A decision on the site for a $5.5 million wind turbine tower just west of town has been delayed a month, according to Geneseo’s mayor.
In June, the Geneseo City Council voted 5 to 3 in favor of negotiating a contract with Johnson Controls to build the 2.5 megawatt wind turbine.
The council also approved acceptance of a $1.385 million Illinois Clean Energy Grant for the tower’s installation.
But a few obstacles came before the council. During the June meeting, one of the people who would live next to the tower said he didn’t want to see it from his backyard.
The proposed windmill site is not in the city limits and the current proposal calls for the city to lease the land. One of the questions brought up at the council meeting was why homeowners outside the city limits who receive some city services but do not pay city property taxes should have a voice on where the tower goes.
Others, such as Ald. Linda Van Der Leest, 2nd Ward, voted against the project because she was concerned about the city committing to a long-term lease agreement.
“We need to look around a little bit,” Mayor Eberhardt said of different sites for the turbine. “We may look into the possibility of buying some land.”
The mayor said last month the city had looked at other options. City utility manager Ken Stock said the city evaluated seven or eight properties before picking the site west of town off of Middle Road.
Ald. Kevin Peterson, 4th Ward, has said the city’s goal is to supply reasonably priced and reliable power. Mr. Stock said last month the city has looked at other sites and found them to be either too expensive to get power back across to its system or possibly against state laws.
Ald. Keith Kennett, 3rd Ward, voted for the agreement last month. He said there may be potential delays with the final agreement over a site, but no change of heart on the project.
“I have no reason to think that,” Ald. Kennett said. “I don’t sense there is any reconsideration. I think we want to make sure to explore every possibility, and that wherever we put it, that it’s in the best interests of the city.
“It’s a long-term investment.”
By Stephen Elliott
7 July 2007
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