By Joey May

Brown County Commissioners recite the Pledge of Allegiance prior to Monday morning’s board meeting. From left, Commissioner Lamar Shoemaker, Commissioner Richard Lehmkuhl and Commissioner Bill Pollock.

The Brown County Commission voted Monday morning to move forward on sending a letter to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment regarding a proposed industrial poultry facility.

Brown County Attorney Kevin Hill advised that he and County Clerk Dawn Boyles had drafted a letter to KDHE for the commission’s approval. In the letter the county asked the state to further investigate the impact a poultry facility could have on the quality of water provided by the Rural Water District No. 2. In addition, several area landowners have come to the commission with concerns and are requesting a public meeting concerning the proposed facility, which will be located near Nighthawk and 270th Road, just a few miles north of Hiawatha city limits.

Hill told the commissioners that the permitting process is up to the state, and the letter will reflect that the county commission has concerns. Among concerns about potential impact on water, there is also the issue of heavy traffic on low maintenance roads to consider.

Hill told the commission the county can set up a public forum and invite KDHE, but the state group is not required to attend. He advised the county tell KDHE that it welcomes a public forum and encourage the state entity to set up a meeting.

Commissioner Richard Lehmkuhl said he agreed the county needed to lend a voice to the situation. The commissioners approved the sending of the letter 3-0.

In other business:

Hill advised that Chris Denner, who had been appointed the head of the Community Corrections Department after the recent retirement of Venice Sloan, wished to take the position of Assistant Director, due to the time constraints of the position and his wish to still remain a Community Corrections officer. He expressed a wish to appoint Vicki Hubin — who had been named assistant director — to the director position.

Hill said he would agree with the switch in positions, as he noted Hubin was entirely capable of performing the duties that would come with the position. He noted that salaries would need to be adjusted if the commission approved the change.

The commission voted to approve the change in positions and approved Vicki Hubin’s position of Director salary to be $52,500, Chris Denner’s position of Assistant Director wages to be $25.2403 per hour, and Peggy Siebenmorgen’s position of Office Manager wages to be $19.23 per hour.

The commission reviewed the applications received for the Road and Bridge Secretary position. Commissioner Lehmkuhl suggested calling the three applicants in for interviews next Monday.

Commissioner Pollock asked County Attorney, Kevin Hill, how the county can inform the public of the good, the bad, and the ugly of the proposed wind farms. Hill discussed the possibility of another public forum for discussion of the matter.

Jan. 29 Meeting

The commission met Friday, Jan. 29 for end-of-month bill paying session and to address a few agenda items.

George Bruning, Noxious Weed Director, discussed a Public Service Announcement from Hamm’s about proper disposal of batteries. Bruning will call B& W Fire about obtaining new fire extinguishers to accommodate the fires started by the batteries. Bruning also discussed the possibility of replacing the backhoe.Bruning also updated the commission on his department. Heather Merrill will be attending the week long Noxious Weed course in March in Manhattan.

The Jan. 29 month-end claims were approved as follows: General $201,344.97; Road & Bridge 71,111.61; Historical Society 4,107.00; Employee Benefit 181,077.51; Election 50.03; Extension 16,227.70; Mental Health 11,171.00; Developmental Services 2,152.37; Conservation 6,875.00; Appraiser 7,630.60; Ambulance 20,423.88; Noxious Weed 874.06; Diversion 674.29; 911 SB50 5,981.99; ACC 2,309.94; JJCR 3,654.40; Reinvestment Grant 45.00; Services for Elderly 3,698.57; Solid Waste 44,769.62; Payroll 172.90; TOTAL $584,352.44.

The Jan. 27 payroll was approved as follows: General 77,866.43; Road & Bridge 13,888.51; Election Technology 324.63; Appraiser 4,858.04; Noxious Weed 1,663.35; ACC 10,472.66; JJA Core 9,166.41; Reinvestment Grant 3,094.15; Services for Elderly 2,457.00; Solid Waste 7,304.87; Special MVT Employee Ben FICA 7,947.21; Employee Ben KPERS 9,972.14; State Unemploy/Work Comp -156.54; Insurance -10,403.97; TOTAL 138,454.89.

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