There were several public comments during the County Commissioner’s meeting on Tuesday.
Steve Neff, President of the Marshall County Farm Bureau and the President of District 10 Purdue Council on Agricultural Research, Extension and Training. He is supportive of the work the commissioners are doing regarding the issues with services from Purdue Extension. He said, “Farm Bureau is a big supporter of county extension and accountability is considered an important aspect of that.”
Farm Bureau has some concerns about the vacancies and said it’s not just in Marshall County. Across the state, there are 200-plus vacancies in various positions in county extension. Neff said a task force has been started at Purdue to work on the issue. He thanked the commissioners for their support and due diligence in getting to the bottom of the issues in the extension office.
Jannell Prochno-Naylor wanted to address concerns from Marshall County citizens. She said about 250 signatures on a petition were submitted to the Plan Commission about the current ordinance and amendments to the solar ordinance about solar farms along with many letters. She claims a lot of people are unaware of what is happening in Marshall County. She said some of their concerns are eminent domain, a rate increase from REMC when they start purchasing energy from the solar companies, farmland preservation, property setbacks, and setbacks from a structure instead of a property line, conflict of interest, impacts on dairy cows and wildlife.
Annette Haining the Marshall County Tobacco Education Coordinator thanked the Commissioner for approving the MOU between Saint Joseph Health System and Tobacco Education. The agreement allows the county to use its unrestricted opioid settlement funds in the amount of $24,756.87 to provide a full-time youth coordinator for the program who will work in the schools. They agreed to quarterly reports on how the program is going.
Brain Johnson who lives on 9th Road in Plymouth has issues with the large-scale battery storage facility that wants to locate in Burr Oak. He thinks there is a lot of conflict of interest happening. He questioned why Commissioner Overmyer voted for the moratorium on the battery storage but didn’t vote in the Plan Commission meeting. Johnson said he’s totally against the solar project and said Commissioner Overmyer should vote on the solar ordinance amendments because he and his wife have signed papers for the battery storage project. He wasn’t sure if the conflict was a legal issue or not.
Charles Dault from the 14,000 block of Nutmeg Road questioned the requirement for soil and water testing in the proposed amended solar ordinance. He wanted to know how often the tests would happen and if the results would be public. He also wanted to know what happens if there are adverse effects.
Jeff Gustafson from 4B Road in Walkerton was a member of the Fair Board and when he heard Mr. Winrotte say the council was hard to work with and that’s why the county can’t keep educators he had to speak up. He said it’s absolutely not true.