The Butler County Commission meeting on Tuesday morning began with the testimony of Joe Ammond, a resident of Andover. Ammond started by explaining the current happenings of his neighborhood, which is located in a flood plain.
"I have a neighbor who is building his house up off the ground," explained Ammond. "He built a berm around his property and he was supposed to take the berm out."
The berm and the soil that was brought in to form the berm around the property has the potential to be a hazard in terms of water displacement if the area floods.
"He told me that all the dirt was going to have to be removed," added Ammond. "There was no dirt taken out and it was all spread out. If you bring in dirt, that’s going to raise the water level."
The potential rising of the water level proved to not be the only problem Ammond was encountering with his neighbor.
"I've complained to the Sheriff’s Department about him dumping his construction waste along the creek," said Ammond. "He had some materials that were not supposed to be dropped in the creek and he had piled all his old building materials right next to my fence. By the end of the job, it was laying on my fence. I have a chainlink fence and the logs are bowing it over to where it's almost touching the ground. The police did come out and look at the materials in the creek and they said there was stuff in the creek that had to be taken out."
"It seems to me the remedy for this is district court," commented Commissioner Jeff Masterson.
"I met with the inspector last week," said Will Johnson, county administrator. "We can’t do anything about the individual piling stuff up or a dispute against the neighbors, but we are monitoring that construction in conjunction with the state. Individuals are making progress, but not as quickly as we would hope. There is rebar and some debris in the creek that needs to be removed."
"During the flooding, this house sustained damage that was over 50 percent of the value of the home," added Director of Planning and Development Rod Compton. "The property owner had two options – take the house out or raise it. Obviously construction doesn’t occur overnight and there are a number of issues out there, but the homeowner has been told that an engineer will have to certify that the dirt will not cause a rise in floodwaters."
"This is going to turn our yard into a swamp and it will decrease the value of our home," said Ammond.
"The people of Wagon Wheel have lost faith in the county," commented David Woods, another neighbor. "I believe he is correct. This is an opportunity for the county to correct the injustice and neglect that has been done over the past 30 years. I don’t know that much about the law, but I think it's against the law to divert water to your neighbor. We need your guys' help because we’re not getting it from the public servants."
Page 2 of 3 - Commission Dan Woydziak then explained in order for the commissioners to better understand the issue, they will work to gather more information. The commission then requested a further discussion on the issue at a later date.
Next came the request to authorize exceeding a line item from the 2013 Weed Department budget.
"With the rains that we’ve had during July and August as well as a nice spring, we’ve seen a dramatic increase of weed treating activity," explained Public Works Director Darryl Lutz. "We also budgeted for revenues of $190,000 and we’ve exceeded those expectations. We currently have $192,000 in accounts receivables and very little of that is outstanding. In order to meet the demands, they’re needing an additional 60K in budget authority. It will be offset by additional revenues for the remainder of the year."
"I had a farmer call me and he couldn’t believe that they were out of chemicals," said Commissioner Mike Wheeler. "It’s a critical item and we need it."
Fearing that the season for growing weeds was almost over, the commissioners voiced concern this was an unnecessary expense.
"We have several weeks of treatment left until we get a hard freeze," answered Lutz. "We don’t try to buy more than what we need."
With that clarification, Wheeler motioned to authorize the expenditure and the motion was carried 5-0.
Following the regular meeting, the commission was given information on the puppy rabies case in Butler County.
Johnson explained the puppy was purchased in Cherokee County and was sold to an individual in Butler County. The puppy was then knowingly sold after being attacked by a rabid skunk. Originally, the owner was told the puppy was merely sprayed by the skunk, but it was then discovered the skunk was actually in a carrier with the puppy. This puppy was taken to an after-school program and there was a lot of contact with the animal. The puppy was exhibiting some strange symptoms and it took a while to figure out. After the discovery, the puppy was euthanized.
"We are checking with our county attorney and the sherriff,” Johnson. “If this individual willingly putting people in harm’s way, then that is something we can’t have. There's a bunch of people in the county now getting rabies shots. We’ve also had a skunk and another animal possibly confirmed with rabies. We are working on identifying everyone that came into contact with the animal and treating those exposed."
The commission also:
• made a recommendation to the City of Augusta to allow the Conditional Use Permit for the temporary placement of a mobile home on property zoned R-6D Residential in conformance to the Butler County Comprehensive Plan.
Page 3 of 3 - • received and opened proposals for the 2013 CPI Multifunction Copier and Printer replacements.
• completed a work session on the Scope of Work document pertaining to Jan. 1, 2015 values for the county.
• approved the agreements for engineering services related to a proposed 2014 bridge replacement project and to three proposed bridge repair projects.
• approved the designation of Commissioner Dan Woydziak as a member and Commissioner Jeff Masterson as the alternate member representing Butler County to the WAMPO Transportation Policy Board.
• reviewed the status of the five-year update to the Solid Waste Management Plan.
• completed a work session on the landfill operating permit modification.
•approved the authorization of staff to develop an engagement letter with Allen, Gibbs, & Houlik for auditing services for 2013 and 2014 fiscal years.
• received an update from Johnson on the circumstances concerning the Andover quarry CUP and were advised letters have been drafted and that county staff are working to gather information to further clarify the stipulations of grandfathering a CUP.