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  • Writer's pictureCharlene Sims, Journal staff

County approves resolution condemning EPA rules

Updated: Dec 29, 2023

By Charlene Sims,

MOUND CITY – The Linn County Commission on Tuesday, Dec. 26 approved a resolution opposing an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation about effluents that are released from butchering facilities into waterways. 

Discussion was held about whether the local company, Mound City Butcher Block, was endangered by this regulation as former Linn County resident Angela Ragland presented to the commissioners last week. 

In a separate interview last week with Mound City Butcher Block owner Brandon Smith, he said that under an EPA pilot program a water filtering system had been installed at his facility about four years ago that cleaned effluent to the point where it was potable.

“What does this really do for us, Gary?” Commissioner Jason Hightower asked County Counselor  Gary Thompson, who drafted the resolution.

“It basically says we don’t think these regulations are necessary, and we don’t want to spend county funds to enforce them,” answered Thompson. “They are federal regulations, so we wouldn’t be spending county funds to enforce them anyway. But it just basically puts you on record.”

“Even though it doesn’t affect them now?” asked Hightower.

“Who knows what it could do in the future,” said Thompson.

“Is it better to be out in front of it or should we wait until we actually have an issue or …” asked Hightower.

“There may be others in the county that it would affect other than them. The only one she talked about in particular was the local one,” said Thompson.

“There’s other counties that say it’s going to affect them,” said Commissioner Jim Johnson.

“It’s not a big deal, it’s just a matter of going on record,” said Thompson.

“That we are not in agreement,” said Johnson. “I don’t have a problem with that myself. I think we need all the local backing we can get myself.”

Hightower said he was in agreement with that.

In other business, the commissioners:

• Changed next week’s meeting to Tuesday, Jan. 2, due to the New Year’s Day holiday on Monday.

• Learned from Public Works Director Shaun West that Linn County’s tipping floor fees for municipal solid waste were comparable to other county’s in the area. West said that Linn County at $45 per ton was higher than Bourbon, Crawford or Labette Counties but lower than Franklin, Miami, Neosho or Montgomery counties. Anderson was also $45 but did not take waste from commercial haulers.

• Learned from West that the county had been paying a U.S. Cellular bill for phones for solid waste but have now cancelled the service. It had been decided in the past that this would be cancelled but had not been noticed. The county plans on working with Verizon in the future with new tablets and other systems to support the compactors. 

• Approved the purchase from the Cloudpermit company for software for the planning and zoning department. 

While the commission had approved Linn County Planning and Zoning Director Darin Wilson moving into the agreement with the Cloudpermit company for software to be used by planning and zoning last week, this week, they approved the purchase being taken from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for the first year after learning that those funds could be used for that. 

The software package for three years will be $8,500 year. The second and third years will be taken from the planning and zoning budget. The first year will cost $11,500 with the $3,000 implementation fee included.

Last week, Wilson had explained how the permitting software from the Cloudpermit company would work with building permits, planning, code enforcement and record keeping for the planning and zoning department as well as the public works department. 

• Approved the new budget for the Lake Region Solid Waste Authority (LRSWA) which increased the county’s membership amount from $4,600 per year to $5,000. Lamb explained that all counties paid the same and had the same increase.

• Heard solar farm opponent Emily Theis say that she had issues with Charlene Sims being on the county’s planning and zoning commission. She charged that Sims was a “bully” and that some of the comments made to the commission were not true.

• Approved the following resolutions for 2024, including canceling warrants (checks issued) over 2 years old, the 2024 holiday schedule for the county, the official depositories for county funds, designating the Linn County News and the Linn County Journal as official county newspapers, and the schedule of 2024 pay dates. 

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