EL PASO – Representatives of Navitas Energy had an open house Tuesday night to address concerns about the wind farm proposed for the city’s west side.
Wanda Davies, spokeswoman for the Minnesota-based company, said the development would provide up to 50 construction jobs and generate thousands of dollars in income for the school system.
“People need to be aware of the big tax advantages we will be paying,” said Davies. “We are guaranteeing a $600,000-per-year payment in lieu of taxes, with $450,000 going to the school.”
The school district would see a net increase of $200,000 after adjustments in state aid related to the growth in the district’s tax base, Davies said.
The Woodford County Zoning Board will have public hearings at 6 p.m. July 25 and 26 at El Paso’s Grace Fellowship Church.
In May, the El Paso City Council approved a resolution seeking to block the wind farm from within 1.5 miles of the city limits. Mayor Herb Arbuckle said the Navitas plan calls for putting 12 of the 42 towers within that 1.5 mile zone, and having towers in that zone would limit development on the west side and hurt the city’s economy.
Davies said Tuesday the wind farm will take 25 acres out of production, but that shouldn’t limit the city’s development.
“The 12 towers the city is concerned about are on land dedicated to agriculture, not commercial or residential (use),” said Davies. “I would be the first to say that it is a bad idea to put a wind tower in a subdivision, but that’s not the case here. The city currently has subdivisions planned to the north.”
Davies said the wind farm also could create six permanent jobs and generate enough electricity to power 24,000 homes.
Navitas hopes to begin construction in 2009, but it first must receive approval from the Woodford County Zoning Board, secure permits and upgrade electric lines leading to the sites, Davies said.
By Dave Tompkins
11 June 2007
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