BELLEFONTAINE – The Logan County portion of a proposed wind turbine project will be scrapped after county commissioners chose to reject a Payment in Lieu of Taxes plan.
The $350 million Scioto Ridge Wind Farm project proposed the building of 105 turbines, with 87 of those windmills planned in Hardin County. That part of the project will continue, but Hardin Wind, a subsidiary of EverPower Wind Holdings Inc. based in Pittsburgh, Pa., has chosen to forego the Logan County portion of the project due to the rejection.
“At this point, we can’t do it under the current structure without the PILOT plan,” said Jason Dagger, manager of the project. “We felt the benefit was pretty significant for the taxing jurisdictions, but we are looking forward to the Hardin County part of the project.”
Logan County commissioners did not want to comment on the issue, but were specific in spelling out their reasons in the resolution they passed Tuesday.
• A public meeting held May 17 with 150 people in attendance. Approximately 40 citizens spoke against the project with only the wind developer speaking in favor.
• Reviewing the application, different portions are incomplete or inadequate.
• The application does not list the number of temporary or permanent jobs created from the project or include the tax revenue created by the project.
The resolution stated that the commissioners were not convinced that the taxes abated would be exceeded by the benefit of gaining relatively few permanent employees.
Michael Shepherd of advocacy group Fight The Wind, which has worked in tandem with residents wishing to stop the project, said that they supported the commissioners’ decision.
“The residents were vocal about their opposition and they stayed the course,” Shepherd said. “We believe they responded appropriately and best represented the wishes of the residents with their decision.”
However, the commissioners also spelled out their disappointment with some reactions from the public who were in opposition of the project.
“The actions of a very few involved against the project have been rude, distasteful, offensive, hostile and at times completely repugnant,” the resolution reads. “Some have spread rumors that one or more of the commissioners has signed contracts for turbines or received financial benefits from the developer. Some have attempted to threaten or intimidate members of immediate family of the commissioners in an effort to frighten or bully the commissioners into a position. The actions of these few have only harmed the credibility and character of those opponents of the project.”
“We have worked for months with landowners, their neighbors, school and county officials, to put together a PILOT package that would maximize funding to the direct benefit of the county as a whole,” said EverPower Chief Development Officer Chris Spears. “We are disappointed that the Logan County Commissioners decided to reject the PILOT, which could have had a positive impact in the area, but we respect the decision and thank the county for their consideration.”
EverPower said the Hardin County project has a taxation rate of $9,000 per megawatt of electricity for the project. Electricity generated will be sold on the open market and is expected to power more than 50,000 homes annually. The company also estimated that the project will generate up to $37 million over the 25-year life of the project for Hardin County and the local school districts.
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