Haakon Co. Commissioners field complaints from county residents
At the Haakon County Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, September 6th, Connie Schlim spoke on behalf of neighbors of the feedlot east of the sale barn concerning the flies and the odor. Joining her were other residents from that area and several City of Philip residents. Schlim showed the commissioners pictures of her home and the surrounding area. She also explained that she had been advised not to water anything with water from their wells due to the high levels of nitrates in the water. Several other people in attendance confirmed and added to Schlim’s statements concerning the smell in the area and in the town of Philip. The group was informed that the county has no zoning laws. This prevents the commissioners from legally doing anything about the situation. Commissioner Lincoln Smith stated that he would have a conversation with the feedlot operator and States Attorney Marty Jackley advised the group to contact the DENR.
Commissioner Smith read a letter from Arlyce Griesel concerning the condition of Hilland Road. Griesel requested gravel be added to the road. During the recent rains the road became almost impassable due to the lack of gravel and the amount of topsoil that has built up on the road. Commissioner Tom Radway drove out to Hilland Road to investigate and confirmed that this will need to be addressed.
Alex Chandler of Invenergy spoke to the commissioners concerning the Philip wind project. Invenergy will continue to work with the Philip Wind Partners to complete the project. They are estimating that there will be approximately 100 turbines. He explained the process going forward and the benefits to the community. Employees, taxes, and road maintenance were some of the benefits mentioned for the county. Chandler answered questions posed by the commissioners. A wind turbine has a life expectancy of 30 years and he explained the process at the end of that life span. Agreements with landowners are for 31.5 years. At the end of the agreement a new agreement can be negotiated. Another question asked was how far away from a home would a turbine not be annoying. Chandler stated that turbines are not placed within one third of a mile from a house to protect the residents from noise and shadow flickers.
A representative from Colonial Life met with the commissioners and explained some life and dental insurance options offered by the company.
States Attorney Marty Jackley reported that he had a heavy load of cases for court the following day. He also stated that drug and alcohol cases had increased.
Director of Equalization Sarah Pfeifle asked for an executive session for legal reasons. Following the executive session, no action was taken. Pfeifle then discussed regular director of equalization business with the commissioners.
Highway Superintendent Val Williams reported that she has an estimated delivery date in February for the trucks that had been ordered by the county. She still has no word on the new pickups. Williams stated that they had begun work on some roads in the Hilland area. The letter from Griesels concerning Hilland Road was also discussed. The online auction of surplus highway department equipment generated $38,134.
Auditor Stacey Pinney requested an executive session for personnel. Following the executive session, no action was taken and Pinney presented her monthly report. Debbie Miller has been hired as the new deputy auditor. The proposed budget was approved as published. The courthouse windows were discussed. Several windows are damaged and there is some interior damage from water leakage. Possible reasons for the damage and repair options were discussed. Pinney also reported on the progress of insurance claims from the June storms.
The Haakon County Commissioner’s meeting can be watched in its entirety on the Ravellette Publications Facebook page and the auditor’s unapproved minutes can be read in the Pioneer Review.