The Recorder’s June 20 article on Monroe’s recent “windfall” would lead one to think that having a utility-scale wind project is totally positive for towns.
I would strongly recommend that any small town contemplating hosting wind projects as a solution to their financial woes also consider purely local costs associated with such “windfalls.”
Legal expenses, fire protection costs and highway maintenance will rise.
State aid for schools is based in part by a town’s ability to pay for its schools. An increase in valuation from such projects will result in a reduction in this aid.
According to your article, Monroe has negotiated a fixed “Payment in Lieu of Taxes” agreement. They will experience a steady decrease in the purchasing power of these payments over time due to inflation.
At the end of the initial PILOT agreement, the value of the project will have fallen dramatically as the machines will be approaching the end of their serviceable life and will no longer qualify for the Production Tax Credit. Future payments will drop significantly but the local impacts will remain.
Loss of property value of nearby homes will significantly affect some local residents and eventually lead to reduced tax revenues for the town.
New home development and improvements on nearby property will diminish in future years as property owners and banks question the ability of such investments to be recovered if properties prove to be difficult to sell. These new “dead zones” will stall growth in the tax base as local expenses rise.
And lastly, significant costs arise if residents suffer from loss of sleep and associated health impacts as is currently happening in several Massachusetts towns that have large wind turbines.
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