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Bill would provide uniform assessment of wind farms

Legislation approved by lawmakers but still needing Gov. Rod Blagojevich's signature would create a uniform method for assessing the value of wind turbines and, supporters hope, make Illinois more attractive for future wind energy development. Under the legislation, which Mautino helped negotiate, wind companies could expect to pay around $9,000 per megawatt regardless of the county. The law also sets standards on depreciation and allows only 25 percent of the land where a turbine is located to be assessed for property taxes.

The state's burgeoning wind farm industry could see more uniform standards in the way counties assess property taxes, but some companies still question whether it really will level the playing field.

Legislation approved by lawmakers but still needing Gov. Rod Blagojevich's signature would create a uniform method for assessing the value of wind turbines and, supporters hope, make Illinois more attractive for future wind energy development.

Right now, each county can come up with its own policy. That, according to Rep. Frank Mautino, D-Spring Valley, has created unpredictability and a patchwork of tax assessment levels ranging from around $7,000 per megawatt in one county to $30,000 per megawatt in another.

Under the legislation, which Mautino helped negotiate, wind companies could expect to pay around $9,000 per megawatt regardless of the county.

The law also sets standards on depreciation and allows only 25 percent of the land where a turbine is located to be assessed for property taxes. The law would expire in 2011, allowing the state to revisit it, Mautino said.

Greater tax stability takes one issue off the table for companies looking at Illinois, but the $9,000 level is still... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The state's burgeoning wind farm industry could see more uniform standards in the way counties assess property taxes, but some companies still question whether it really will level the playing field.

Legislation approved by lawmakers but still needing Gov. Rod Blagojevich's signature would create a uniform method for assessing the value of wind turbines and, supporters hope, make Illinois more attractive for future wind energy development.

Right now, each county can come up with its own policy. That, according to Rep. Frank Mautino, D-Spring Valley, has created unpredictability and a patchwork of tax assessment levels ranging from around $7,000 per megawatt in one county to $30,000 per megawatt in another.

Under the legislation, which Mautino helped negotiate, wind companies could expect to pay around $9,000 per megawatt regardless of the county.

The law also sets standards on depreciation and allows only 25 percent of the land where a turbine is located to be assessed for property taxes. The law would expire in 2011, allowing the state to revisit it, Mautino said.

Greater tax stability takes one issue off the table for companies looking at Illinois, but the $9,000 level is still too high and not a guarantee since local tax rates vary, said Joel Link, director of business development for Invenergy, a company developing a 66-turbine wind farm south of Marseilles.

Jan Johnson, a spokeswoman for PPM Energy, which ultimately hopes to build a 375-turbine wind farm that will straddle parts of La Salle and Livingston counties, said that company has similar concerns.

But Thomas Johnson, president of the Taxpayers Federation of Illinois, said in most of the rural areas of Illinois where these wind developments are going up, local tax rates are in the same range so there shouldn't be big variations in tax liability.

By setting a standard assessment method, counties also decrease the chance wind energy companies will seek to appeal property tax bills they consider too high, said Wendy Ryerson, supervisor of assessments in Lee County, the site of Illinois' first wind farm.

As wind farms have started sprouting up around Illinois in recent years, so has legislation aimed at the fledgling industry.

In mid-August, Blagojevich signed another bill into law that gives counties and municipalities the authority to establish standards for new wind farms locating in their jurisdiction.

Under that law, now in effect, counties and towns can establish standards regarding the height and number of wind devices and can regulate where wind farms are located.

The law also requires at least one public hearing no more than 30 days before a siting decision is made by a county or municipality.

 


Source: http://mywebtimes.com/ottne...

AUG 28 2007
http://www.windaction.org/posts/10845-bill-would-provide-uniform-assessment-of-wind-farms
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