Monday’s Commissioner Court meeting was one of the rare occasions when additional seating had to be brought in to accommodate the additional guests. Though it was a short agenda, the reason for the crowd became obvious when they reached discussion of possibly passing a proclamation opposing a wind farm in Mason County.
Judge Jerry Bearden opened up the floor to the guests and allowed them to share their positions with members of the Court.
John Olson, who had provided the draft proclamation to the Court at their prior meeting, spoke briefly to reiterate his opposition to having wind turbines as his direct neighbors in the Ranch Branch area.
Drew Tallent explained the possible tax benefits such as other communities like Sterling City had experienced with the wind farms. He noted that his wife, Laura, had the largest tract of land involved in the possible wind farm; but, stated that the two of them would not consider any project that did not provide benefit to the county and its residents.
Lee McMillan explained that he had a rather straightforward objection to the wind farm, and it related to their need to receive tax abatement from the county and school district in order to move ahead with their project. He noted that he has built a number of businesses over the year, and none of them ever got such favorable tax situations. As a taxpayer, he was opposed to providing that special consideration to the wind farms.
Mason I.S.D. Superintendent, Pam Kruse, told the Court that she, along with one of her trustees, had met with the Entel Energy representative. He had intimated that tax relief from the school district was a key component for the project to be viable; but, the school board has not yet made their decision on that matter.
When public comment ended, the Commissioners turned their attention back to the proposed resolution. Mr. Tallent asked the Court to consider rephrasing some of the language to make it less “hostile” to an entire industry, and to avoid extending Mason County’s position on the issue over to neighboring counties.
Judge Bearden and County Attorney Rebekah Whitworth agreed that the resolution needed to have some “tweaking” done prior to consideration by the Court. They will review the resolution at their first May meeting.
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