DANVILLE, IL. (ECWd) –
Vermilion CountyBoard (full meeting video will be posted after it uploads)
September 10, 2013 Meeting
This months meeting was held at 6PM and after the invocation, pledge of allegiance and roll call, a motion was made to delete item 13E on the agenda. Item #13 E was the vote on approval for a contract with Fidlar Technologies for the county recorder’s office. No reason was given for the removal of this item to the public. A presentation of a plaque was made to Tracy McCrae for service at the former Vermilion manor nursing home. Phil Kruzich from the Nursing Home Foundation gave an update on the foundation activities. Since there is no longer a county nursing home, the foundation will concentrate on assisting nursing home residents with specific needs. The future relationship with the new owners of the nursing home and the foundation is yet to be determined. Audience comments on agenda items only are addressed at this point. This language change, agenda items only, in the public comment section was implemented in May of 2013 and a second public comment section was added towards the end of the meeting. Other issues facing the county can only be addressed under the second comment section. Once the counties first Wind Farm Victims were attending the meetings and informing the board of their noise and health issues, the county implemented the second public comment section. It is now 2 years and 9 months to date of the education of this board in regard to Big Industrial Wind. Starting three months ago, board members began disrespectfully walking out on Wind Victims while they addressed the weak ordinance and stating what life is really like living in the county’s first Industrial Wind Turbine Complex owned by Invenergy LLC. This behavior by board members towards wind victims has continued under this second section of public comment for every board meeting since its inception and implementation.
The speakers for the agenda items only were:
- Ted Hartke – Mr. Hartke questioned (as soon as Mr. Hartke addresses the board, board member Mr. Dreher leaves and only returns when Mr. Hartke is finished) the need for the quick vote on item 13E (Fidlar Technologies contract) on the agenda. The item had been previously removed from the agenda by the chairman. Mr. Hartke again raised questions about the GIS contract previously approved by the county board without the bid process. He has yet to get answers about the current contract amount and the amount of the previous contract from anyone on the county board. Mr. Hartke stated that he had once again e-mailed all of the county board members without any response to his inquiries. His research shows that the county should have bid out the GIS contract. Mr. Hartke continues to dig into this issue and gets no response from the board. Answers from Mr. Donahue at the state’s attorney’s office are different every time he asks. WHAT IS GOING ON HERE? WHY DOESN’T ANY BOARD MEMBER RESPOND? IS ANYBODY HOME? Watch Mr. Hartke question the board on the video. Listen to their response (none). Watch as they cut off his comments on this serious issue. Chairman Wienard and Mr. Donahue whisper to each other during Mr. Hartke address.
Item 11 on the agenda is Timothy Drury from Bliss McKnight Risk Manager. The county board has brought him in to again try and stop the county residents from speaking against the counties actions on industrial wind activities. Mr. Drury told the board that without county zoning or home-rule; they have done all that they can with their wind ordinance. According to Mr. Drury, the ordinance is a building permit, not a land use ordinance. As a building permit, the county can only regulate the safety of the structure. Board member Rick Knight asked Mr. Drury if the board has done a good job so far. Mr. Drury responded that indeed if the county goes any farther, they could be sued and his recommendation is the county do nothing to the ordinance. Note on the video that during one of the single most important issue before the county, board member John Dreher reads his newspaper during the presentation. This is yet another attempt, in a series of attempts, by the county to try to justify and continue to do nothing to help the residents that are suffering from the effects of the Industrial Wind Turbines. AS LONG AS THE RESIDENTS OF THE COUNTY CONTINUE TO FIGHT FOR THIER LIVES, THERE IS NOTHING THE COUNTYCAN DO TO MAKE THE ISSUE DISSAPEAR!
Moving along, resolutions for collection of delinquent taxes and 2014 legal holidays passed with the dispensing of the readings. Debate ensued over the emergency declaration for the new JuvenileDetentionCenter surveillance system with safety being sighted as the main issue and the dispensing of the reading was voted upon again and it was not read. The money to pay for the system will come from money the county received from the lawsuit with the city. The declaration to enact an emergency situation and a resolution passed 21-yes, 1-no (Stahl), 4-absent, 1- vacant.
County board member John Alexander approached the podium to address the board as the chair of the Finance and Personnel committee and at this point Mr. Alexander asked for a private “side-bar” meeting with the chairman before addressing the full board. This is illegal under the open meetings act and was not questioned or stopped by the assistant state’s attorney, Bill Donahue. A dispensing of the reading was passed here also. Agenda items for Finance and Personnel all passed except 13E which was deleted from the agenda. Again all were passed with a dispensing of the reading but a motion was made to strike 13F and postpone the passing of the budget amendment until the committee has a chance to review the contract. Also the contact has not been approved yet. Vote to strike from the agenda was approved. Was this due to Mr. Hartke’s comments? More on this later.
Mr. Todd Johnson addressed the board as the chair of the Transportation committee and a dispensing of the reading was allowed again and the business about the county bridges was passed.
At this point the board went into executive session under executive session section“c”.
Mr. Drury (on video) went out into the hall and was attempting to answer questions and elaborate on his position, with the audience Wind Victims and others, his advise to the board that “no” changes be made to the wind ordinance. This is a must see on the video!
