[ exact phrase in "" • ~10 sec • results by date ]

[ Google-powered • results by relevance ]

LOCATION/TYPE

News Home
Archive
RSS

Subscribe to RSS feed

Add NWW headlines to your site (click here)

Sign up for daily updates

Keep Wind Watch online and independent!

Donate $10

Donate $5

Selected Documents

All Documents

Research Links

Alerts

Press Releases

FAQs

Publications & Products

Photos & Graphics

Videos

Allied Groups

Commissioners seek data on wind project’s employment potential  

Credit:  By Erin Rhoda, Staff Writer, Morning Sentinel, www.onlinesentinel.com 7 October 2010 ~~

SKOWHEGAN – Somerset County Commissioners want to know what the economic effect would be of a wind development project that could stretch 50 turbines from Bingham through Mayfield Township.

The three elected commissioners asked First Wind officials on Wednesday night to provide them at future meetings with information about the number of jobs that would be created. They also wanted to know whether the creation of a tax-increment financing district would cause the county as a whole to lose revenue.

First Wind, a Boston-based company, wants to develop the area’s wind resource and has been gathering wind data. There will be public meetings in Bingham toward the end of October, and county commissioners will next discuss the project at their meeting on Oct. 20.

At that time, they said they hope the economic picture of the project will be clearer. It is ultimately in the commissioner’s hands whether a tax increment financing (TIF) district is formed, which potentially would encompass $150 million of property in Mayfield Township, where the turbines are proposed. First Wind would like to install 32 turbines in Mayfield. Because it is an unorganized territory, a TIF district there would pool dollars from any increase in property value into a fund managed by the county, said Joan Fortin, a Bernstein Shur attorney for First Wind.

At that time, they said they hope the economic picture of the project will be clearer. It is ultimately in the commissioner’s hands whether a tax increment financing (TIF) district is formed, which potentially would encompass $150 million of property in Mayfield Township, where the turbines are proposed. First Wind would like to install 32 turbines in Mayfield. Because it is an unorganized territory, a TIF district there would pool dollars from any increase in property value into a fund managed by the county, said Joan Fortin, a Bernstein Shur attorney for First Wind.

The TIF money then could be used only for economic development projects in the county’s unorganized territories, Fortin said.

While details are subject to change, over a 20-year contract, the company would capture 70 percent of the money, and the county would get 30 percent, which could be used for development projects such as road work, a loan program or a salary for an economic development director.

The first year, the county would receive abouty $405,000 for economic development projects in the unorganized territories, Fortin said. A different TIF district would be created in Bingham, because it is a municipality.

Commissioner Gerald York asked how the TIF district in the unorganized territory would affect municipalities’ taxes. Officials said they would get the answer. Jack Flynn, of Bingham, spoke against the project, saying the TIF money was akin to a corporate bailout.

“American citizens are getting very sick of public officials providing enormous bailout and financial incentives to large, private, politically connected corporations,” he said.

“I can’t understand why we would be considering doing anything to benefit such a project,” added his wife, Margy Flynn.

First Wind Project Developer Alec Jarvis said he didn’t know whether the money from the district would be a make-or-break factor in deciding whether the project is carried out, but added, “Does it help the project? Definitely, yes, it does,” he said. If a TIF district is not established, the company pays regular – and higher – taxes to the state.

William Van Tuinen, of Madison, said he would support the project if he thought it would alleviate the high tax burden of Somerset County residents.

“What I’ve gleaned from other places is that a wind turbine system does not create a lot of employment opportunities. If it did, I probably would be cheering it on,” he said.

Commissioner Lynda Quinn said she would not support the creation of a TIF district because it gave her a bad feeling, “like I sold my soul.”

“I’m a great believer in capitalism and free growth, and I think if this wind project is as good as everyone thinks it is or says it is, it should stand alone,” she said.

Under a new amendment to state law, the wind project has to benefit the local area in some direct way, Fortin said. Taking into account each turbine constructed and each year of the contract, the company would pay a minimum of $4 million, which could go toward a community benefit agreement or to land conservation.

Source:  By Erin Rhoda, Staff Writer, Morning Sentinel, www.onlinesentinel.com 7 October 2010

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

Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding
Donate $5 PayPal Donate

Share:


News Watch Home

Get the Facts Follow Wind Watch on Twitter

Wind Watch on Facebook

Share

CONTACT DONATE PRIVACY ABOUT SEARCH
© National Wind Watch, Inc.
Use of copyrighted material adheres to Fair Use.
"Wind Watch" is a registered trademark.
Share

Wind Watch on Facebook

Follow Wind Watch on Twitter