Bill Whitlock from Horizon Wind Energy asked for the Logan County board’s blessing Thursday to include some of its proposed wind farm operations in an enterprise zone in Logan County.
Although the designation routinely includes a 10-year abatement on property taxes, Whitlock said the county wouldn’t have to worry about taking any losses.
“Even though an enterprise zone affords us property tax abatements, we will not take advantage of that,” said Whitlock.
According to board chairman Dick Logan, Horizon mainly wants the enterprise zone designation so it won’t have to pay sales tax on construction materials.
“They want to take advantage of the sales tax break, they don’t want to take advantage of our county,” said Logan.
Logan said if Horizon structures are included in the Lincoln-Logan County Enterprise Zone, the company can buy materials from other places in the state of Illinois without paying the sales tax.
“They’re buying million-dollar parts,” said Logan. “They’d be saving a lot of money.”
Residents from the Emden area, where part of Horizon’s Rail Splitter Wind Farm will be located, were on hand to hear Whitlock’s presentation, but no one spoke out against the project. One resident said he has heard the negative comments in the press regarding the project and wanted to show his support for the wind farm plans.
No members of Union Ridge Wind, a group opposed to Horizon’s plan, attended the meeting. Members of the group recently attended a Tazewell County board meeting to air their concerns with the development.
The enterprise zone extension will come before the board for a vote during Tuesday’s full-board meeting.
In other business, the board said film producer Patrick Jennings will attend Tuesday’s board meeting to answer questions and seek approval for use of Logan County’s historic courtroom.
Jennings is the writer/producer of the movie “Normal Again,” which is set to be filmed in the courthouse, with the board’s approval, at the beginning of the summer.
According to Logan, some issues still need to be ironed out to protect local businesses and the interests of county residents who frequent the downtown square. Issues such as how the production will affect parking, businesses on the square and events normally held in the summer on the square still have yet to be fully addressed.
“We haven’t really talked about that, but we’ll talk to him more,” said Logan. “I should’ve thought about getting the sheriff involved.” The sheriff is also official custodian of the courthouse.
Logan said he has already received a letter about an approximate time of the production’s start. He said an advanced team will be in town to talk to area businesses, as well as elected officials, to work out any immediate issues before shooting the movie.
Circuit Judge David Coogin has already informed the board that the production will have to be scheduled around his courtroom docket.
“The judges will have to coordinate with them, and a lot of the shooting will probably be on Saturday,” said Logan. “It’s good for the community. Those people will be staying in hotels here and shopping here.”
As far as some of the main festivals, like the Balloon Festival and Art Festival beginning in early August, Logan is unsure if there will be any interference.
“They may still be here,” said Logan. “And, they’ll have to work around our schedule here.
“We have to work with them, and they have to work with us.”
By Joshua Niziolkiewicz
11 April 2008
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