Coming out of executive session, the chairman announced that the board will educate the members on the letting of county contracts at either the Executive committee meeting or the Finance committee meeting for those interested.
Appointments were approved with no discussion.
Next were audience comments for items not on the agenda. Some of tonight’s speakers were again Industrial Wind Turbine Victims who are concerned about the county’s weak wind ordinance. The speakers were:
- Gina Isabelli – a high school teacher from Central High, living sadly in the Invenergy LLC California Ridge Industrial Wind Complex in Vermilion County. She questions the board findings that the wind turbines are good for Vermilion County. She continues to have issues with noise and has difficulty living in her home. Additionally her horses have problems with the wind turbines noise. Her pasture in only 1038 feet from the nearest Invenergy turbine. At this point of the meeting, Robert Fox (District 6, 3304 Independence Dr.Danville, IL. 61832, 217-446-1122, firstname.lastname@example.org) leaves the meeting. Check out and listen (https://secureservercdn.net/220.127.116.11/7b1.61b.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/VermilionWalkingOut-9-10-2013.mp3) to what Mr. Fox had to say about why he was leaving the meeting when this Wind Victim was addressing the board. Once again he refuses to listen to constituents on the noise and health problems that they are forced to live with in the county’s first Industrial Wind Turbine Complex owned by Invenergy LLC. Gina receives no response from the board.
- Mr. Kirk Allen – complemented the board on delaying the vote on the Fidlar Technologies contract, it was the right thing to do (Mr. Dreher again leaves his seat and is leaving the meeting entirely). Mr. Allen also advised the board, based on Mr. Drury’s assessment that the wind ordinance could be amended on the grounds of a safety issue. Oddly, since this is but one of the biggest public issue in the county, there was no response from the board. John Dreher (District 7, 22 McVey St.Danville, IL. 61832, 217-443-8167, email@example.com) leaves the meeting again this month. Apparently the suffering of constituents from the Industrial Wind Complex is not important to him.
- Jean Miles – informed the board once again that she has several issues with noise from the county approved Industrial Wind Turbines. She lives 1685 feet from the nearest turbine and still has issues with noise! The county ordinance states that they can be located 1200 feet from a home. Why isn’t the county listening to her? Jean asks that the county board take action before this happens to another family in the county.
- Ted Hartke – Mr. Hartke raises the question of board members leaving early. Mr. Hartke questions the lack of leadership in the county that cannot get their county board members to stay and meet the requirement of state statute that allows members of the community to address their elected officials. Mr. Hartke continues to plead with the county to help the residents with the issue about the Turbine Noise. What response does he get? Bruce Stark of District 9 gets up and leaves. He is now the third board member to show his disrespect by walking out while a Wind Victim is addressing the board with concerns. Bruce Stark, 7 Oaklawn Ct., Danville, IL. 61834, (217)446-7596, firstname.lastname@example.org, also happens to be on the Vermilion County Structural Safety Committee that oversees the county’s Industrial Wind Complex applications for approval or denial of their safety. I think we know where he stands on the issue. There was no response again to Mr. Hartke’s pleas other than from Chairman Weinard that it was his (Mr. Hartke’s) nickel when speaking.
- John Kraft – Mr. Kraft thanked the board members for listening to the public comments, at least the ones that were still present. Mr. Kraft also advised the board that the public has the right under the open meetings act to speak before the body. If members get up and leave, they are not being afforded that right. He also pointed out that “side-bar” meetings that cannot be heard are not allowed during a public meeting as well as the passing of notes, texting and e-mailing. There was no response from the board.
- Darrell Cambron – Mr. Cambron requested that the second public comment part of the meeting be moved back to the beginning of the meeting on the agenda so that more board members will be able to hear from the residents on the wind issue or any other issue facing the county as it was before. The question was directed to the chairman and his response was again ‘It’s your nickel”. What a response to the question!
With even larger industrial machines slated to invade Vermilion’s rural communities, Apex (the second wind company for vermilion county and with the history of having several previous owners prior to them) and the county board are diligently working together to figure out how Apex would NOT have to reapply to the county for major changes they want to make to the turbines. The changes include increased turbine size, increased rotor diameter and locations of the turbines from what is in the existing application. Having to reapply to the county would mean they would fall under the revised ordinance. This would mean the permit dollar fee per turbine tower would increase from the $1,000.00 under their application now to $4,500.00 fee if they had to reapply. The setback per tower from the foundation of a primary structure, not the property line, would be increased a measly 200 feet for a 1,200 foot setback under reapplication. With having only a 1,200 foot setback from the foundation of a residence for these much bigger power making machines, common sense and logic tells you the setback would be totally inadequate for the safety of those rural families. Once again the county board decides that it is OK to sacrifice residents for the profits of the Industrial Wind Turbine companies. When is the board going to be responsive to the needs of the constituents? When are they going to finally admit that they made a mistake?
So the question becomes: What will the county do about the increased number of Industrial Wind Turbine Complex Victims in the future that will come before them, to tell their truths, of the nightmare they now live in, because of the Turbines and their Noise?
The next board meeting is October 8th at 6PM at the courthouse annex on the second floor in Danville.