Questions remain for wind energy project; Brookston board addresses feasibility issues regarding project
During a short meeting Wednesday, the Brookston Town Council took care of routine business and had only brief updates on some ongoing projects.
After approving claims for the period, President Joseph Butz stated that a meeting held Friday, April 4 with officials from the state of Indiana and Horizon Wind Energy had yielded some answers, but left a lot of questions, also.
The meeting had been to discuss the feasibility of Brookston owning some power-generating windmills or purchasing electricity directly from Horizon’s proposed White County wind farm.
Horizon officials didn’t know if they would be able or allowed to provide electricity directly to Brookston, but they did have information regarding the windmills themselves. The council learned that electricity prices were supposed to rise dramatically in upcoming years.
“That’s the most disheartening thing,” said Butz.
Town Superintendent Max Eldridge informed the council that the rise in electrical prices was largely due to rising coal prices and stricter environmental regulations. He informed the council that a meeting on April 17 in Plymouth would gather municipal officials to discuss electricity prices.
Eldridge knew that the council would have to inform Indiana Municipal Power Agency (IMPA), the electrical wholesale supplier from which Brookston purchases its power, by 2010 if the town does not wish to sign a new contract and find power elsewhere.
“I think it’s worth our while to see what else is out there,” said Eldridge.
Butz said that if Brookston pursues supplemental wind power to help keep electrical costs down, management could be the biggest factor aside from the cost of purchasing and installing equipment; overall, there are still many questions regarding whether the project could be feasible.
“Basically, it’s a really early stage, and Ken (Smith of Municipal Civil Corporation) is seeing what’s out there and what the options are,” said Butz.
Clerk/Treasurer Ginger Brown informed the council that after contacting county offices, Brookston had been issued an advance draw from 2007 taxes. Although in normal years the council would have already received the funds, Brown was glad to have received the additional $145,000.
“We now have about 90 percent of our 2007 taxes,” said Brown. “We have not borrowed any money. Now, I’ll look at investments, because I was afraid to look at it before we received taxes.”
Eldridge informed the board that F & K Construction, the firm that installed the town’s new water lines last fall, would have the job finished by the end of April. Cold weather had prevented them from finished odds and ends such as reseeding, filling holes and repairing blacktop.
“They’re just now getting to the point they can get that done,” said Eldridge. He anticipated they would be in town by the end of the following week.
10 April 2008
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