The supporters of the industrial wind turbines in Tipton County claim one reason they are leasing their land is so Tri-Central will receive much-needed money. They keep insisting these giant industrial wind turbines are good for the community. They even have a sign stating, “Wanted: $300 Million Investment.”
I researched data about Tri-Central on the Department of Education web site. What I discovered is Tri-Central has had a steady decline in student population starting in 2007-2008 to 2011-2012. The count has gone from 1,036 to 879, a 15 percent decrease. Tipton schools also showed the same steady decline in enrollment during the same time period, going from 1,851 students to 1,694, an 8 percent decrease.
I thought perhaps these declines were due to the recession, so I reviewed the data on Howard County schools. I was surprised to see these schools do not reflect the same steady decline in these years. So what is going on with Tipton County schools?
Reviewing the draft of Tipton County Comprehensive Plan, it is stated that the decrease in youth and school-age children is a pressing concern. The county is in a population decline, with the majority aging, and is expected to have an 8 percent decrease by 2025. It states the county needs to promote economic development that would attract young families. The hope is that the 850 jobs created at the new Chrysler plant will create a demand for new housing. The county wants to encourage local job growth in order for population to increase.
Strategy No. 4 of the county plan looks at attracting and retaining families in Tipton County. My question is, how are we going to attract new families if 80 percent of it is covered with 490-foot tall industrial wind turbines? The declining population means there will be less state local income tax to be collected for the county. The fewer children in the schools, less money will be received from the state.
The little money received from juwi for Tri-Central will not save the school. Even the investment from having the wind turbines will not save the county. It takes people for growth and when the tax subsidies run out, which they will, Tipton will be left with weeds growing around the turbines and an ever more dwindling population made worse by the blight of these industrial giants.
The comprehensive plan had a resident questionnaire, and of the respondents, 44 percent stated that the quality of life in the county today was thought to be worse than it was 10 years ago. Imagine what that percentage will be if the wind turbines are erected.
Pat Slusher, Kempton
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