Leavenworth County commissioners heard more Thursday from residents who are opposed to a proposed Tyson Foods poultry facility near Tonganoxie.

Leavenworth County commissioners heard more Thursday from residents who are opposed to a proposed Tyson Foods poultry facility near Tonganoxie.

“This project needs to be slowed down and it needs to be looked at from all sides,” Carl Folsom III said.

He said the poultry plant project will affect generations of people.

Folsom and several others spoke during a public comment portion of Thursday’s meeting of the County Commission.

Last week, representatives of Tyson Foods announced plans to build a $320 million facility south of Tonganoxie.

The facility would include a processing plant, hatchery and feed mill. The facility would employee about 1,600 people.

Since last week’s announcement, residents who are opposed to the project have been voicing their opposition during County Commission meetings.

Citing an Aug. 31 resolution approved by the County Commission, Folsom argued that it seems like commissioners already have decided the Tyson Foods project would be good for the county.

The resolution announced the commission’s intent to issue industrial revenue bonds for the project.

Interim County Counselor David Van Parys has said the bonds would serve as a mechanism for allowing Tyson Foods to make payments in lieu of property taxes over a 10-year period.

Folsom, who is an attorney, asked commissioners to rescind the resolution Thursday. He said officials with Tyson Foods could argue in the future that the resolution is a binding contract.

Van Parys said he does not believe the resolution is binding. He said the resolution is conditioned on other events taking place.

Ted Ward expressed concern about the county government’s lack of environmental regulations.

Commissioner Clyde Graeber said he has requested an environmental impact study for the Tyson Foods project.

“I think it is vital,” Graeber said. “I think it is necessary, and we should demand it.”

County Administrator Mark Loughry said a requirement for an environmental impact study can be included in a development agreement between Tyson Foods and the county government.

Graeber later said he does not want the environmental impact study to be performed by Tyson Foods.

“I want an independent study,” he said.

Loughry said developers typically have to pay for such studies, but the studies are performed by people licensed with the state.

“And the Kansas Department of Health and Environment will be leading the charge on that,” Loughry said.

Ward invited commissioners to take a fact-finding trip with him to Tyson Foods sites in Missouri.

Commission Chairman Doug Smith declined the offer.

“That might not look too good,” he said.

Another audience member asked commissioners if any of them had taken a trip to Arkansas in connection to the proposed Tyson Foods project. Tyson Foods has its headquarters in Springdale, Arkansas.

All three of the commissioners said they have not traveled to Arkansas.

Loughry later acknowledged that he had taken a trip to Springdale, Arkansas.

Commissioner Bob Holland revealed that he had visited a Tyson Foods facility in Tennessee.

“That’s what I did all day (Wednesday),” he said.

Holland said he had been invited to take the trip. He said other people from Leavenworth County also took the trip, but he was the only county commissioner who went.

Loughry said he did not go on the trip to Tennessee.

Holland said he will provide a report about the trip at a more appropriate time.

Steve Jack, executive director of the Leavenworth County Development Corporation, did not attend Thursday’s County Commission meeting. But he was among those who made the trip to Union City, Tennessee.

Tyson Foods operates a poultry plant in Union City, Tennessee.

In addition to visiting the facility, the group from Leavenworth County met with officials from the community in Tennessee, Jack said.

He said the trip was paid for by Tyson Foods.

Speaking after Thursday’s meeting, Smith said he does not want to take a corporate-sponsored trip. The County Commission chairman said he will take his own trip to visit sites in Missouri and Arkansas. But he would like for Tyson Foods officials to do more to address the concerns of Tonganoxie residents.

“They have done nothing,” he said.

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