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Wind farm asks for an extra $125M  

Credit:  by Elise Kaplan / Mountain View Telegraph | May 1, 2014 | www.mvtelegraph.com ~~

As construction of the El Cabo wind farm northeast of Willard moves forward, unexpected costs have popped up, causing Iberdrola Renewables to ask Torrance County to increase the authorization of Industrial Revenue Bonds by $125 million.

As construction of the El Cabo wind farm northeast of Willard moves forward, unexpected costs have popped up, causing Iberdrola Renewables to ask Torrance County to increase the authorization of Industrial Revenue Bonds by $125 million.

Daniel Alsup, an attorney representing the company, visited the County Commission meeting April 23 with the request for the increase from $450 million to $575 million.

Industrial Revenue Bonds are a tool used by governmental entities to support economic development within their territory. All of the money from the bond comes directly from the project in question, but provides a way for the business to avoid paying property taxes – although El Cabo Wind LLC is compensating the Estancia and Vaughn municipal school districts and the county with a payment in lieu of taxes. The bond increase will have no effect on resident taxes.

Despite the increase in the bond, the county will not increase the money it receives as payment in lieu of taxes.

Alsup said that, as El Cabo Wind – owned by Iberdrola Renewables based in Portland – began looking into acquiring equipment, it proved more expensive than initially anticipated. He added the company plans to start acquiring equipment by the end of the year.

Also at the meeting:

Following a presentation by Valerie Hermanson, a regional planner from the Mid-Region Council of Governments, the commission decided to purchase 12 signs for the Salt Missions Scenic Byway using funds from the wind farm payments in lieu of taxes and the infrastructure tax.

The commission discussed the appointment of three community members to the Estancia Valley Solid Waste Authority Board. Applicants should submit a letter of interest to the county manager’s office by noon on May 12 and attend the commission meeting May 14 for an interview.

The commission held a budget workshop with Torrance County comptroller Tracy Sedillo April 29 to discuss funding priorities for Fiscal Year 2015.

Under commissioner Lonnie Freyburger’s suggestion, the commission decided to further research raises for elected officials, funding to hire additional staff – particularly in the Sheriff and Fire Departments – and raises for county employees. After number-based scenarios have been calculated, the commission will move forward with budget discussions.

County manager Joy Ansley said the New Mexico State Legislature mandates raises for elected officials at the time they take office, but the counties can determine what percentage of the maximum they want to spend. Right now, elected officials in Torrance County receive a little over 90 percent of the maximum salary.

Sedillo reported a $770,000 shortfall in the jail fund due to three recent medical bills for Torrance County residents in the Torrance County Detention Center.

Source:  by Elise Kaplan / Mountain View Telegraph | May 1, 2014 | www.mvtelegraph.com

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

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