The Summerland Advocate-Messenger - Reliable, Trustworthy Reporting, Capturing The Heartbeat Of Our Community

By Sandy Schroth

Holt County supervisors approve road agreement for pipeline construction


The Holt County supervisors approved a road-use agreement for duration of potential construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, despite the county leaders’ denial of a construction permit in February.

Consideration of the road-haul agreement was on the agenda when the supervisors met in the courthouse for an in-person meeting April 30.

The agreement had been drafted by Omaha attorney David Domina, with Brent Kelley, Holt County attorney, proceeding, at the request of the supervisors, to negotiate terms with TCE officials.

Kelly was present in the board room and reviewed terms with the supervisors, while TCE officials Rob Latimer, Denisha Cummings, Ronald Comes and Patrick Pepper commented by phone. County road superintendent Gary Connot was also present.

“Pursuant to this agreement, TransCanada offers to pay Holt County up to $2.4 million dollars for existing and planned county road projects, will agree not to pump Holt County’s water through the pipeline, will agree to identify all private drain tile, and will agree to work with private landowners concerning the existence and safety of their private wells,” Kelley told the Advocate-Messenger.

A motion was made by supervisor Don Hahlbeck to approve the agreement, including an unconditional, irrevocable commercial letter of credit to be issued prior to the start of construction, and to recommend to the Holt County Board of Adjustments that all conditions to the Pipeline Construction Permit had been met. The motion was seconded by supervisor Darin Paxton.

The bonding requirement utilizes a formula of $50,000 per mile of gravel and $300,000 per mile of asphalt roadway included in the agreement.

Hahlbeck later amended his motion, omitting the recommendation to the board of adjustments. The motion carried on a 6-0 vote.

The recommendation was taken up in a second motion, also offered by Hahlbeck and seconded by supervisor Steve Boshart.

According to Kelly, the matter came about due to the county zoning commissioners’ and supervisors’ denial of the CUP, and TCE’s appeal of the denials to the board of adjustments.

The motion failed on a 2-4 vote, with supervisors Doug Frahm, Bob Snyder, Don Butterfield and Paxton opposed.

Sheriff Ben Matchett was present to review 12 informal bids obtained for a used patrol unit. Bids were received from four sellers, including one local dealer, ranging from a 2015 Ford Explorer for about $18,000 to a 2018 Ford Police Interceptor at $28,850.

The supervisors unanimously approved the purchase of a 2019 utility all-wheel-drive Interceptor, with lights, siren and grill guard, for $26,350 from the Kansas Highway Patrol.

The supervisors approved a bid from Midwest Service and Sales Co. of Schuyler, for repair of a bridge southwest of Atkinson, in the amount of $37,998.98. A bid of $61,845 was received from Norfolk Contracting.

While convened as a board of equalization, the county leaders approved two tax list corrections presented by assessor Tim Wallinger and approved applications for motor vehicle tax exemption, after holding a public hearing. Exemptions were approved for Building Blocks, for a 2013 Chevy Impala and 2019 Chevy Malibu; Bright Horizons, for a 2016 Ford Escape; Valley Hope Association, for a 2012 Ford Fusion; and Avera St. Anthony’s Hospital, for 2015 and 2016 Chevy Impalas.

In other business, the supervisors:

~Approved zoning applications submitted by Brandon and Kristi Peterson for a five-acre tract in E ½ 21-31-12; Trey Rossman for a 1.913-tract north of Atkinson in Sand Creek Township; and Kaup’s Elkhorn Dairy & Repair for a 6.003-acre tract east of Stuart in Stuart Township; and

~Set bid opening for the O’Neill southeast micro-surfacing project for 11 a.m. May 29.


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