DEKALB, Mo. – DeKalb County and Wind Capital Group are at odds over the tax revenue the county will receive.
Wind Capital’s first payment to DeKalb is due by the end of the year. Now, the two are working to settle on a cost for clean air.
“This is the first year the wind towers have been on the county books,” said DeKalb County Assessor, Ruth Ross.
However, Wind Capital Group and the county continue to debate over what is fair when it comes to the tax revenue DeKalb will receive.
“We reached an agreement to pay more than any company has ever paid in taxes,” said spokesperson for Wind Capital, Tony Wyche.
The debate started with initial documents singed by DeKalb County Commissioners in 2009. It was then Wind Capital offered to pay the county $600,000, then that money plus two percent each year following.
However, when county assessor Ruth Ross saw the Intergovernmental Agreement, she raised a red flag. The “contract” wasn’t legal as specified by state statue 432.070.
It was then Ross used a formula that’s determined the tax pay outs for all other wind farms in the state. Her math showed that with nearly 100 turbines in her county, Wind Capital should be paying nearly double. Rather than the $600,000 they first offered, Ross’ figures showed they’d owe just over $1.5 million.
“They have used the formula for every other county,” Ross said. “It’s only fair DeKalb gets the same amount as every other county.”
“They’re using formulations from previous developments and projecting them onto DeKalb,” Wyche said. “The other deals were negotiated agreements just as the one was with the DeKalb County Commissioners. We could not build at that rate based on the formula.”
The Missouri Tax Commission sided with Ross’ logic — but the Wind Capital has since filed an appeal.
WCG said that it wasn’t until construction was complete, DeKalb raised an issue on their initial offer.
“That is the agreement in which the project was moved forward,” Wyche said of the 2009 deal. “For her to come in after the game has already started and change the rules is not fair,” he said referring to Ross.
Wind capital went on to tell KQ2 “We will pay our fair share of property taxes in DeKalb County.”
However, Ross feels the company is anything but fair. DeKalb has more turbines than the three neighboring counties combined. Atchison County put up 27 turbines, Gentry County 33, and Nodaway just over 30. DeKalb has 98 turbines.
Ross says with the way WCG wants it – it’s buy one get two free. “There are three times as many in DeKalb so there would be three times more tax base due,” she said.
With the project already complete, DeKalb’s expecting their first payment from WCG by the end of the year. But with tax money now under review , it’ll be rerouted to an escrow account.
“This project has been very positive. It’s driven economic investment, providing clean and reliable source of domestic energy,” Wyche said.
For now turbines will continue to spin out clean energy, as DeKalb and Wing Capital wait for the State Tax Commission to rule on an appeal — in hopes of clearing the air.
The State Tax Commission says there is no set method for valuing this property.
The appeal could take anywhere from six months to two years.
A spokesperson for Wind Capital Group would not comment on if they’ll take this case to court is they lose the appeal.