The Brown County Commission met on Monday morning, with Dick Horton of Dick Horton Consulting present to discuss the county’s needs in developing a comprehensive plan, as the county continues to move forward after their decision to institute a moratorium on wind energy development to give the commission time to work out a set of zoning regulations.
Horton stated that the county must decide their core values when determining how wide-ranging the policy should be, noting that the majority of stakeholder meetings he had attended saw the issues of housing and childcare to be among the highest priorities.
Horton was joined via Zoom by Drew Pearson and Noah Berke of Wilson Company, to discuss the design of the potential plan. Pearson and Berke questioned commissioners on the reasoning for the moratorium, as well as questions trying to gauge the overall scope of the project that the county wants to pursue.
Horton provided the commissioners with rates and scope for a potential plan, which covered a wide array of subjects. He advised the group to select the portions of what he presented that best fit what they feel the county needs to address going forward. Commissioners Bill Pollock and Lamar Shoemaker both noted later in the meeting that due to the cost, they do not believe the county should pursue the entirety of what was presented, but to discuss their opinions on what portions to move forward on at the next meeting.
In other business:
The group addressed several road and bridge issues, as well. Rodney Lierz was present to discuss the intersection of 170th and Goldfinch roads, where he was involved in a fatal accident. Lierz and family members shared their stories of accidents and near misses at the intersection as well as other places on Goldfinch, and discussed with the commission some potential solutions. The county will look into their options and proceed.
The group also heard from Brady Hedstrom from BG Consultants about bridges in the county that would be candidates for state grants. The commission will visit with the county’s road crews to get their opinions before selecting bridges for the applications.
The commission also went over the invoice for the repaired distributor truck, and after a discrepancy was corrected, approved payment to Van Keppel of $16,428.76 for the repairs. The group also discussed keeping a seasonal employee through the end of the year or until the open crewman position is filled.
The proposed 2023 budget, which moved down to 31.890 mills was approved by a 2-1 one vote for publication. Commissioner Pollock objected over the inclusion of economic development funds and voted nay, with Commissioners Rich Lehmkuhl and Shoemaker voting to approve. The county’s budget meeting will be set for Aug. 31.
County Clerk Dawn Boyles informed the commission of the potential of recounts in the state abortion vote that took place earlier this month, and the possibility of a recount in Brown County if the recount went statewide. The state has since announced that the funds were provided for a recount in 9 counties, which does not include Brown County.
The commission approved an Engagement Letter for the Adam Jones Law Firm, represented by Patrick Hughes, to work with the county on windy energy zoning and legal information. Also approved was a request to remove special assessments from a property in Horton which will be sold to an individual seeking property to build homes.
The group also heard from Emergency Management Director Don Pounds, who submitted the Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan for signatures, and also discussed a Local Emergency Operation Plan, which is currently on hold as the state will alter the program at the beginning of 2023.