Wind ordinance again among topics of discussion for County Board

By Blake Schnitker on February 11 at 4:01pm

One of the lengthier meetings of the Morgan County Board of Commissioners took place this morning, with wind energy and government transparency as the two most discussed topics.

There were a number of items listed on the agenda for this morning’s county board meeting compared to many of their typical meetings. Among those items were the approval of the Morgan County Food Sanitation Program Ordinance, which Morgan County Health Department Administrator Dale Bainter explained that, going forward, restaurants will no longer receive their typical letter-grade assessment moving forward, but will continue to be evaluated. Also on the agenda was the approval on an intergovernmental agreement to fund the Educational Service Region, made up of the Regional Office of Education including counties like Morgan, Adams, Brown, Cass, Pike and Scott Counties, of which Morgan County represents over 33 percent.

The main topic of conversation however, as it has been for more than six months now, is how the county plans to move forward with its wind ordinance. Morgan County resident Randy Twyford was among those in the audience today. Twyford posed a question regarding the county’s policy in terms of how they planned to inform the public if and when a wind ordinance is revised. Morgan County Board Chairman Brad Zeller  says that state statute requires a public hearing on the matter.

“For (if we receive) the application there will be a public hearing, and the county board will be required to post that 30 days prior to that (hearing), and that will be in the case if we do get that application. For the amendments of the ordinance, we will not have a public hearing. We already have a document. But I will state that we will allow ample time for our residents of the county to review that document, and it will not be passed on a first-time basis when it is first open to the public,” says Zeller.

Other issues brought forth by another member of the audience came from Mike Woodyard, who asked a number of questions regarding what he views as a lack of transparency from the Board, and perhaps more specifically, the Morgan County Regional Planning Commission. Zeller says that there are vast differences between issues with the wind ordinance, and other very routine business that takes place in the county.

“Lots of times there’s routine business in the county that we do that people are not concerned about in the county, they’re strictly routine. Now, the wind ordinance is a very different situation, and the county board is taking their time with this ordinance and we’ve been reviewing this for over six months. All of the things that residents of the county have brought to our attention we are trying to address. We will not appease all people in this process, but we have taken our time, and we are open to any communication and comments to the current ordinance that we have in place and ways we can improve it,” s

Other action taken at this morning’s meeting saw Jacob Meyer re-appointed to the Indian Creek Drainage District, and the approval of the Homefield Energy Aggregation Electric Service Agreement. Finally, county commissioners heard a presentation from Adam Withee of Zumbahlen, Eyth, Surratt, Foote & Flynn, LTD, regarding the 2017-2018 audit.