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Wind farm, company to energize county with $9.73M

Wind farm operators do not pay property taxes under a state incentive aimed at fostering development of renewable energy. The money is meant as a gift, in lieu of the taxes KCP&L otherwise would have to pay.

For Ford County, Dodge City Community College, Spearville USD 381 and four other taxing entities, it also will mean cold, hard cash - nearly $15 million in all over the next 30 years.

Authorities from Ford County and Kansas City Power & Light finalized a pact this week specifying how much the power company will distribute to the local taxing entities. Wind farm operators do not pay property taxes under a state incentive aimed at fostering development of renewable energy. The money is meant as a gift, in lieu of the taxes KCP&L otherwise would have to pay.

"I'm elated," said Kim Goodnight, chairman of the Ford County Commission. "I think we've got a great partner that's coming into Ford County."

Under terms of Thursday's accord, KCP&L will dole out $221,628 in 2007 to Ford County, Dodge City Community College, Spearville Township, the Spearville Hospital District, the Ford County Fire District and the Pawnee Watershed District. The total will increase by 2.5 percent each year, reaching $453,541 by 2036, the last year of the agreement, and resulting in an overall gift over 30 years of $9.73 million.

USD 381, governed by a separate accord, will get $108,372 in 2007, according to... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
For Ford County, Dodge City Community College, Spearville USD 381 and four other taxing entities, it also will mean cold, hard cash - nearly $15 million in all over the next 30 years.

Authorities from Ford County and Kansas City Power & Light finalized a pact this week specifying how much the power company will distribute to the local taxing entities. Wind farm operators do not pay property taxes under a state incentive aimed at fostering development of renewable energy. The money is meant as a gift, in lieu of the taxes KCP&L otherwise would have to pay.

"I'm elated," said Kim Goodnight, chairman of the Ford County Commission. "I think we've got a great partner that's coming into Ford County."

Under terms of Thursday's accord, KCP&L will dole out $221,628 in 2007 to Ford County, Dodge City Community College, Spearville Township, the Spearville Hospital District, the Ford County Fire District and the Pawnee Watershed District. The total will increase by 2.5 percent each year, reaching $453,541 by 2036, the last year of the agreement, and resulting in an overall gift over 30 years of $9.73 million.

USD 381, governed by a separate accord, will get $108,372 in 2007, according to Ford County officials. That number will increase by 3 percent per year, reaching $255,386 in 2036 and resulting in an overall inflow of $5.16 million.

"We hit a home run," Goodnight said.

Of the total going to those entities aside from USD 381, Ford County is getting the biggest chunk, 39.7 percent. It will get $87,986 in 2007 and $3.86 million over the life of the agreement.

Goodnight said the money will allow the county to do a measure of long-range planning - maybe even help with the long-standing dream of building a new Ford County Jail.

"I don't think we can build a jail with it, but we're getting closer," he said.

Next on the list is the community college, recipient of 30.8 percent of the funds. It will get $68,262 in 2007 and $3 million over the 30 years.

The agreement with KCP&L parallels an agreement between Gray County and FPL Energy of Florida, which owns the Gray County Wind Farm near Montezuma. But the Ford County agreement is more generous.

FPL agreed to dole out funds to various Gray County entities over 10 years starting in 2003, also in lieu of the property taxes it does not have to pay on the wind farm there. For 2005, the gift total was $335,859, but it varies from year to year depending on the property tax levies in the impacted taxing districts, according to Sheryl Plotner, the Gray County treasurer. Gray County and Montezuma USD 371 get the lion's share of that money.

The Spearville plans call for construction of a $160 million, 100.5-megawatt wind farm - the third in Kansas - to provide energy for KCP&L customers, who are clustered around Kansas City, Mo. Work started in April, and an inauguration ceremony is set for next Friday, which Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is to attend. The plant is to be fully operational by Oct. 1.



Source: http://www.hutchnews.com/ne...

JUN 10 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/2988-wind-farm-company-to-energize-county-with-9-73m
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