Nemaha County Commission 12.10.18

Submitted by Mary Kay Schultejans, County Clerk 

The Board of Nemaha County Commissioners met in regular session on Monday, Dec. 10, in the Commissioner’s Room of the Nemaha County Courthouse. The meeting was called to order by Chairman Dennis Henry leading the flag salute. Present also were Commissioners Gary Scoby and Tim Burdiek, Road and Bridge/Solid Waste Supervisor Dennis Ronnebaum, Office Manager Kathy Haverkamp, and County Clerk Mary Kay Schultejans recording the minutes.

Attorney James Neeld came before the board. Commissioners held a 15-minute executive session to discuss legal matters of Nemaha County. Present for the executive session was the Board of Commissioners, Attorney James Neeld, and Clerk Mary Kay Schultejans. The meeting returned to open session with no action taken by the board following the executive session.

Wind Farms

After the executive session, the meeting was moved to the courtroom of the Nemaha County Courthouse due to the number of people present for discussion with commissioners concerning wind farms in Nemaha County.

Present for the wind farm discussion with commissioners were many local landowners in Nemaha County, representatives from Next Era Energy Resources, members of the local media, Appraiser Betty Roeder and Attorney James Neeld. Neeld’s firm will be representing Nemaha County in negotiations with Next Era Energy Resources concerning the construction of the Soldier Creek Wind Energy Center in Nemaha County.

Neeld let those present know how the negotiation process will proceed with Next Era Energy Resources beginning with a kickoff meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 11, with the wind farm company. Questions were taken from those present and answered by Neeld and commissioners.

Doug Wertenberger presented information to commissioners containing setback requirements that he would like to see the commission follow when negotiating the PILOT Agreement with Next Era Energy Resources for the Soldier Creek Wind Energy Center to be located in Nemaha County.

Mark Trumbauer with Next Era Energy Resources let commissioners and those present know that they plan to do a better job of communication with residents of Nemaha County through open houses held during evening hours, etc. Trumbauer presented to commissioners an example of a commitment letter that they have used in their development of a wind farm in Reno County.

At 1 p.m., the meeting continued in the Commissioner’s Room of the Nemaha County Courthouse.

County Attorney Brad Lippert came before the board. Commissioners let Lippert know how the wind farm discussion held in the courtroom went. Lippert let commissioners know that he met last week with representatives from InvEnergy concerning their possible development of a wind farm in Nemaha County. 

Commissioners spoke to Lippert about paying out the accumulated sick/vacation hours of an employee who holds two job titles with Nemaha County. 

Commissioners also spoke to Lippert about the possibility of video recording future Nemaha County Commission meetings and posting them on the Nemaha County website.

Department Reports

Ronnebaum advised the board that:

• The crews are patching in rock in places along county roads where it is needed.

• The crews picked up a couple of loads of salt last week and plan to try to pick up a couple of more loads this week.

• They received a letter from KAC about retaining the services of Local Road Engineer Norm Bowers. Following discussion, commissioners decided to retain these services for Nemaha County at a cost of $430 per year.

Russel Lierz has been hired as the new Emergency Preparedness Director for Nemaha County. Lierz will begin work in this new position on Friday, Dec. 21, at an annual salary of $40,020.03 per year.

Lierz advised the board that:

• He would like to purchase a new desktop computer for the Emergency Preparedness Office located in the Pioneer Building. Lierz showed commissioners a quote of what he would like to purchase. Following discussion, commissioners approved purchasing a new desktop computer and accessories for the Emergency Preparedness Office from Dell in the amount of $1,445.96.

Sheriff Rich Vernon advised the board that:

• He has asked for new patrol car bids for 2019. Vernon stated that he will be bringing these bids before commissioners in January.

• They currently are holding 11 inmates in the jail.

• They booked six individuals into the jail this past week.

Commissioners spoke to Noxious Weed Office Manager Patty Schmelzle about doing the 911 Addressing for Nemaha County. Mixie Vance has been hired as the new Noxious Weed Director for Nemaha County. Vance will begin work in this new position on Jan. 4, at an annual salary of $40,020.03 per year.

Rock Creek Township

Rock Creek Township Clerk Clark Strahm, along with other Rock Creek Township Officials, and Sabetha City Administrator Doug Allen, along with other Sabetha City officials, came before the board to speak to commissioners about possibly participating in the chipping and sealing of an approximate two-mile stretch of Kansas Road that lies between the Sabetha-Wetmore Road and Old Highway 75. The majority of this two-mile stretch is located in Rock Creek Township, but a small area of this stretch is located in the City of Sabetha. No decision was made concerning this request at this time. Commissioners asked the group to come back before the board again next month to discuss this issue again.

Also at the meeting:

The board reviewed and approved the minutes from the Dec. 3, meeting. Chairman Henry signed add/abate orders as presented.

The next regularly scheduled meeting was held on Monday, Dec. 17. These minutes were not available at The Herald’s press time.

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The Sabetha Herald has been serving Sabetha since 1876.

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