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County to end preferential tax assessment for wind turbines

Lucknow Sentinel — Bruce County wants an end to preferential tax assessment for wind turbines.

Last year the province set assessment at $40,000 per megawatt of power generated, even though a tower and turbine can cost nearly $2 million.

That amounts to a subsidy for green energy, but one that Saugeen Shores Mayor Mark Kraemer said is being unfairly put on the shoulders of property owners in the host municipality.

“If you believe it’s appropriate to subsidize something for the common good of society, then all of society should share in the common cost,” Kraemer said.

The province should cut a cheque to the industry if it wants to encourage green power production, Kraemer told Bruce County Council. Instead the assessment cap penalizes the municipality and county by limiting their ability to raise property tax.

No other industry is assessed on the basis that’s applied to wind turbines, Kraemer argued.

“We don’t assess car plants based on the horsepower of the engines they’re producing inside,” he said.

Wind turbine assessment is an issue for Bruce County because of the 121-turbine operation Enbridge wants to set up in Kincardine and Saugeen Shores.

What at first glance is an economic shot in the arm will yield only $600 per tower in municipal share of taxes, said Kincardine Treasurer... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
Last year the province set assessment at $40,000 per megawatt of power generated, even though a tower and turbine can cost nearly $2 million.

That amounts to a subsidy for green energy, but one that Saugeen Shores Mayor Mark Kraemer said is being unfairly put on the shoulders of property owners in the host municipality.

“If you believe it’s appropriate to subsidize something for the common good of society, then all of society should share in the common cost,” Kraemer said.

The province should cut a cheque to the industry if it wants to encourage green power production, Kraemer told Bruce County Council. Instead the assessment cap penalizes the municipality and county by limiting their ability to raise property tax.

No other industry is assessed on the basis that’s applied to wind turbines, Kraemer argued.

“We don’t assess car plants based on the horsepower of the engines they’re producing inside,” he said.

Wind turbine assessment is an issue for Bruce County because of the 121-turbine operation Enbridge wants to set up in Kincardine and Saugeen Shores.

What at first glance is an economic shot in the arm will yield only $600 per tower in municipal share of taxes, said Kincardine Treasurer Brenda French. A similar capital investment by another industry would mean many times that amount of assessment and property tax.

Meanwhile Kincardine is frustrated with lack of specifics on how wind turbines and the farms that host them will be assessed for property tax. The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation and the province are slow with details on the assessment, French said, while developers are in a hurry.

“What we’re dealing with is a lot of pressure to move very quickly without the associated knowledge of what that's going to do for us (in terms of) revenue,” she said.

Property assessment officials have no leeway to change the assessment rate for wind turbines, area representative Chuck Egener told Bruce councillors.

“The rate that MPAC is using to assess the turbines is regulated,” Egener said.

"Far be it from me to explain how this regulated system came into being."

Generating equipment is exempt from taxation, while land the towers stand on and the roads to them are rated as industrial assessment.

“I have no flexibility and MPAC has no flexibility in that,” Egener said, though he promised to take Bruce County’’s concerns to his bosses and the province.

South Bruce Mayor Ralph Kreutzsweiser said Bruce county should go further than that. The problem with wind turbine assessment is a legislated issue, he said, and the way to address it is to invite the Ministries of Energy and Ministry of Finance and neighbouring counties to Bruce county to discuss the problems and look for solutions.


Source: http://www.lucknowsentinel...

JUN 8 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/2969-county-to-end-preferential-tax-assessment-for-wind-turbines
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