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  • Writer's pictureCharlene Sims, Journal staff

Solar opponent wants zoning commissioner appointed by Nov. 14 meeting

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

MOUND CITY – On Monday, Nov. 6, Linn County resident Emily Thies approached the Linn County Commission about her concerns that there was an empty position on the planning commission from commission District 2.

Theis, who opposes solar utility installations in Linn County, requested that a moratorium be put on planning board decisions until that position is filled.

Thies said she was concerned that after next week’s solar farm forum and planning commission meeting it might not be a quick decision about the solar farms, maybe even three to six months for the planning board to look at Article 14.

“We were thinking about it as far as an open position in your district,” Theis told Commission Chair Danny McCullough. “It’s in our district and that’s were EDF is coming in and wanting to put all of their stuff in it. So my request is can we possibly get this position filled sooner rather than later?

“Because we just want to feel like we are represented fully by having three people in our district that represents us. Is there any movement that we can get, and if we are not going to appoint somebody until after the regulations have been looked at and possibly changed or not changed. Could we get the moratorium until all of it is figured out?”

McCullough said that it was something he had discussed with Planning and Zoning Director Darin Wilson. He said he was concerned about appointing somebody in the middle of this major decision.

Thies said her concern was that there may be a tie vote without that position filled.

“That’s where we would end up having an issue on our end,” said Thies. “We just feel like, especially in your district, with the seat being empty and all of the solar panels coming or proposed to come to our homes.”

McCullough said he would talk more with Wilson about it.

In other business, the commissioners:

• Hired Jesse Walton as the new north shop road foreman at the rate of $22.22 per hour pending pre-employment screenings.

McCullough thanked all the candidates for applying for the foreman position. He said it was a very hard decision because they were all good candidates and that is why there were two rounds of interviews.

• McCullough questioned if the county should be providing any assistance to the United Methodist Church in Pleasanton since the seniors will be eating there until the new building is finished.

Public Works Director Shaun West said that it was the group of people that decided to move to the church. He said that the county was working on setting them up temporarily at a county property building

• Approved up to $2,800 to proceed with purchasing roof material that could be put on in two coatings. West said that Linn County Construction Manager Randy Page thought this would be the product to use for the courthouse annex’s roof. Linn County staff will do the work. West said that the Rust-Oleum product will have a 15-year warranty even with self-application.

• Approved a bid from Fastenal for about $10,400 to purchase safety equipment for the road crews.

• Reached a consensus to do a surplus resolution for a tire machine and machine to pull coolant from vehicles from the Pleasanton shop so they could be scrapped. Both machines are not operational.

• Reached a consensus to allow West to go out for bids for bi-annual bridge inspections and for the county’s on-call engineering services.

• Approved two burial permits for Page Enterprises for water lines. Locations were 950 Paine Road and 11336 Reese Road. Commissioner Jim Johnson said that he thought that the one on Paine Road had just been completed last week. West said that Page was concerned about bad weather coming.

• Learned from West that Hamm Quarry has sent the county a letter about increasing prices for rock and material in 2024 by 13%.

• Heard from West that the clay that the county needs to line the lagoons at the Linn County Park will cost $4 per ton with the county loading it with their own equipment.

• Learned from West that KwiKom was working with Linn County resident Joe Karhoff because they cut his water line while installing broadband services. West said that KwiKom’s foreman had made a report the day that of the incident and they acquired the invoice for the bill that Karhoff had to pay to get the water line repaired.

• Approved purchasing culverts from Wellborn Sales for about $40,600.

• Rescinded the motion for the painting of the new Pleasanton Senior Building because the county employees would be doing the painting.

• Approved the publication of a proposal to vacate a platted street, west end of Elm Street over to County Road 1077, in Centerville. No notifications were needed since the county owns the land on both sides of the road.

• Discussed a request from a citizen to pave three miles of Devlin Road near Parker.

• Approved up to $15,000 to repair the excavator after much discussion. The commissioners learned from Daniel Parsons, Linn County mechanic, that the excavator was purchased new in 2005 for $134,060 and that it had a total of 3,882 hours on it.

Parsons told the commissioners that if not repaired it would probably only be sellable for scrap iron. After replacing the part, Parsons believes that it will work well and if the commissioners decide to sell it, it will probably sell for $70,000 to $80,000.

• Learned from County Clerk David Lamb that the holiday dinner and awards program for the county employees would be held on Tuesday, Dec. 12, at the Christian Church in Mound City. Vickie Leonard will cater the dinner. Each commissioner will pay in $100 to sponsor the dinner.

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