DODGE CITY – Starting next year, Ford County will receive at least $250,000 annually from the company developing a wind farm near Spearville.
The Ford County Commission approved on Thursday a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement with enXco, which is developing the Spearville 3 wind farm. The agreement calls for enXco to pay the county $253,459 in 2013 and increase the amount each year, ending with a $614,341 payment in 2042.
The payments will continue if the wind farm is still operating after Jan. 1, 2043, with an increase of 3.1 percent each year.
EnXco is building a 100-megawatt wind farm, which will include 63 wind turbine generators, an electric transmission substation and other buildings. The company expects to have the project up and running by Dec. 31, with final construction finished in early 2013.
Kansas law exempts all renewable-energy projects, including wind farms, from state property taxes. That could hurt the budgets of local taxing entities, including counties.
But in some cases, like this one, wind farm developers agree to make payments of lieu of taxes or cash donations to local taxing entities to offset the loss of revenue.
Commissioner Kim Goodnight said officials were excited that enXco is moving forward with Spearville 3.
“We’re looking forward to being a partner with you in this,” he said.
The USD 443 Board of Education approved a donation/gift agreement with enXco earlier this week, and the USD 381 Board of Education is expected to take up the issue on Monday.
In a related development, the commission approved road maintenance and decommissioning agreements with enXco.
Under the road maintenance agreement, enXco will earmark $50,000 for a special fund. That money will be used to reimburse the county, Grandview Township and Spearville Township for road repairs related to construction of Spearville 3.
Once the wind farm is up and running, the money in the fund will be released to enXco.
The decommissioning agreement spells out procedures for removing individual turbines – or the wind farm as a whole – from service.
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