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Now is the time to speak out on wind farm

It is clear the majority of commissioners court is in favor of allowing the wind farm to go up in northern Young County. From a government perspective, the choice is easy. By agreeing to waive some of the property tax for 10 years, commissioners will see the income to the county rise by between $200,000 and $400,000 each year. ...While wind farms are often beneficial to property owners who lease their land, they are frequently hated by other land owners. The bottom line is putting 40 or 50 wind generators up in Young County will drastically change the scenic view many people have become accustomed to. If you want an example of what you may see, just drive down Highway 16 South toward Possum Kingdom Lake and look at the windmills sitting south of Bryson.

Young County commissioners took another step toward allowing a wind energy farm to be erected with a 3-0 vote last week to create guidelines and criteria for tax abatements.

At the same time, commissioners hired a special counsel to lead them through the process.

It is clear the majority of commissioners court is in favor of allowing the wind farm to go up in northern Young County. From a government perspective, the choice is easy. By agreeing to waive some of the property tax for 10 years, commissioners will see the income to the county rise by between $200,000 and $400,000 each year. At the end of the decade, the full property tax will be paid, adding additional revenue to the county.

For a small county with limited property tax revenue, such a move could mean a lot.

An extra $200,000 could be used in many ways - pay raises for employees, new equipment, additional government programs and maybe even a tax cut for the taxpayers who have funded the government for years.

It is easy to see why Young County officials would be eager to support the proposal by British Petroleum.

But before any decision is made, the residents of Young County will have a chance to... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Young County commissioners took another step toward allowing a wind energy farm to be erected with a 3-0 vote last week to create guidelines and criteria for tax abatements.

At the same time, commissioners hired a special counsel to lead them through the process.

It is clear the majority of commissioners court is in favor of allowing the wind farm to go up in northern Young County. From a government perspective, the choice is easy. By agreeing to waive some of the property tax for 10 years, commissioners will see the income to the county rise by between $200,000 and $400,000 each year. At the end of the decade, the full property tax will be paid, adding additional revenue to the county.

For a small county with limited property tax revenue, such a move could mean a lot.

An extra $200,000 could be used in many ways - pay raises for employees, new equipment, additional government programs and maybe even a tax cut for the taxpayers who have funded the government for years.

It is easy to see why Young County officials would be eager to support the proposal by British Petroleum.

But before any decision is made, the residents of Young County will have a chance to have their say.

While wind energy farms are popular with governments throughout Texas and abatements are the standard procedure for having them built, residents are often not as enthusiastic about the proposals. In fact, there are questions commissioners will need to consider before agreeing to forgive BP of some of its tax obligation if the wind farm is built.

For one, the Texas attorney general issued an opinion earlier this year that basically said abatements for wind farms are not allowed under state law. In the AG's opinion, he said that abatements can only be given to property owners, not people or companies that lease property.

There has been some pressure on the attorney general to change his opinion, and a recent lawsuit filed because of the opinion was dismissed in court. The AG may change his views, but until that is done, Young County commissioners will closely weigh the risk and the rewards.

While wind farms are often beneficial to property owners who lease their land, they are frequently hated by other land owners. The bottom line is putting 40 or 50 wind generators up in Young County will drastically change the scenic view many people have become accustomed to. If you want an example of what you may see, just drive down Highway 16 South toward Possum Kingdom Lake and look at the windmills sitting south of Bryson.

There are also other concerns that often come up when wind farms are proposed, and Young County residents will get an opportunity to ask them when the commissioners host a public hearing at 10 a.m. Monday, Aug. 25.
The public hearing will be held before the county officials create a proposed reinvestment zone for the area in northern Young County. If the zone is created, commissioners can begin to negotiate with BP over the final wording of an abatement. A final agreement may be only weeks away, but nothing is set in stone.

The next step involves you. If you have concerns or even if you are fully in support of the proposed wind farm, make plans to attend commissioners court Aug. 25 and let them know how you feel. Sharing your views in a public hearing is the best way to impact the final outcome. Complaining in a few weeks once an abatement is given will accomplish nothing.

There is no doubt that a wind energy farm would do a lot of good for Young County, but there are enough potential concerns that commissioners need to hear from their constituents. That time has come.


Source: http://www.grahamleader.com...

AUG 15 2008
http://www.windaction.org/posts/16546-now-is-the-time-to-speak-out-on-wind-farm
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