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. Paul Kessinger with the Marysville Advocate arrived at the meeting at 8:35 a.m. Also attending the meeting was Austin Cline of Frankfort.
Chairman Barbara Kickhaefer called the meeting to order at 8:30 a.m.
The Board opened the meeting with the flag salute.
Commissioner Kickhaefer attended a community windfarm meeting in Waterville last week and felt that it was very respectful and informational. Galen Ackerman of Sabetha gave a presentation and Jim Musil from Blue Rapids gave a presentation.
Public Works Administrator Mike Craig met with the Board.
Barbara Kickhaefer moved, seconded by Tom Holle to approve the following purchase orders. Unanimous.
Bramhall Dozer Service, Inc, Vermillion, KS
For Machine hire for bridge work
$2,000.00-Road & Bridge Fund-P.O. #109096
Landoll Company LLC, Marysville, KS
For Prince air cylinder
$1,633.21-Road & Bridge Fund-P.O. #109097
Truck Repair Plus, Inc, Marysville, KS
For water pump (O607M); shaft seal kit (O503F)
$6,451.42-Road & Bridge Fund-P.O. #109098
Koch Excavating, Axtell, KS
For Machine hire at bridges & install culvert
$3,442.50-Road & Bridge Fund-P.O. #109099
L & M Construction will be closing the Waterville bridge on Tuesday, July 14th for repair. The construction will take approximately 3 weeks to complete.
Public Works Administrator Mike Craig reported that the new CD pit is close to completion.
Public Works Administrator Mike Craig presented bids from Husker Steele to do 3 bridge projects. The bids are as follows:
Blue Rapids Township – $178,826
Oketo Township – $174,870
Lincoln Township low water crossing – $194,885
There is sufficient money available in the Special Road & Bridge fund to pay for these bridges.
Tom Holle moved, seconded by Keith Bramhall to approve the bridge bids as presented. Unanimous.
Public Works Administrator Mike Craig reported to the Board that in the past they have done an Escort Program wherein the County would spray for Sericea Lespedeza. The Board feels it is a good program and the County should do this again. There would be a $7,000 limit for the purchase of the chemical and could be distributed until that is gone. Previous years there has been a limit of chemical per user. This will be offered again this Fall and Mr. Craig will let the Board know the protocol at a later time.
County Counselor Jason Brinegar met with the Board. He reported that Scott Komarek with Bartlett & West Engineering would be meeting with them this afternoon around 1:00 p.m. to further discuss the engineering services for the proposed Irish Creek Windfarm.
Barbara Kickhaefer moved, seconded by Tom Holle to go into executive session for 15 minutes at 9:29 a.m. to engage in attorney-client privileged discussion with the Board and County Counselor Jason Brinegar present. Unanimous. No action was taken as a result of this executive session.
Agency on Aging Director Ashley Lyhane met with the Board. She reported to the Board that her part-time driver has quit. She would like to place an ad in the newspaper for a part-time driver at this time with the hope that it can eventually turn into a floater position working both as a part-time driver and kitchen help.
Barbara Kickhaefer moved, seconded by Keith Bramhall to approve the following purchase orders. Unanimous.
Card Services, Kansas City, MO
For Cool Cube
$1,180.95-Health Dept. Fund-P.O. #6166
NAPA Auto Parts, Marysville, KS
For Evaporative Cooler
$1,151.47-General (Emerg Management) Fund-P.O. #6140
Reeder & Boeh, Chartered, Troy, KS
For Contract Attorney Fee (June 2020)
$2,800.00-District Court Fund-P.O. #6251
Elizabeth M. Olson, Hiawatha, KS
For Contract Attorney Fee (June 12-July 8, 2020)
$2,000.00-District Court Fund-P.O. #6250
Quadient, Dallax, TX
For May-August Lease on Postage Machine
$1,161.78-General (Courthouse) Fund-P.O. #6260
Dan Howell, Dorothy Barnett, Shahira Stafford, Doug Plegge, Robert Christener, Kirrisa Stueve, Jason Brinegar, Myron Dressman, Rob Peschel and Coleman Younger joined the meeting for observation.
Dan Howell gave the Commissioners windfarm handouts.
Keith Bramhall moved, seconded by Tom Holle to approve the abatement for David Blumer with a value of $8,444 and tax amount of $1,506.86. Unanimous.
Tom Holle moved, seconded by Barbara Kickhaefer to recess the meeting at 10:33 a.m. to reconvene outside due to the number of attendees. Unanimous.
Barbara Kickhaefer moved, seconded by Tom Holle to reconvene the meeting at 10:35 a.m. Unanimous.
Dan Scheffler with NextEra gave an update on the proposed windfarm project. The project will include 110 turbines with a total boundary of 70,000 acres. There are 20,600 acres of voluntary contracts already signed up and 28,000 acres of voluntary contracts are pending finalization of documents. There has been significant participation and interest in signing contracts. There is a 10 year tax exemption and then years 11 through the life of the asset (which is typically 20 years) the windfarm will be State assessed, therefore, Marshall County will likely receive Payment in Lieu of taxes (PILOT) years 1-10 and then receive tax dollars from the State Assessed properties starting in year 11. The Irish Creek Windfarm is in the process of securing a building in Frankfort to house their office for the duration and maintenance of the project. In June, one-half of the micrositing and surveying was completed. The second half will be done in October, taking into consideration the timing of harvest to not interview with farming operations. Mr. Scheffler did state that he would be getting a more accurate site plan to the County for review.
