BAD AXE – A report on Tuesday that estimated more than $9 million in gain from wind turbine tax revenue in Huron County for 2014 was an eye-opener for some.
Of that $9 million, the county will receive about $2.5 million. Townships have seen a $2.4 million boost. And area schools gained about $1.9 million – all from turbine revenue last year, according to the report prepared by the county’s director of the Equalization Department, Walt Schlichting.
County Commissioner John Bodis said he had asked Schlichting to calculate a turbine tax revenue to answer the many people questioning how much money turbines generate. Bodis said it was the first time such a report has been generated.
“I never had any facts and figures to present,” Bodis said.
Schlichting said the revenues include ad valorem – the “full payment,” based on a turbine’s value – and what the county receives from industrial facilities tax exemptions, which he said pay at 50 percent.
“Some of these numbers seem rather high, however there’s been an awful lot of projects that we’ve completed in the county,” Bodis said.
Bodis attributed new equipment and cars at the sheriff’s department, the county’s ability to make long-term liability payments and renovations to the Veteran’s Clinic and courtrooms to revenue from turbines.
“It goes on and on,” he said. “I’ve seen stuff that we’ve been able to fix, repair, (and) replace that hadn’t been done in years.”
But, realizing that things change, Bodis said the figures are a snapshot of 2014 and that turbine values depreciate, thus bringing less in tax revenue each year.
“But looking at this specifically … there’s another side to this and it should be heard,” Bodis said.
“There certainly is a positive side to wind turbines,” Commissioner John Nugent said.
Bodis said the figures haven’t been discussed or brought up before to the board.
“I think it’s very important that we have the transparency and let people know that there is revenue being generated by the turbines,” he said.
Taxing turbines also has benefitted other pillars in the county, according to the report. Huron Intermediate School District got about $1.7 million, area libraries about $261,000 and the city of Bad Axe about $4,700.
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