Wind farm protest not enough to stop Expedition Wind

The Marion County Commission meeting opened on Nov 18 with the results of the general election canvass from the Nov 5 election, which was finalized on Friday, Nov. 15. The outcomes generally remained the same although some of the counts changes due to absentee ballots being received through the mail.

Newly voted in District 4 and 5 Commissioners, Dave Crofoot and Jonah Gehring were sworn in and a reception was held to welcome them prior to the regular meeting.

Brice Goebel, Road and Bridge County Engineer, gave an update on the road funds. He informed the commission that they did not get the cautionary money from KDOT that the department was hoping for. Goebel called and asked what would help secure that money and was told letters of support from school districts, fire departments and other such places could help so he plans to do that. The next time to submit is in March. Goebel plans to try for money then. He asked for input from the commission regarding all of it.

“If we wait until March, for the selection time, it means til the end of April til we get approval. Going from there to get out a contract, I don’t know if we will get it done in time for next year,” he said. “For the Nighthawk project, we asked the state for 1.8 million on top of the amount we were hoping to get.”

Goebel said he doesn’t need answers right away, but wanted to give information for the commissioners to be thinking about.

Goebel and the commissioners talked more about various roads that needed work.

“Let me know, day or night if you guys do get phone calls. That is what I am here for,” said Goebel.

New Commissioner Gehring expressed appreciation to Goebel stating that prior to his new position, he had reached out and received immediate response.

Russ Ewy of Baughman Co discussed the Expedition Wind Protest Petition. He brought up the CUP approved in the last commission meeting.

“This was the CUP that was approved by the commission two to one. As we discussed, with these type of zoning applications, the property owners within the notification boundary have the right to file a protest petition against the request. Three petitions were filed against this request and two fell within the notification boundary. The total area within the notification boundary affected by the protest petition boundary was 9.6 percent of the land within that notification area, which failed to reach the 20 percent statutory threshold for increased voting requirements for county commission,” said Ewy.

He asked for any questions but none were asked.

Register of Deeds Rebecca Wingfield explained to the commissioners what her department does. She began by explaining how well all of the departments in the county work together which allows for the most accurate information.

“Documents come in for anything that affects the land. So that’s deeds, mortgages, releases, affidavits—we also do death certificates, affidavits of deaths, affidavits of equitable interests—we are pretty much the foundation of what happens in the county, because once we record the information, we scan it twice a week into our computer system and then we send it into the Clerk’s office. We also send it to the Appraiser’s office and Planning and Zoning,” said Wingfield.

She explained that they do whatever they can to help our residents of Marion County. “Appreciate the overview for all of us, especially the new members,”

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