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Wind farm moves forward

Young County commissioners moved a step closer to reaching a tax abatement agreement with Gamesa Energy on Monday by creating a tax reinvestment zone. The zone is a necessary step toward an abatement agreement. Games has announced it plans to build a wind farm that would be mostly in Jack County with 12 turbines extending into Young County.

Young County commissioners moved a step closer to reaching a tax abatement agreement with Gamesa Energy on Monday by creating a tax reinvestment zone.

The zone is a necessary step toward an abatement agreement. Games has announced it plans to build a wind farm that would be mostly in Jack County with 12 turbines extending into Young County.

Close to 10 property owners attended the public hearing on the proposal, but no one chose to speak up.

"We'd like to urge you to create the tax reinvestment zone," said Dale Cummings, a tax specialist working for Gamesa. "We really need it for two purposes. First, we'd like to get an abatement agreement with Young County.

"Second, we are working with Graham ISD to have a payment in lieu of taxes to them. This is an important part for them."

Commissioners spoke little before voting unanimously to create the zone.

"We thank you for your time and look forward to working with you on this project," Gamesa's Colin Kelly said.

Commissioners also voted to send a letter to Oncor Electric that both supported a proposal to place a new electrical transmission line across the county while urging the company to avoid certain areas.

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Young County commissioners moved a step closer to reaching a tax abatement agreement with Gamesa Energy on Monday by creating a tax reinvestment zone.

The zone is a necessary step toward an abatement agreement. Games has announced it plans to build a wind farm that would be mostly in Jack County with 12 turbines extending into Young County.

Close to 10 property owners attended the public hearing on the proposal, but no one chose to speak up.

"We'd like to urge you to create the tax reinvestment zone," said Dale Cummings, a tax specialist working for Gamesa. "We really need it for two purposes. First, we'd like to get an abatement agreement with Young County.

"Second, we are working with Graham ISD to have a payment in lieu of taxes to them. This is an important part for them."

Commissioners spoke little before voting unanimously to create the zone.

"We thank you for your time and look forward to working with you on this project," Gamesa's Colin Kelly said.

Commissioners also voted to send a letter to Oncor Electric that both supported a proposal to place a new electrical transmission line across the county while urging the company to avoid certain areas.

Anne Skipper with Wildcatter Ranch told commissioners if the line was placed across the Wildcatter, it could devastate the business.

"At the Wildcatter, we don't shy away from new things and we've been known to take risks, but we do sell a Texas adventure," Skipper said. "When our guests come, it is important they see a view of Texas that is pretty pristine. We can't have them seeing power lines out their windows. We hope that as you consider where to put the power lines, you consider the view. It could potentially have an impact financially to Young County."

County Judge Stan Peavy III told Skipper the county would take her concerns to heart, but warned that the county will have little direct say as to where the lines go.
"We don't have the power to tell them where to place them," Peavy said. "They're asking for our input. We certainly hope when they place them, they will consider the views at the Wildcatter Ranch."

Peavy said Oncor has said it will place the lines with large steel lattice towers somewhere as far north as the city of Graham and as far south as the county line between Stephens and Palo Pinto counties.

The line is planned to be a 100-mile line that will run from Shackelford County to Willow Creek in Wise County.

"It could really cause us some issues," Peavy said. "My thought is we urge them to go as far south in the county as possible."

One thing commissioners did agree on is they wanted the transmission line to run across Young County.

"It could benefit us greatly," Peavy said. "They are taxable items, and we could use the tax revenue. But at the same time, you don't want to see it cut across property that is real valuable."

Commissioner Jimmy Wiley said the key for the county was to be kept up to date with the plans as they are made.

"As long as they keep us in the loop, we'll be up to date," Wiley said. "I urge them to be mindful of what they're going to cross. We want to stay in the loop."

Peavy said there was no perfect answer when it came to putting the lines in. He explained that in addition to tax revenue, the county could benefit due to wind farms that may come because of a transmission line to tie into.

"It's one of those things where everybody wants the benefit, but nobody wants it in their backyard," Peavy said. "They will be able to put it wherever they want."

Commissioners agreed to send a letter to Oncor that expressed the following points:

* The county shared the concerns of the city of Graham that placing the lines too close to the city could impact its ability to grow and the quality of life of area residents.

* The county shared the concerns of the Wildcatter Ranch that transmission lines across the property could devastate the business and hurt the economy of the city and county.

* The county wants to invite Oncor to put the lines inside Young County.

* The county wants to be kept abreast of what is happening during the process.
Peavy said the entire process could take two years.

Commissioners also chose not to limit what fireworks could be sold and used during the July 4th celebration.

"If we want to enact a fireworks ban, we have to do it today," Peavy said. "It's hard to predict what it's going to be like."

"If it rains, we'll be OK," Wiley said. "If it doesn't rain, we'll be in trouble. It's a catch-22."

Despite the potential threat, commissioners did nothing, which will allow all fireworks to be sold.

"I don't really want to restrict it," Commissioner John C. Bullock said. "Right now, it's not to that point. I hate to restrict the people who sell them."


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

JUN 9 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/20583-wind-farm-moves-forward
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