After trying to define “essential” courthouse employee, the Union County Board of Commissioners determined all their employees are essential at their meeting Nov. 24 (moved from Nov. 17 due to COVID). The annual longevity checks will be paid Dec. 11 to those employees who qualify. In order to only issue one check instead of two, all employees employed as of Nov. 24 will receive a $500 bonus for their work through the COVID-19 pandemic. Employees who don’t yet meet the qualifications for longevity will still receive the $500 bonus. The money for the bonus will be paid from CARES Act funding.

CAFOs

The longest agenda item – CAFOs – came between public input and CAFOs with Kevin Wurtz and Doug Maurstad. A small CAFO has been approved near Spink. Wurtz presented information of where the CAFO (hog confinement) is located (near 474th Ave and Brule Creek) and how many homes would be affected within a quarter-mile from the confinement. The quarter-mile is the set back for a small CAFO to build. Wurtz stated four families are just outside of the quarter-mile mark and 11 families within the half-mile mark.

Wurtz was wondering what the process was to stop the CAFO from being built and to bring it to the attention of the commissioners. The families in the area have already signed a petition to stop the building, according to Wurtz.

Maurstad had the same concerns about the CAFO and wanted to see three actions from the commissioners. The first is revisit the CAFO ordinance and change accordingly every five years. The current ordinance in place was adopted in 2008. The second is was to implement the County Commission as the Board of Adjustment instead of the Planning and Zoning Board. The third is to add a petition process.

The commissioners listened to each man’s comments and thanked them for their time. No motion was made to the items requested by Maurstad.

See full story in this week’s Leader-Courier.