Public comment highlights County Board meeting

By Benjamin Cox on May 20, 2019 at 3:19pm

The County Commissioners meeting was a sounding board for public comment today.

Five people spoke at the meeting, which only had one actionable agenda item being a payment of county bills totaling a little more than $278,000. A large portion went towards the second half of the county’s liability worker’s compensation needs, at a little over $195,000.

There were citizens who own farmland within the proposed project that spoke both in favor and opposition to the project, which would encompass a wide portion of eastern Morgan County.

The public comment was in regards to the draft of the Morgan County Wind Energy Conversion Systems ordinance currently posted for review on the Morgan County website.

An email address is also offered for private comments so that citizens may be able to voice their opinions on wording and substance of the ordinance without confrontation.

The email address for comment on the draft is

Jacksonville Planning Director and Chairman of the Jacksonville Regional Economic Development Corporation Dusty Douglas says the response to the email has been steady.

“We’ve seen a lot of positive feedback in the initial set of comments to the specific email address. There have been some that focus on the philosophical and environmental aspects of the ordinance draft, and we’re more asking for advice and criticism regarding the wording of the ordinance.”

Jane Becker and her husband Todd are farmers with land in Morgan and Sangamon Counties. Becker details her thoughts on why the wind project may be beneficial in the future.

“I think that the commissioners are trying to do their homework by talking to other counties that already have wind farms. As farmers, we would like to have the choice of what we do on our farm. We like the ability to diversify our income, and the fact that it is clean, renewable energy is very important to us. We believe that the benefits definitely outweigh the questionable areas.”

Betty Niemann, whose family owns farmland near Ashland and Prentice, discusses her concerns with the overall semblance of the ordinance draft and how it can still be improved.

“I have gone through the ordinance, and I have examined it. I feel that it needs a lot of work because there are a lot of omissions and inconsistencies. Furthermore, I believe this will not protect both the citizens of the county and Morgan County as a county.”

The ordinance draft is at the top of the county home page at