Image Link 01-25-2017

Summary BOCC Meeting- Jan 25, 2017

CDS vouchers and mylars; acceptance of December variance reports.


-public trustee's report accepted - Rick Pettit, Treasurer, 4th quarter report - expenses and income for various accounts shown. More foreclosures in 2016 than 2015 (about 30% increase).
-proposal for vehicle leases (6 for sheriff's office, 1 for coroner's office) from Kansas State Bank approved. Ed Ehmann stated that at the end of the leases, county owns vehicles.
-HUTF (Highway Use Tax Fund) annual report - taxes that apply to gas purchased for vehicles accepted.

-Minutes from 1/17/17 special BOCC meeting approved.
-Policy regarding BOCC commissioners' meetings: approved the policy presented at the previous BOCC meeting. Mr. Thayer mentioned that the current commissioners "want to return to courtesy" in the meetings and provide more opportunities for citizens to be involved....i.e. more notice of meetings, more predictability, etc.
-Resolution regarding appointments: Jim Keen and Justin Klassen approved for Planning Commission immediately; other county board/commission appointments will be put off until summer. Grant Thayer and Chris Richardson were both appointed to serve on boards (Prairie Development and East Central Counties of Local Government).
-Selection of commissioner for oversight of CDS - transferred to Grant Thayer.

-Rush Creek Wind Farm/Transmission Line/SUR (Special Use Review) application public hearing:
(Grant Thayer stated that if anyone is against the wind farm, they need to state why.)
Kyle Fenner, CDS, summarized process of how letters from citizens concerning land use issues are passed on to commissioners.

Staff presentation: Baseline Corporation (contract staff planner for county) went thru 1041 permit and SUR information. 210 wind turbines, transmission lines, meteorological towers, operations/maintenance building, temporary/permanent roads. Pre-application meeting held in May. Five community meetings have been held. PC reviewed and recommended approval on 1/3/17. Project in southeastern EC, approximately 72,000 acres between Simla and Limon; mostly in agriculturally zoned areas. Have had no objections from other governing bodies. Nineteen conditions of approval presented.

Applicant presentation: Rush Creek is part of a 5 county project. Will be connected to Xcel Energy's transmission lines. Invenergy is owner of project; entire ownership to be transferred to Xcel this spring. Will create jobs; wind turbines produced in CO (Vestas); projects approximately $2 million/year in increased taxes to EC; royalties to local land owners; increased economic activity during construction.

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Staff presentation: site zoned agricultural; structures are up to 140' tall; approximately 90 miles in length with a 150' wide right-of-way. PC recommended approval; no objections from governing bodies. Conditions of approval presented.

Applicant presentation: Xcel presenter - 41 miles of transmission line will actually be inEC; proposal meets all criteria in county code for approval.

- Grant Thayer asked for a breakdown of the $2 million increased monies to the county (some of these monies go to districts within the county depending on mill levies....schools, fire districts, not all monies go directly to county budget). State department of property taxation mandates how monies owed to counties are calculated. Xcel offered to have their tax person meet with county for more details.

- Wind turbines have provided small farmers/ranchers with economic windfall.
- Concern about where the revenue will be spent by county, particularly in Simla area.
- Rocky Mt. Farmers Union supports renewable energy.
- Objection to ridge line south of highway 24 - aesthetics in conflict with Master Plan.
- Big Sandy School District asked that new revenues be committed to road improvements.
- CO Interstate Gas: operate high pressure natural gas pipeline - want to see details of windmill project to review encroachment documents. CIG needs to deal with Xcel on this issue.
- Several spoke positively about how the wind farm provides needed economic development.
- Facts to be considered: is taxpayer subsidy used to fund project? What happens to the value of the land in view of the windmills?

Kyle Fenner presented more information about conditions of approval. Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the resolution in favor of the wind farm and transmission lines.

-Jill Duvall