Freedom – Town officials this week countered an abatement request from Beaver Ridge Wind with their own smaller offer, according to one selectman-assessor.
BRW owns the three-turbine, 4.5 MW wind farm here. The development was built in 2008 and originally valued at $9.7 million. The town’s appraisal fluctuated slightly in the second year but settled at $9.87 million and has remained there ever since.
In February, Beaver Ridge Wind asked the town for an abatement of 30 percent of the total value, based on six years of depreciation at a rate of 5 percent per year.
Selectmen on May 4 returned an offer of a 5-percent cut for the current year, according to selectman Ken Overlock. In Freedom selectmen also serve as assessors, sometimes with contracted professional help.
Overlock said the deal was proposed by Selectman Steve Bennett. Attempts to reach Bennett on Tuesday were unsuccessful, but Overlock pointed to several reasons why he believes the offer makes sense.
BRW never made an abatement request related to depreciation until this year, he said. He also noted that the energy generation from the wind farm has dropped by only around 5 percent since 2008. On this second point, he credited BRW with taking good care of the turbines.
“Their approach is, ‘What if we sell them?'” he said. “That’s not a concern of ours but we understand their concern and we’re trying to find a middle ground.”
The Republican Journal left a message May 5 for Todd Presson of Beaver Ridge Wind, but at press time had not received a response.
Overlock said the town has a good relationship with BRW – the company has given money to local projects and pays a significant amount in property taxes – but the large abatement left him feeling “blindsided,” he said.
BRW’s 2014 tax bill was $186,581. The requested abatement would cut that amount by $55,974. The selectmen’s offer would cut it by $9,329. Overlock said he hopes BRW will accept the smaller amount. If nothing else, he said, 30 percent is a lot to ask.
“It’s difficult, to say the least,” he said. “And really, where were they for the last six years?”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding