County commission field grows to seven



March 7, 2018 - 12:00 AM

The 3rd District vacancy on the Allen County Commission, created by the resignation of Jim Talkington, now has interest of seven individuals.
Steve French, a former Iola councilman and local contractor, joined the list of hopefuls, said Darolyn Maley, county treasurer and vice chairperson of the county Republican committee.
Those previously announced are Karen Gilpin, the only candidate to attend Tuesday morning’s commission meeting, Fred Apt Jr., Bruce Symes, Scott Stewart, Bo Garrett and John Brocker.
The district’s precinct men and women will hear from those interested and decide on a recommendation Thursday evening, starting at 6 o’clock in the basement meeting room at the courthouse. The meeting will be open to the public.
To be considered, a person has to be nominated by a precinct person; there are eight but one, Carol Immel, has said she would be unable to attend. Nominees will be given time to make a case for their nomination.
The nominee’s name will be forwarded to Gov. Jeff Colyer, who in all likelihood will agree with the precinct members’ decision. That person will serve through the end of this year.
Since the vacancy occurred before May 1, a commissioner will be elected in November to fulfill the final two years of Talkington’s term. The filing deadline is June 1.

COMMISSIONERS learned Tuesday morning that EDP Renewables, which has started construction of a 60-turbine wind farm in northeast Allen County, has reached a 20-year agreement with Great Plains Energy to purchase the power it produces.
Sale of the 200 megawatts of power was a sticking point for opponents during the run-up to EDP acquiring a conditional use permit to build the wind farm.
The facility, christened Prairie Queen, is expected to begin generating power in 2019. In its first 10 years, the company will make an annual payment of $250,000 in lieu of property taxes. In the 11th year and forward, EDP has predicted annual ad valorem taxes will be about $1.2 million a year.
In other news, commissioners learned the Southwind Extension District would be expanded to include Woodson County on July 1. The district today is made up of Allen, Bourbon and Neosho counties.
Carla Nemecek, district agricultural Extension agent, said the expansion would bring two more agents into the fold and increase opportunities for residents of Woodson County, by making more specialists available, including for horticulture, and providing more access to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program information. Food stamps for lower-income residents is part of SNAP, as is encouragement for better nutrition in schools and communities, Nemecek said.
Commissioners renewed property, liability and vehicle insurance with EMC, through PSI, a local agency. The premium will increase about $12,000, from $146,000 to $157,800, Loren Korte, PSI owner, said.
They also accepted two recommendations from the county’s planning commission.
One, on a 7-0 recommendation by planners, gave a conditional use permit to Nelson Quarries, LaHarpe, to expand it quarry operations, provided certain restrictions were maintained.
Commissioners also accepted the planning commission’s 5-2 decision to turn down a request from Terry McDonald to crush cars at his business just east of Gas.
McDonald said he can now transport only one vehicle at a time, which makes recycling efforts unprofitable. By crushing the cars, several could be hauled at a time.
Chairman Tom Williams said, “it’s not my desire to go against the planning commission,” an attitude Commissioner Jerry Daniels embraced, and led to a 2-0 vote confirming the planners’ recommendation.
Commissioners suggested McDonald revisit the planning commission with a revised proposal.

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