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County could lose out by asking for more

When Young County commissioners began discussing details of the abatement with special counsel Alan Carmichael last week, the majority seemed very interested in finding a way to maximize the amount of money Young County stands to bring in if the farm is built. While that makes perfect sense up front, it could prove perilous to the entire project. With several other counties vying for wind farms from BP, it may not take much to sway the company one way or another. In Archer County, rumor has it that commissioners are planning to agree exactly to the proposal made by BP.

There is no doubt the Young County commissioners court is fully in favor of bringing a wind farm to Young County.

And why wouldn't commissioners be? If the farm proposed by British Petroleum is built, Young County will see its property tax revenue rise by at least $2.7 million over 10 years. The influx of money could pay for a lot of programs in the county or be used to decrease the property tax levy. Despite the small size of the proposed farm, property taxes could drop four cents for every resident in the county.

From the day BP proposed the farm, commissioners have seemed eager to support it. Through words and actions, the county's elected leaders have made it clear the wind farm and the money it will bring with it is something they want for Young County.

But securing the wind farm is far from a given. British Petroleum is currently working on multiple proposals in Texas, and only a few will be built. To decide which farms to build, BP will rely on a lot of factors.

The first is wind. BP Is currently measuring the wind in Archer County for the proposed farm that would cross into Young County. If the wind speed is consistent and high, the farm could move to the... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

There is no doubt the Young County commissioners court is fully in favor of bringing a wind farm to Young County.

And why wouldn't commissioners be? If the farm proposed by British Petroleum is built, Young County will see its property tax revenue rise by at least $2.7 million over 10 years. The influx of money could pay for a lot of programs in the county or be used to decrease the property tax levy. Despite the small size of the proposed farm, property taxes could drop four cents for every resident in the county.

From the day BP proposed the farm, commissioners have seemed eager to support it. Through words and actions, the county's elected leaders have made it clear the wind farm and the money it will bring with it is something they want for Young County.

But securing the wind farm is far from a given. British Petroleum is currently working on multiple proposals in Texas, and only a few will be built. To decide which farms to build, BP will rely on a lot of factors.

The first is wind. BP Is currently measuring the wind in Archer County for the proposed farm that would cross into Young County. If the wind speed is consistent and high, the farm could move to the top of the list. But that is just the beginning. Federal tax credits and abatements from Olney ISD will also play a big role in the final decision.

The final step, but also an important one, is securing an abatement from Young County. When BP met with commissioners, company representatives presented a plan for abatements that would relieve much of the company's tax debt for 10 years while still raising $2.7 million in new taxes.

A similar proposal was made in Archer County, and commissioners there also seem eager to bring in the wind farm.

But there may be a problem brewing.

When Young County commissioners began discussing details of the abatement with special counsel Alan Carmichael last week, the majority seemed very interested in finding a way to maximize the amount of money Young County stands to bring in if the farm is built.

While that makes perfect sense up front, it could prove perilous to the entire project. With several other counties vying for wind farms from BP, it may not take much to sway the company one way or another. In Archer County, rumor has it that commissioners are planning to agree exactly to the proposal made by BP.

That, too, could prove to be a problem. The major footprint of the wind farm is already planned in Archer County, and all of the wind measuring gauges are there. BP has already made it clear that Archer County is a better fit for most of its planned turbines. Young County already has a higher tax rate than Archer County, which would make it more costly for BP to operate here even if the abatements were identical.

If commissioners decide to make changes to the proposal to increase the amount of money coming to Young County, it could push even more or all of the farm northward across the county line.

That move could prove tragic to Young County. Not only would the county lose out on at least $2.7 million, Olney ISD would lose a mass influx of money that could make a world of difference to the small district.

Some of the leased property sits in Graham ISD, which means the Graham schools could see extra cash without giving up anything.

But that will only happen if the wind farm is actually built. If commissioners want the farm as much as they say they do, it's time to show it.


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

AUG 22 2008
http://www.windaction.org/posts/16681-county-could-lose-out-by-asking-for-more
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