Hamilton County Commissioners met Tuesday morning and heard from Keith Sled of the Heart of Texas Defense Lines for Bell, Coryell and Lampasas area for Fort Hood in regard to tax abatements for wind farms.
“The turbines have impact on radar and the western trading area,” said Sled.
“They block the view, ability to seek anything on the far side, weather, aircraft distances and the turbines can trigger false aircraft radar.
“The western trading area at Fort Hood, designed in accordance with the Federal Aviation Administration for low flights, training, and preparation for deployments,” he continued.
Commissioner Dickie Clary said that concerns mentioned are valid, but asked Sled that, “In the event that the US military border personnel are able to have some kind of impact on this subject, not this project alone, but even future projects, is there a mechanism in place for the potential loss of revenue if the wind turbines become inappropriate to put in certain areas?”
Sled noted that the federal government doesn’t have a program at this time, and that the department of defense has the citing clearinghouse for wind turbines and transmission lines.
Sled further recommended that the court not approve the tax abatement for the wind farm.
Gary Kafer of Representative J.D. Sheffield’s office said that a state representative from Bell County had called to include all military bases in Texas in regard to wind farms. The representative will be addressing the issue again next session.
“Dr. Sheffield has typically stayed away from this but notice was sent to Fort Hood that they needed an official response. This project has negative impact on Fort Hood and he cannot support such a project,” said Kafer.
“The court has not received a final acceptable application from Vista Mountain Wind, LLC, and we, as a court, are still talking in generalities. I will not support an abatement for this issue because it is a property rights issue,” said County Judge Mark Tynes.
“To me, it can’t be argued that property is going to be devalued. This is a property rights issue that the landowners should decide.
“If the abatement is a catalyst for this, we should not provide that. Let the landowners decide that. We don’t have the authority to make that person not sign; we can’t stop them. Abatement would allow this project to go forward, we should step back and let the free market take it from here,” Tynes said.
“There is a lot to consider on the issue and I have told people that my objective is to do my due diligence to check facts and evaluate all parameters before I make a decision,” said Clary.
“I know there will be a lot of tax dollars if this abatement is a catalyst for the project. We don’t know if the project will happen or not happen without an abatement. I know we will make money, but if we do this, we are enabling the developer and involving ourselves in free market capitalism,” said Tynes.
There were no budget amendments or line transfers and the consent agenda was approved, including bills submitted for payment of $41,630.99.
A memorandum of understanding was approved between Hamilton County and the Texas Office of the Attorney General, as was an interlocal agreement for funding for Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
A motion was officially made to adopt the outline and finance options proposed by Precinct 3 commissioner Lloyd Huggins for the purchase of the property known as BLT Automotive to move Precinct 3 headquarters from downtown Hico.