Hale Community Energy, LLC. took the first steps in acquiring tax abatements for the remainder of their 122,312-acre wind farm project Friday when the project’s representatives requested a public hearing to be held by Hale County Commissioners.
The public hearings will deal with the establishment of reinvestment zones for the purpose of possible tax abatements for the Hale Community Energy group.
Back in November 2014, Hale County Commissioners approved tax abatements for a portion of the Hale Community Energy, LLC. project, also known as community reinvestment zone No.5. Now, the Hale Community Energy group is attempting to establish tax abatements for the remainder of their project, community reinvestment zones No. 7, No. 8 and No.9.
The project, which is made up of 349 land owners, spans from east of Interstate 27 to north of Farm-to-Market 54.
Legal representative for Hale Community Energy, Lanny Voss, said the request for tax abatement will be exactly the same as what commissioners approved back in November.
A tax abatement holds the payment of taxes to an entity until the project is fully operational.
“No one can build these wind energy projects without tax abatements,” Voss said. “There is just an enormous amount of capital involved.”
The approved tax abatement in November 2014 calls for payments in lieu of taxes during the first five years of the tax abatement period at $1,000 per nameplate megawatt capacity each year, and payments of $1,250 per nameplate megawatt capacity during the next five years. The economic incentive for Hale Community Energy during the 10-year abatement period is the abatement of substantial property taxes that would otherwise be due on the wind farm turbines and other structures once they are operational.
Hale Community Energy will face potential payments of up to $300,000 annually during the first five years of the agreement if it reaches its full 300-megawatt production capacity. That could climb to $375,000 annually in years six through 10 if the same production target is reached.
Voss told commissioners that Hale Community Energy, LLC was attempting to ensure all tax abatements as they move toward a new influx of growth.
“Hale Community Energy at this point is on the brink of being able to enter an agreement with one of the major power owner/operator companies in the nation. And conditions of that agreement will be securing tax abatements from school districts and Hale County,” Voss said.
Abernathy ISD has already approved its version of tax abatements for the wind farm, and Hale Center ISD and Plainview ISD will vote on the issue next week.
Voss did not say the name of the major company Hale Community Energy is trying to partner with.
During the commissioners’ work session, Voss requested that they set the date for a public hearing about establishing reinvestment zones, which will be followed by creating tax abatements. Commissioners will vote on the matter Monday during their regular session.
Also on Monday, commissioners will continue their budget workshops and discuss the following:
–Allow the County Judge Bill Coleman to sign the R-12 Service Agreement Renewal Notice between Appiss and Hale County for the maintenance contract for the VINE program in the amount of $16,500.36.
–Consider the renewal of Indigent Healthcare Solution MOU for Indigent Health software.
–Hear the annual report from the Olton Volunteer Ambulance Association and approve their annual stipend of $3,000.
They also will discuss placing a water line in a county road per request.
Also on Friday, Hale Tax Assessor-Collector Roland Nash said he had mailed out more than $23,000 in invoices to collect back-owed local liquor permit fees. It was discovered last month that Nash had not collected the fees.
Nash said he also attached a letter of apology, taking full responsibility for the oversight. He said the response has been positive.
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