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Board to form two new panels

Crafting 5-year financial plan, negotiating landfill fees subcommittees’ focus

Published: Friday, Jan. 11, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

DIXON – The Lee County Board chairman is forming two subcommittees, and he is making sure that they have five members so that two members may talk to each other on the phone without violating the law.

Rick Ketchum is organizing a subcommittee of the finance committee to formulate the county’s 5-year financial plan. That subcommittee has existed before with three members: Vern Gottel, Dick Binder and Ed Fritts. Their appointments expired Nov. 30 and Fritts no longer is on the board.

Ketchum wants the committee to have five members so that two members may talk on the phone without violating the Open Meetings Act, he said.

The act stipulates that notice be given to constituents and the public must be allowed to attend meetings when a majority, a quorum, or a majority of a quorum of a public body discuss public business, unless they are discussing something that is exempted.

If three members make up a public body, two members would be a majority.

“People should, if they want to bounce ideas off another member, that should be a legal thing to do instead of an illegal thing to do,” Ketchum said. “It’s not necessary but it could happen. I don’t want to stop that from happening.”

The new subcommittee will have Gottel, Binder, Allyn Buhrow, Wes Morrissey and Steve Kitzman.

Ketchum also is forming a subcommittee of the transportation and solid waste committee to negotiate with Allied Waste on the hosting fee for the landfill. That committee will be Gerry Leffelman, Bernie Buckley, Tom Kitson, Judy Truckenbrod and Marvin Williams.

The 5-year agreement with Allied will expire at the end of this year. The next agreement will also cover 5 years, Ketchum said.

The county is guaranteed to receive $1.8 million a year in host fees under the current agreement with Allied Waste, which is owned by Phoenix-based Republic Services.

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