By Lasca Randels
WARSAW — Kosciusko County Commissioners approved two resolutions presented by County Attorney Ed Ormsby during their meeting Friday, Feb. 19.
The first resolution authorizes County Administrator Marsha McSherry to sign closing documents and transfer funds for the Fisher Farms purchase of real estate.
The second resolution addresses House Bill 1381, which is currently pending in Indianapolis.
The bill attempts to set default standards for the installation of wind and solar projects.
“This bill is in regard to wind and solar plants and it provides that a local authority may not impose standards that are more restricted than the default standards that are adopted in this bill,” Ormsby said.
He then read aloud the resolution from the Board of Commissioners opposing the bill.
The resolution reads, in part, “WHEREAS, under House Bill 1381, communities would be compelled to allow wind and solar projects under conditions dictated by others living outside the community and WHEREAS, the Board of Commissioners desires to express its opposition to House Bill 1381 and express its support for the rights of individuals and families living in a community to direct their own future through land-use decisions.”
“In a nutshell, it’s pretty much that as commissioners if we choose to approve this, it’s saying we’re not in favor of a bill that allows the state to pretty much dictate wind and solar energy in our community and we really want to make sure we continue to keep control of that at a local level that our citizens and local elected officials have that say versus being told to do that by the state,” Kosciusko Commissioner Vice President Cary Groninger said.
“It’s not that we’re against green energy, but it’s one of those things when you have somebody outside of your community telling you what you can or can’t do it’s usually never a good thing, which is the reason I move to approve our resolution to being opposed to Bill 1381,” he said.
County Emergency Management Agency Director Ed Rock told commissioners that he applied for a grant for just under a million dollars. If awarded, the intent for the grant money is that it would be used to purchase fire department radios.
“This thing actually can go a couple of different ways,” Rock said. “If we get the award, then we’re only paying 10 cents on the dollar, but if we do not get the award, then that’s going to obviously change what the fire departments can afford to purchase, so nothing is going to be done here until after we hear if the award is given.”
Rock also informed commissioners about an issue with the Marshall County EMA.
“Just to make sure you’re aware, Marshall County EMA, my counterpart, has – I don’t want to go too far with HIPAA, but has some issues that probably over the next couple of months are going to keep him out of commission. So what he has done, he has asked my department and Fulton County EMA if we would cover for them,” Rock said. “If they do have a major incident in Marshall County, either Fulton County or myself will be going over to Marshall County to help manage that and I just wanted to make you aware of that ahead of time.”
Groninger asked about backup for Kosciusko County in the event of multiple emergencies,
“We have Elkhart County, Marshall County and Fulton County are – hands down they will do whatever is needed. This goes back to the district concept. We’ve been in District 2 for a number of years, probably 15 years now, and we work well together,” Rock said. “if need be, we can pull from Pulaski County as well, so all of them will be right there unless they are being impacted by the same issue.”
Commissioners gave their approval, with Kosciusko Commissioner President Bob Conley remarking that “the camaraderie is refreshing.”
The front door entrance of the Kosciusko County Justice Building, recently closed for the installation of additional security measures, will be open to the public Monday, Feb. 22.
As part of the project, the county reconfigured the entrance. New scanning equipment and a bulletproof enclosure were purchased with grant money.
McSherry publicly expressed gratitude for county maintenance crew members Ben Johnson, Howard Prater and Mike Clark for their work over the past couple of weeks keeping the sidewalks and parking lots cleared as well as for County Highway Superintendent Steve Moriarty and the entire highway department crew for keeping the county roads cleared.
In other news:
- Claypool resident Raymond Bledsoe was honored as Veteran of the Month.
- Commissioners approved a request by Kosciusko County Surveyor Mike Kissinger for safety lighting on the county surveyor vehicle. A $1,203 bid for the lighting submitted by Copsgear of Columbia City was approved.
- Donald DeWitt was approved for another four-year term on the Turkey Creek Regional Sewer Board.
- The next regular meeting will be 9 a.m. March 2.