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Windfall or just wind

LOGAN COUNTY - This county will have more tax revenue - about $2.3 million each year - after the Peetz Table Wind Energy Center is completed and placed on the tax rolls. The assessed valuation of the $700 million project will increase revenues for Logan County and also for the Peetz Plateau School District. To put it in perspective, the $2.3 million the county will receive equals an 8.8 percent addition to its current annual budget of $26 million. Over the next 30 years, this will total about $70 million. In addition, FPL is paying Logan County a one-time payment of $4.16 million in lieu of building permit fees and use taxes.

What impact will wind farms have on local tax revenue?

LOGAN COUNTY - This county will have more tax revenue - about $2.3 million each year - after the Peetz Table Wind Energy Center is completed and placed on the tax rolls. The assessed valuation of the $700 million project will increase revenues for Logan County and also for the Peetz Plateau School District.

To put it in perspective, the $2.3 million the county will receive equals an 8.8 percent addition to its current annual budget of $26 million. Over the next 30 years, this will total about $70 million.

In addition, FPL is paying Logan County a one-time payment of $4.16 million in lieu of building permit fees and use taxes.

The Logan County Commissioners have not yet stated any plans for how the additional money will be used.

County assessor Peggy Michaels said that it will be about two years before the tax money begins to impact the county budget. After the project is completed, it will be assessed and placed on the tax rolls. Then it will take another year before the tax bill goes out to FPL Energy.

Fortunately for Logan County and the Peetz School District, the taxpayers in both entities voted previously to... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

What impact will wind farms have on local tax revenue?

LOGAN COUNTY - This county will have more tax revenue - about $2.3 million each year - after the Peetz Table Wind Energy Center is completed and placed on the tax rolls. The assessed valuation of the $700 million project will increase revenues for Logan County and also for the Peetz Plateau School District.

To put it in perspective, the $2.3 million the county will receive equals an 8.8 percent addition to its current annual budget of $26 million. Over the next 30 years, this will total about $70 million.

In addition, FPL is paying Logan County a one-time payment of $4.16 million in lieu of building permit fees and use taxes.

The Logan County Commissioners have not yet stated any plans for how the additional money will be used.

County assessor Peggy Michaels said that it will be about two years before the tax money begins to impact the county budget. After the project is completed, it will be assessed and placed on the tax rolls. Then it will take another year before the tax bill goes out to FPL Energy.

Fortunately for Logan County and the Peetz School District, the taxpayers in both entities voted previously to remove the most constricting part of the TABOR amendment, the portion that required any large increase in tax revenue to be rebated. Otherwise, Logan County and the Peetz District might be unable to benefit from much of the increased revenue.

An earlier addition to the Colorado constitution, the Gallagher Amendment, puts constraints on property valuation.

Under Gallagher, residential assessed value has been capped at roughly 45 percent of the state total and the remaining 55 percent of assessed value comes from nonresidential (business) property.

Gallagher requires that the residential rate be adjusted whenever property is revalued, to keep the 45 percent-55 percent proportions constant.

The Gallagher Amendment was passed as a way to hold down residential property taxes. But conversely, it requires an increase in the residential rate when growth in the value of nonresidential property - as with the wind farms - outpaces residential property growth.

For several years, Colorado legislators have considered asking voters to adjust or eliminate the Gallagher amendment. Until and unless they do and the voters agree, the law is on the books.

At Peetz School, Superintendent Dean Koester said they have no firm idea of how much their tax revenue will increase. One consideration for school districts in Colorado is the per-pupil funding that each district receives from the state. The amount per pupil is determined by a formula based on the district's assessed valuation.

"When we do our application for school finance, we send the Colorado Department of Education the valuation for the school district that we get from the county," Koester said. CDE then uses a formula, he said, to tell districts what their mil levy will be.

The Peetz School District, and also Logan County, are already the beneficiaries of increased tax revenue from the first Peetz wind farm built several years ago by enXco.

Koester said that in 2000, the total assessed valuation for the Peetz Plateau District was $10,739,960 and the levy was 36 mils.

In 2006, the assessed valuation was $21,490,320 and the mil levy was down to about 18 mils.

But legislation passed in the 2007 session and signed by Gov. Bill Ritter freezes mil levies for school districts that have levies below 27 mils, so the Peetz district will not be able to lower its levy any more, unless the law is overturned.

"The only benefit of the wind farm to some of our local landowners - the ones who don't have towers on their land - is a reduction in their local property taxes," Koester said. Now their taxes can't be lowered any more unless the new law is overturned.

"We do get a super benefit for our construction bond, though," he said. "When the assessed valuation goes up with this new wind farm, it will bring in an incredible amount of money."

Koester said that the district's bond indebtedness for major construction done in the late 1990s can be paid off in 11 to 12 years from the date it was incurred, instead of at the end of 20 years. The levy for the bonds is 12.836 mils, so paying off the bonds and removing it will help all taxpayers in the district, he said.

Carol Barrett can be reached at (970) 522-1990, Ext. 238, or by e-mail at: cbarrett@journal-advocate.com.

 



Source: http://www.journal-advocate...

MAY 19 2007
https://www.windaction.org/posts/8991-windfall-or-just-wind
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