Mr. Scheffler addressed several questions regarding decommissioning of the project. NextEra will post a full bond with Marshall County for the decommissioning of the 110 turbines. The amount of the bond will be set by a 3rd party upon completion of the project.
Kim Austin, environmentalist & ecologist with NextEra reported that they have done extensive studies with wind resource and how it affects wildlife, wildlife habitat, birds and bats in the area of the proposed windfarm. NextEra also works voluntarily with Federal & State agencies in regards to ecological and environmental issues.
The Board along with NextEra is planning to have a public forum evening meeting in the near future.
Austin Cline of rural Frankfort stated that the Nemaha County Soldier Creek windfarm doubled in size from the proposed project and asked if that could be the case in Marshall County. Dan Scheffler stated that there is no intention of the boundary getting any larger at this time.
Kirrisa Stueve asked when initial contact was made with the Board of County Commissioners regarding the proposed windfarm. Dan Scheffler of NextEra stated it was mid October or early November of 2019 wherein they let the Board know out of courtesy that they were putting up meteorological towers.
Doug Plegge of rural Frankfort is in favor of the windfarm stating it is a win for the County and the township and a great way to improve roads and grow the community. He currently farms near the Marshall Windfarm and has not had any problems.
Dan Howell stated that this is a diversification for farming income.
Barbara Kickhaefer moved, seconded by Keith Bramhall to recess the meeting at 11:00 a.m. to reconvene back to the meeting room. Unanimous.
Tom Holle moved, seconded by Barbara Kickhaefer to reconvene the regularly scheduled meeting at 11:03 a.m. Unanimous.
Zak Smith and Archie Smith from Universal Construction out of Kansas City met with the Board. They were inquiring into the proposed jail construction. Universal Construction previously put in a bid as construction manager for the jail project and they were wondering what the status of the project is at this time. They expressed an interest in bidding the project in the future.
Emergency Management Director Bill Schwindamann, Jr. presented the Board with Resolution #20-20-07-13-1 for Local Disaster Emergency for Marshall County, Kansas for weather related damage that occurred on the morning of July 9, 2020.
Keith Bramhall moved, seconded by Barbara Kickhaefer to approve Resolution #20-20-07-13-1
Local Disaster Emergency for Marshall County, Kansas. Unanimous.
Tom Holle moved, seconded by Barbara Kickhaefer to approve the vouchers as presented and issue manual warrants from respective funds. Unanimous.
Keith Bramhall moved, seconded by Barbara Kickhaefer to recess the meeting at 12:05 p.m. for lunch to reconvene at 1:00 p.m. Unanimous.
Barbara Kickhaefer moved, seconded by Keith Bramhall to reconvene the meeting at 1:00 p.m. Unanimous.
Special Counsel James Neeld was present to meet with the Board. Others present at this time are Carol Hull, Shahira Stafford, Austin Cline, Dorothy Barnett and Jason Brinegar.
Special Counsel James Neeld gave a brief update informing the Board that negotiations are continuing. He just received revised documents late last night that he will be discussing with the Board. Mr. Neeld feels that it is very important that each site be looked at to see what is around it and what it will affect before agreeing upon the location and set backs to ensure a safe distance and personal relationships. The South Dakota public commission has reported that the maximum ice throw with a turbine this size is 738.19’. The industry standard for set backs is 1,000 feet. Mr. Neeld stated that balancing the participating land-owner and the non-participating landowner is the key to success of the project. Kansas Statute gives the legal right to put a wind turbine on ones own land.
Austin Cline asked the Board to put the project on hold until the Soldier Creek windfarm was completed so that if the county moves forward, we will be able to avoid some of the same mistakes that are happening in Nemaha County. Mr. Neeld stated that the Board of County Commissioners duty is for the health, safety and welfare of the county and feels that by being well informed can avoid the same issues.
Scott Komarek with Bartlett & West was here to learn more about the project and what their engineering firm might be able to offer in services. Their firm has worked on road plans for energy projects but not specifically wind turbine projects.
Keith Bramhall moved, seconded by Barbara Kickhaefer to go into executive session at 1:30 p.m. for 45 minutes to engage in attorney-client privileged discussions with the Board, County Counselor Jason Brinegar and Special Counsel James Neeld. Unanimous.
Barbara Kickhaefer moved, seconded by Tom Holle to extend the executive session at 2:15 p.m. for an additional 15 minutes with the same persons present for the same reason. Unanimous.
No action was taken as a result of the executive session.
The Board set a date for a Special Meeting to work with Scot Loyd on the 2021 Marshall County budget for Thursday, July 30, 2020 beginning at 9:00 a.m.
Keith Bramhall moved, seconded by Tom Holle to adjourn the meeting at 3:02 p.m. The next regularly scheduled meeting will be held on Monday, July 20, 2020 beginning at 8:30 a.m. The quarterly department head meeting will be held on that day during the meeting beginning at 10:30 a.m.