Public hearing nets few questions

Nebraska Public Power intends to build 115,000-volt transmission line to connect the 80 megawatt planned wind farm to the substation south of Broken Bow. Tuesday evening a public hearing was conducted to give, among others, land owners a chance to ask how they will be compensated for their inconvenience and their property. The projected cost of the nine mile line is $5.5 millions. By law, property owners are to be compensated ‘equitably,’ according to a payment formula based on appraised land values. NPPD intends to hire an independent appraiser to first assess land use and then value. The compensation packages says that NPPD will pay 80 percent of the appraised value and then add monies for the number and type of poles ($100 for a single pole, $250 for an H-Frame on pasture land and $500 for an H-Frame on hay land.) They said they will also pay for damages, including loss of crops and loss of trees which occur during construction. The intent is to sign as many land owners as possible to volunteer easements, but also reserve their right to acquire the utility easements by eminent domain should an agreement not be able to be reached. “We feel we have a good system in place and will treat you fairly,” said Ron Starzec. Also by law, a 30 day comment period is conducted following Tuesday’s public hearing during which negotiations may not take place.