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Bradford puts center-pivot ordinance on hold

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ANN MARIE AMES
July 13, 2011
— An ordinance and a referendum were set on the policy back burners in Bradford Township Tuesday.

The Bradford Town Board was set to vote on an ordinance that would regulate the use of center-pivot waste application in the township.


Town officials had requested wording changes in the ordinance. Because those were not available in time for Tuesday's meeting, the board decided it would wait to take action, said Bradford Town Clerk Sandy Clark.


The ordinance would require an operator to get a conditional-use permit in order to pump untreated wastewater from storage lagoons onto growing crops.


No such spraying system is proposed in Rock or Walworth counties, although one was at one time part of operating applications for the Rock Prairie Dairy, a 5,200-cow facility under construction on Highway 14 in Bradford Township in far eastern Rock County.


The nearby town of Harmony has banned center pivots, and the town of Johnstown has voted to regulate them.


Some say the pivots create strong odors and public health risks.


Others say the pivots allow for efficient nutrient application.


The board was also scheduled to set a date for a referendum on the use of federal bonds to finance the large dairy project.


Dairy owner Todd Tuls of Columbus, Neb., has requested the use of Midwestern Disaster Area Bonds as a way to lower the interest rate on the loan for the $35 million project.


In a letter to the board, town attorney David Moore said Tuls might withdraw his request for the bonds. If that happens, no referendum would be needed.


The bonds are part of a federal program to stimulate economic development in states affected in 2008 by natural disasters, said Steve Sabatke, economic development consultant with the Wisconsin Department of Commerce.


The town board voted in favor of issuing the bonds, but residents collected enough signatures to require a referendum on the matter.


Gazette reporter Catherine W. Idzerda contributed to this story.

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