• Last modified 592 days ago (Dec. 12, 2019)


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Whose engineer?

To the editor:

Several days ago I watched the Nov. 25 Marion County Commission video.

What I saw was disappointing and like a bad movie. I wanted my money back. Expedition Wind presented a 38-page document titled “Expedition Wind and Marion County Development Agreement.”

This document gave Expedition Wind authority to use the county engineer to establish the wind farm. Expedition Wind will pay for professional services fees, but does not include any county engineer support costs. This is where every taxpayer in the county needs to take notice.

The county engineer will need to be responsible for setting up and assisting a roads management working group prior to construction, at least every two weeks during, and 90 days post-construction. He will make videos showing condition of roads. Before construction, he will determine culverts to widen. During construction, he needs to be available for oversize transportation, crane movements, road closures, dust control, approval of maintenance methods, repair obligations, and all light vehicle traffic.

He’ll also be involved in post-construction inventory including repairs, restoration, emergency repair, and determining road certificates, which relieves Expedition Wind from further responsibility.

The county engineer is named 75 times for types of responsibilities in assisting Expedition Wind. Three commissioners were not concerned that our engineer will be used this way without reimbursement to the county and signed the agreement. I have issues with allowing a private company to use our county engineer without reimbursement.

Many citizens have worked diligently to try to improve road conditions. If infrastructure is not in place, economic development will not come. Two commissioners who voted in favor of Expedition’s proposal dragged their feet throughout the process of hiring an engineer and almost made it impossible to find someone who would work under the conditions that were set forth. In June, the county hired an engineer who met the job description. Everyone agreed the neglected, mismanaged roads throughout the county were a monumental task. So much that two commissioners kept the superintendent’s job description and pay the same even though taxpayers were promised reductions would offset expenses of adding an engineer.

What happened to that priority? Every taxpayer needs to call their commissioner and ask why they would do something so outlandish as add the equivalent of another job onto an almost impossible one already given to the engineer. Our roads and county highways are not fixed. Commissioners didn’t give that position a year before adding monumental assignments for which the county will not be reimbursed, according to the document signed by three of the five commissioners.

Linda Peters
Liberty Township trustee

Last modified Dec. 12, 2019