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County may help fund wind energy project  

Wind energy development efforts in Reno County could receive an extra power boost from county coffers.

On Monday, the Reno County 2020 Growth Coalition, on behalf of a wind energy task force, requested $10,000 from the county’s 2008 budget to help bring in experts in preparation for wind research.

No action was taken, but Commissioners Francis “Shep” Schoepf and Larry Sharp spoke favorably of the coalition’s work. A formal request outlining how the funds would be spent is anticipated before a vote.

Commission Chairwoman Frances Garcia said the county’s economic development budget for 2008 “is pretty much shot.”

Coalition board chairman Jim Davis made it clear he did not want to subtract from economic development funds, intended to provide incentives for business prospects. Commissioners have about $200,000 in unearmarked funds in their 2008 discretionary fund, and the $10,000 would be pulled from that account.

Garcia spoke of the need for agencies to request funds when the annual county budget is written in the summer, while Fiscal Administrator Tim Davies noted that it is difficult to find funds after the budget is set.

Those were arguments expressed this fall when the Reno County Historical Society sought $50,000 from the already fixed 2008 county budget, to promote the Kansas Underground Salt Museum. In that case, commissioners voted unanimously in October not to grant the museum’s request.

The wind energy task force hopes to place towers and anemometers – which measures wind speed – in early 2008, to collect 12 months of data.

By Mary Clarkin

The Hutchinson News

3 December 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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