Budget approved, projects discussed at Wayne County commissioners meeting
The Wayne County commissioners met Tuesday morning for the first of two September meetings. The commissioners held several open meetings and discussed projects throughout the county and the 2018-2019 budget.
Wayne County's total budget is $21,327,799.91. The tax dollar request will go up to $4,771,7763.30. That is an increase of $181,685.28 for the year, a result of inflation and the courthouse improvement project. The tax levy will be .252311 cents, an increase of .0118 cents per $100 of valuation. Wayne County's total valuation experienced its first decrease to $1,891,230,906. That's a $17.4 million decrease from the year prior. The unused budget authority for next year is $2,155,498.68. The restricted fund was approved for a one percent increase before the 2018-2019 budget was unanimously approved.
Nic Kemnitz gave the commissioners an update on the federal disaster declaration for severe weather and flooding between June 17 and July 1. The next step in the process will be a meeting for affected areas to discuss FEMA and NEMA rules, regulations and time lines, which Kemnitz will attend. Kemnitz also informed the commissioners that he would be participating in a response exercise in Yankton on Sept. 22. He will also be helping at the Missouri River Expo at Ponca State Park on Sept. 15-16.
Highway superintendant, Mark Casey gave an updated and road and bridge projects in the county. A bridge will be built two miles west and one and a half miles south of Wayne, just south of Grainland Road, to replace the antiquated Temme bridge. A powerline in the area needs to be moved before construction can begin. Northeast Public Power will have to bury the line under Deer Creek. Because this is a federal aid project, the county will be responsible for, at most, 20 percent of the total cost, however, the county will need to pay Northeast Public Power $36,800, which will be reimbursed by the State.
The NextEra Sholes Wind Energy Center project was a topic of discussion again. Wayne County residents Ray and Jody Kingsley came before the commissioners to follow up on past discussions and concerns they've expressed about the project.
The Kingsleys said that non-participating landowners needed to be notified of their rights and accused NextEra of "bullying their way through" the project. The couple alleged that another landowner had crops destroyed by the company without permission or compensation. Commissioner Randy Larson asked both Casey and NextEra representative Kimberly Dickey to look into the second-hand report and remind NextEra that trespassing would not be tolerated. Dickey was able to confirm that a written agreement was made between the company and landowner in question.
Dickey also came before the commissioners to have a document signed confirming for the Department of Transportation that Wayne County doesn't have zoning regulations against wind turbines.
The next Wayne County commissioners meeting will be held Sept. 18 at 9 a.m. at the Wayne County Courthouse.