Story Co. supervisors adopt master matrix resolution

Robbie Sequeira Special to the Herald

Faced with two consecutive cancelations of a special meeting regarding the master matrix and a looming state-enforced Jan. 31 deadline to pass a resolution in order to use the master matrix, the Story County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to pass a resolution to adopt the master matrix for 2019.

The board’s decision during its regular meeting on Jan. 29 is the county’s surest way to have the power to recommend factory farms for approval or denial to the state.

The resolution initially was scheduled to be the opening action item for the special master matrix meeting at 7 p.m. on Jan. 29 before addressing resolutions into proposing master matrix moratorium, but that meeting was canceled because of the dangerously cold weather and the matter was addressed during the board’s regular meeting that morning.

If the board was unable to meet the deadline, it would have forfeited the right to use the master matrix, a scoring system used to evaluate the siting of local confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

If the special meeting is rescheduled, the agenda will only address three items concerning proposed master matrix moratoria and one rule of law resolutions.

The first resolution, if approved, would allow the board to ask the governor and the Legislature to impose a moratorium on new or expanding concentrated animal feeding operations, proposing measures to ensure the protection of air, water, and residential quality.

The second resolution would petition for Legislature to review and modernize the master matrix scoring system standards.

The final resolution, if approved, would allow the board to direct the county’s planning and development staff, in conjunction with Story County attorney and law enforcement to effectively ban any new or expanded CAFOs in Story County.

The coming weeks of February bring a slew of budget items and meetings for the board, leaving availability for the three supervisors scarce. Olson said the best possible time for a lobbying measure regarding the master matrix would be near the end of February.

Additionally, the resolutions may be discussed at a regular 10 a.m. meeting or a special afternoon meeting at the administration building in Nevada.

However, the Board of Supervisors used quick-thinking in anticipation for the eventual cancelation of the evening’s special meeting on Jan. 29.

It was the watchful eye of Story County clerk Michelle Bellile who reminded the supervisors to add the resolution item on the regular meeting agenda before the 24-hour board-meeting agenda notice deadline on Monday, Jan. 28 — in event that the special meeting Tuesday night was canceled.

The current master matrix resolution takes effect Feb. 1, 2019, until Jan. 31, 2020.

Other notes

The board unanimously approved to refer a funding request from Community and Family Resources through the county’s Asset Management team. Community and Family Resources recently secured a grant to implement programs to help with substance abuse and gambling addictions in the county. The department requested $7,200 to fund curriculum as well as material and supplies. The matter could be a potential agenda item in the coming weeks.

The Board approved a motion 2-1 for all three Board of Supervisors to individually interview applicants for their vacant boards and commissions positions. Supervisors Rick Sanders was the dissenting vote, citing the motion as “problematic, as it could veer into the act of being a walking forum.

Each supervisor will have a standard sheet of interview questions but will be free to conduct the interviews in a way suitable for them and the prospect. The board is looking to fill vacancies on the boards of Health, and Planning and Development, and the Veterans Affairs Commission.