Morgan County Commissioners Reorganize; Pass Some Final Steps for Lincoln Land Wind Application

By Benjamin Cox on December 7, 2020 at 2:24pm

The Morgan County Commissioners made decisions for the future this morning during their first meeting of the month of December.

In the first action item of the day, the commissioners reorganized the board. Commissioner Ginny Fanning became the new official chair of the board with Brad Zeller selected as vice chair. Zeller had served as chairman for the previous 3 years.

The commissioners then went on to approve 4 documents as a part of the 41 conditions that needed to be fulfilled to begin construction of the Lincoln Land Wind project. The board published the documents over the weekend that encompassed a decommissioning agreement, drainage repair and remediation agreement, a road use agreement, and an escrow agreement.

Morgan County Planner Dusty Douglas says there are a couple of remaining conditions that need to be completed but construction will begin this winter: “There are a few things in regard to their emergency plan and COVID-preparedness plan that’s kind of an ongoing thing. Mr. [Dale] Bainter has his hands full right now, so until we get closer to an influx of people [coming into the county], I’d prefer not to burden him. They have been really good as far as providing anything that we have asked for there. There have been a lot of state checklists and letters we needed from different people that we’ve gotten signed off on. I don’t have the figures with me, but I think of the 41 [conditions], we are probably down to the last one, one and a half things to do, so we are getting very close.”

Douglas says that the ADLS warning system was approved shortly after an application was sent to the FAA back in October. Morgan County Engineer Matt Coultas says that the road use agreement process, despite the length was easily resolved after working with Sheryl Tierney of Apex: “It sure was nice having Ms. Tierney with her past experience. Just having her coming in to have at least a basis to start with, and I can’t thank her enough for all of the work she’s done and helped us through this process. With all of the experiences of road usage agreements that I’ve been involved with in this past, this one really went as smooth or even more smooth than I could have expected to be honest with you.” Coultas said that some of the roads will be widened in some cases. The road usage agreement only effects 3 road districts in the county – districts 8, 9, and 13.

The escrow account will always contain at least $80,000 to make emergency repairs or cover drain tileage costs or emergency road repairs if they are needed during the construction phase. Douglas says construction should begin within the next few weeks.