In a unanimous decision Tuesday, the Story County Board of Supervisors approved a system of property tax breaks for land on which wind turbines would be located.
The measure was introduced to the board Tuesday, but the second and third readings were waived, meaning the measure will take effect in 30 days.
Property tax for wind farms in Story County will start at zero percent of assessed value the first year, rising in 5-percent increments every year before topping out at a 30-percent ceiling around the seventh year.
Iowa law makes allowances for such abatements in the state code. Story County’s action simply localizes the benefits, which were intended to support renewable energy enterprises in the state.
The ordinance was passed chiefly due to the Story Wind, LLC development that’s slated to be built in Lincoln Township in the northeast corner of the county. The planned wind farm will feature a total of 100 wind turbines and create income for Lincoln Township landowners who become involved in the project.
Even with the abatement, the facilities will generate a significant amount of tax revenue for the county, an estimated $17 million over the next 20 years, according to Supervisor James Strohman.
Members of the board expressed excitement over the development before the ordinance was passed Tuesday.
“I’m really happy to be on this board to pass this ordinance,” Strohman said.
Supervisor Jane Halliburton said Story County’s various environmentally-minded initiatives should be seen as a model for the rest of the state.
Story County LLC is owned by Florida Power and Light, one of the largest public utilities in the country. Through other subsidies, the company owns and operates 47 similar win energy projects in 15 other states, many in the Midwest. It also owns wind farms in Cerro Gordo and Hancock counties.
The abatement structure, though approved with the Lincoln Township wind farm in mind, will apply to any other wind energy company that sets up in the county, Strohman said. However, the ordinance was passed specifically to facilitate the Story County LLC project.
By Luke Jennett
17 October 2007
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