Commission implements policy to make comments not be anonymous

The Marion County Board of Commissioners met on Monday for their regular weekly meeting. The board had received a public comment online the week before that they did not read since they did not know where it was from. The person who had submitted it mailed it in but again neglected to include their address so the comments were not publicly addressed.

The commissioners discussed it and stated that any public comments need to be made clear who is making it and where the person lives. They said this is so the board knows if the person is in Marion County.

The policy will be enforced moving forward. Comments will not be read or acknowledged unless it is clear who is making them and where the person lives in the county. The address does not have to be publicly shared. It just has to be made clear to the board that the person lives in the county.

 

Wind farm project changes hands

Planning & Zoning Director Sharon Omstead informed the board that the wind farm project in Marion County that was under the control of Expedition Wind has now been acquired by Orsted. Omstead introduced the commissioners to the new company including Project Development Manager Jonathan Vasdekas.

“Orsted is a global company that develops, instructs and is a long-term operator of renewable energy products. In the United States alone, we have onshore wind, solar, and energy storage projects either in operation or under construction and we are now the proud new owners of the Expedition Wind project,” said Vasdekas. “We’re extremely excited to work with the county, the landowners and the community. We look forward to moving the project forward.”

Vasdekas said they do not really have a timeline yet as they just took over the project in May and are just getting going but they should have one soon.

Commission chair Randy Dallke said he is excited for them to get going and it has been a good experience working with the former Expedition Wind people.

When asked if they will have an office in Marion, Vasdekas said they are not sure yet what they will be doing but they are evaluating things. He also said they will have a website up soon with contact information available.

Roads

County Engineer Brice Goebel was not able to be in attendance but he left information for the commissioners including a bid for the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) for $222,617 for Emergency Relief in Marion County for the flooding in 2019. This was for the emergency project for 290th.

The county will pay the full amount initially but then KDOT will reimburse all but $60,000 meaning that is all that the county will have to pay in the long run.

Goebel also gave a written update on the Nighthawk and 330th project. He said that he met with Ted Webber from Coughlin and learned that they are planning on starting the week after July 4 as long as no bad weather. Goebel said he is working on the pay voucher for cover material and the change order for the extra 1660 feet of Tampa work. He will also plan to pay them to mill one mile of pavement from 190th to US 56.

Goebel also wrote that permits are back and approved for the Goldenrod bridge replacement. The updated schedule is for mid-August.

Goebel stated in his report that he had an onsite visit with an Evergy representative on Thursday last week for the haul road on 170th and Jade.

“I asked them to fix two soft spots on 170th by ripping them up and re-compacting them. I also asked for 200-300 tons of new SS5 rock to be placed on this section while also leaving the sand that is in place for dust control. 170th east of Indigo is in pretty good shape considering what it started with and they are going to crown it up more. Jade and the low water crossing are in good shape as well as the rock section north of there as we just placed new rock there two months ago. The only other concern I had was the damage to the pavement on the substation location itself which will be determined later,” Goebel said.

In other business, the board:

n met in executive sessions multiple times to discuss personnel matters. No action was taken.

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