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County OKs more money for wind park tax change challenge

The Mason County Board of Commissioners approved spending more money on a multi-county legal challenge against the Michigan State Tax Commission Tuesday night, and also approved seeking more time to use state grant funding for improvements at the Mason County Fairgrounds.

Tax challenge

Mason County is one of five counties involved in a challenge of the Michigan Tax Commission over a tax commission decision that cuts tax revenue on wind turbines by 27 percent.

Mason County Administrator Fabian Knizacky has said the county agreed to spend $20,000 to support the lawsuit.

On Tuesday, the county board approved spending another $7,725 toward a wind energy appraisal study related to that legal challenge.

Tuesday’s vote was 6-1 with commissioners Chuck Lange, Bill Carpenter, Joseph Lenius, Curt VanderWall, Janet Andersen and Tom Posma voting yes and Mary Nichols voting no.

Before the vote, Nichols noted that the proposal language stated that Mason County’s share of the appraisal study is $7,725 for phase one of that study and she asked Knizacky how many phases there would be.

Knizacky said he didn’t know, but said there could be more than one.

Nichols also asked if Knizacky has approached the townships affected by the wind turbine tax decision – Riverton and Summit – if they would help pay the costs of the lawsuit.

Knizacky said the board of commissioners has not taken action to direct him to seek money from the townships.

Nichols and Commissioner Tom Posma said the board’s Finance, Personnel and Rules Committee has discussed the issue, but did not make a recommendation to the full board.

Posma said the committee can bring the issue back for more discussion.

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