the regular meeting at 9:52 a.m. on the front steps of the Courthouse. Unanimous.
Several more people joined the meeting outside including Dan Schmidt, Chet & MaryAnn Fincham, Sonya Kee, Shahira Stafford, Ellen Barber, Richard Ruetti, Gary Musil & Greg Musil.
Dave Stump, Blue Rapids, addressed the Board and acknowledged as a prior commissioner that this is not an easy decision to make. He said when he was a commissioner he felt that we were a small county and zoning was not necessary but is thinking differently now. Mr. Stump presented several printouts with tax comparisons regarding the proposed windfarm project. He is questioning why NextEra gets a 10 year exemption and feels that the County home rule could control that and possibly offer them some type of a rebate plan instead of an exemption. He is also encouraging the Board to consider the non-participating landowners when determining turbine sights.
Ellie Musil, Blue Rapids, addressed the Board regarding the process in which NextEra has pursued the County and feels mostly that the citizens of Marshall County are not being given adequate time to express their questions and concerns regarding the proposed Irish Creek Windfarm project.
Gary Musil, Frankfort, addressed the Board. He feels the turbines are calming and outlined his opinion of the benefits in a letter to the editor. He feels that the landowners in favor of the turbines are under attack. Property taxes on some of his land has doubled from 2013 to 2019 and the steady income this could provide will help the future generations.
Richard Ruetti, Frankfort, addressed the Board. He relayed that when he moved to their home place in rural Frankfort with his parents as a young boy they did not have electricity. They had a windmill that was utilized to pump water from their well. It wasn’t until the 1950s that they got electricity to their house. He feels it is very important to harvest the clean energy of solar & wind. He stated “if we live in the past or present, we will miss the future”.
Greg Musil, Overland Park, KS, (formerly of Frankfort) addressed the Board. He is an attorney who works with land use and zoning. He has worked the last 4 years with wind & solar energy contracts. He stated that the 10 year exemption for windfarms is a State exemption and cannot be determined by the County. He also recognized that there are friends, neighbors and families on opposing sides of this issue and wanted to remind everyone to “give people grace”, the future of Marshall County & relationships will remain long after the windfarm issues. He also wanted to assure everyone that the landowners are capable of negotiating the best deals and to protect themselves.
Jonathan Sill, Frankfort, addressed the Board. He states that NextEra is targeting the closest counties near Jeffrey Energy Center that are unzoned. His concern is where the collection station will be located and if NextEra has a power purchase agreement in place for the energy that is created.
Keith Bramhall moved, seconded by Tom Holle to recess the meeting at 10:46 a.m. to reconvene in the Board of County Commissioners meeting room. Unanimous.
Barbara Kickhaefer moved to reconvene the regularly scheduled meeting at 10:57 a.m. Motion passed 2-0 (Commissioner Bramhall was not back in the meeting yet).
Ellen Barber met with the Board. She did not really have any more updates at this time on the CDBG-CV grant. She is working with the cities of Blue Rapids and Marysville regarding the previously submitted requests.
Sheriff Tim Ackerman met with the Board. He reported that his cook recently quit and would like to recommend hiring Phil Wassenberg as the new cook starting at $16.27/hr.
Keith Bramhall moved, seconded by Barbara Kickhaefer to hire Phil Wassenberg as the cook at the recommendation of Sheriff Tim Ackerman at the starting rate of $16.27/hr with a start date of August 18, 2020. Unanimous.
Sheriff Ackerman also asked the Board if they could remove some trees to allow for more parking space near the jail. The Board gave approval to proceed with removing the trees and said Sheriff Ackerman might want to coordinate with Public Works Administrator Mike Craig as they will be trimming some trees.
County Counselor Jason Brinegar rejoined the meeting. He presented the Board with an Affidavit of sale from John and Janis Bergkamp to purchase the tax sale property of Lot 74 on Genesee Street in Blue Rapids for the sum of $1.00.
Keith Bramhall moved, seconded by Tom Holle to sell lot 74 on Genesee Street in Blue Rapids to John and Janis Bergkamp for the sum of $1.00. Unanimous.
The Board made a call to James Neeld to finalize plans for the public meeting for the proposed Irish Creek Windfarm project. County Clerk Sandra Wilson will forward all the submitted questions to Mr. Neeld to categorize them and prepare to ask the questions to the NextEra panel on Wednesday, August 5. Mr. Neeld will arrive an hour before the scheduled meeting time to help get everything set up. The Clerk’s office will assist with the sign in of guests and log in names and phone numbers.
County Counselor Jason Brinegar presented the Board with 4 properties owned by Marshall County that have delinquent 2019 taxes. These are properties that were acquired by the Board from previous tax sales. It was recommended that the County pay the delinquent taxes and County Counselor Jason Brinegar will look into disposing of these properties.
Keith Bramhall moved, seconded by Barbara Kickhaefer to pay the delinquent taxes for Marshall County for 4 properties in the amount of $208.38. Unanimous.
Keith Bramhall moved, seconded by Tom Holle to adjourn the meeting at 11:55 a.m. The Board will meet in Special Session on Wednesday, August 5, 2020 beginning at 6:00 p.m. for the Public Windfarm Information Meeting. The next regularly scheduled meeting will be on Monday, August 10, 2020 beginning at 8:30 a.m.