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Commissioners discuss how to proceed with wind farm

Young County commissioners will likely seek a 60-40 split on tax proceeds if they approve an abatement request from British Petroleum for a windmill energy farm in northern Young County. While meeting with attorney Alan Carmichael on Monday, commissioners discussed a way to get the most money for the county without derailing the proposed wind farm. Under the proposal from BP, the county would abate 75 percent of the taxes the first two years and see the figures drop through the 10-year abatement. ..."I want it to be competitive, but keep in mind this is British Petroleum, one of the 25 largest companies in the world, and they don't need a heck of a lot of help from us," Carmichael said. "But we do want this project to be completed."

Young County commissioners will likely seek a 60-40 split on tax proceeds if they approve an abatement request from British Petroleum for a windmill energy farm in northern Young County.

While meeting with attorney Alan Carmichael on Monday, commissioners discussed a way to get the most money for the county without derailing the proposed wind farm.

Under the proposal from BP, the county would abate 75 percent of the taxes the first two years and see the figures drop through the 10-year abatement. After studying that proposal, Carmichael said he favored a 60-40 split with 60 percent of the taxes abated each year. Carmichael said the 60-40 split is common around Texas and has close to the same financial impact.

The difference with the 60-40 split is about $200,000 to the county which should not make or break the proposal.

"I want it to be competitive, but keep in mind this is British Petroleum, one of the 25 largest companies in the world, and they don't need a heck of a lot of help from us," Carmichael said. "But we do want this project to be completed."

Carmichael said one of his goals throughout the process was to create an abatement process that is fair to the... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Young County commissioners will likely seek a 60-40 split on tax proceeds if they approve an abatement request from British Petroleum for a windmill energy farm in northern Young County.

While meeting with attorney Alan Carmichael on Monday, commissioners discussed a way to get the most money for the county without derailing the proposed wind farm.

Under the proposal from BP, the county would abate 75 percent of the taxes the first two years and see the figures drop through the 10-year abatement. After studying that proposal, Carmichael said he favored a 60-40 split with 60 percent of the taxes abated each year. Carmichael said the 60-40 split is common around Texas and has close to the same financial impact.

The difference with the 60-40 split is about $200,000 to the county which should not make or break the proposal.

"I want it to be competitive, but keep in mind this is British Petroleum, one of the 25 largest companies in the world, and they don't need a heck of a lot of help from us," Carmichael said. "But we do want this project to be completed."

Carmichael said one of his goals throughout the process was to create an abatement process that is fair to the company and good for the county. He explained that once one abatement was approved, other requests would likely follow. Later requests would often ask for same deal given earlier.

Carmichael also said that while abatements were an important part of the wind farm process, they were not the most important factor.

"For a $300 million or $400 million project, $600,000 in taxes is not that big of a deal," he said. "The biggest factors are wind and transmission line availability."

In addition, companies like BP will look for the production tax credit from the federal government and abatements from school taxes before looking to counties. All of the factors must be in place before construction begins, he said.

"Typically, companies like BP will lease 10 different areas and choose the one or two that are best to build this year," he said.

Under the 60-40 plan, Young County would receive about $2.9 million in new tax revenue over 10 years. Commissioners asked if there was a way to ask for straight payments every year instead of varying tax bills.

"That way we know each year what it's going to look like, and we'll know what kind of money is coming in," Precinct 4 Commissioner Jimmy Wiley said. "We can base our budget on that."

Carmichael said payments in lieu of taxes can be done and are usually based on a fee per megawatt hour created. Regardless of what method the county chooses, Carmichael said the wind farm will be a big boost to the local economy.

"I hope your'e going to see a drop in your tax rate," he said. "You should when you have an additional $130 million to $140 million on your tax rolls."
With the proposal still in doubt, commissioners asked Carmichael to meet with representatives in Archer County to see what they are planning to do.

Since the farm is planned in both counties, creating an abatement plan that is equal is important, the attorney said.

"I'm certainly in favor of this project," Precinct 2 Commissioner John C. Bullock said. "I don't really like tax abatements, but I understand we have to use them."


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

AUG 19 2008
http://www.windaction.org/posts/16615-commissioners-discuss-how-to-proceed-with-wind-farm
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