Several Knox County Board members said Wednesday it was time for the county to begin addressing concerns about wind farms.
One issue raised Wednesday by Member Greg Bacon, D-District 2, was the permit fees for industrial and private use. A couple building a 67-foot wind tower is being charged the same fees as a for-profit company. Bacon said a two-tiered system is needed for private individuals versus companies.
With wind energy company Invenergy beginning to put up structures to measure the area’s wind capacity, Board Chairman Allen Pickrel, R-District 1, said several issues need to be addressed. One of his biggest concerns is protecting farmers from contract language that grants the company easements rather than leases. The second is setting up a bonding procedure to make sure the county has money to decommission towers in case the company goes bankrupt.
In other business, Knox County Supervisor of Assessments Chris Gray, said the three buildings known as CRC Cherry Street Facility, more commonly referred to as St. Mary’s Square, had received tax exempt status from the Illinois Department of Revenue. It had applied in 2004 and 2006, and was rejected both times. CRC appealed the 2006 ruling, and in December the Department of Revenue granted it.
Therefore, all the taxing bodies that received the $187,500 in taxes St. Mary’s Square contributed will not get their share of the money in 2008 and will have to repay the money from 2007. Gray did not have figures in front of her for the county’s portion, but said it was “way less than half,” adding Galesburg District 205 would get the biggest hit.
By Matt Hutton
24 January 2008
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