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Supervisors hold hearing regarding assessment of wind energy conversion property ordinance

INDEPENDENCE – On Monday, Sept. 22, Buchanan County Supervisors Ellen Gaffney, Ralph Kremer and Gary Gissel held a first hearing reviewing the first reading of a new ordinance regarding “Assessment of Wind Energy Conversion Property.” Present for the hearing was Kirk Kraft and Chris Fricke of RPM Access LLC, a small regional developer of utility grade wind generation projects in the Midwest.

According to the company profile, the company initiated its first set of wind projects in 2000, and to date has developed over 1,000 MW of operating wind generation projects in Iowa, accounting to approximately 18 percent of total installed wind capacity in Iowa. Currently, the company is the owner and operator of the 41 MW Elk Wind Farm in Delaware County, 36 MW Hawkeye Wind Farm in Fayette County, and 50 MW Rippey Wind Farm in Greene County. They continue to grow, and are now looking at the possibility of developing other wind farms around the Midwest, including Buchanan County.

Assessment of wind energy conversion property is already allowed in Iowa’s State Code, but must now be approved in each county, pursuant to Iowa Code Section 427B.26.

First the ordinance defines certain terms and words used in the ordinance: Net Acquisition Cost means “The acquired cost of the property, including all foundations and installation less any access cost adjustment; and Wind Energy Conversion Property is defined as “The entire wind plant, including, but not limited to, a wind charger, windmill, wind turbine, tower and electrical equipment, pad mount transformers, power lines and substation.”

As such, the Buchanan County Board of Supervisors is authorized to provide by ordinance for special valuation of wind energy conversion property as provided in Section 4 of the Iowa Code.

The new ordinance covers establishment, amount of valuation/special valuation, reporting requirements and more. Both RPM representatives were present to answer questions and to request adoption of the new ordinance, saying wind energy has the potential to contribute to the County’s tax base, and would be a significant economic development factor.

Motion passed to accept the first reading of the new ordinance, with a second reading set at an Oct. 6 public hearing, at 9:15 a.m.

Supervisors also met in regular session on Monday, Sept. 29, with another short agenda. Leasing of 86.5 acres of county-owned pasture was discussed. Bid letting for use of the property was set, with submitted bids set to opened on Oct. 14, at 10:15 a.m.

In other action:

Minutes from the Sept. 22 meeting and claims totaling $453.54 were approved.

The renewal of Henderson Event Center’s liquor license was approved.

A termination request from Lila Givens, dispatcher, effective Sept. 24, 2014, was approved.

A meeting with County Engineer Brian Keierleber requesting purchase of a new tandem axle truck resulted in Supervisors authorizing Keierleber and Supervisor Gary Gissel to make the final decision on the purchase. According to Keierleber, the Department is interested in a truck, available for purchase from Truck Country in Cedar Rapids, priced at $90,730.