Company, leaders mull wind turbines for local region; Firm considering Cass, Fulton, Miami and Kosciusko counties, official says
Wind turbines may be coming to Cass, Fulton, Kosciusko and Miami counties, according to a local official.
Cass County Commissioners President Jim Sailors said a company has expressed interest in raising the turbines throughout the four-county area. He said it was too early to disclose the name of the firm and did not know how many turbines it’s considering. The company is eyeing the northeastern part of Cass County for the project, he continued, adding lease agreements with landowners in that area have already been reached.
Sailors said he supports the idea for the financial impact he anticipates it would have.
“It broadens our tax base dramatically,” he said. “…These towers cost millions of dollars apiece, so if you’re taking taxes on things like that, just think what that does to your net assessed value and your tax base.”
Wind turbines also preserve farmground, Sailors added, explaining structures cannot be built too close to them.
There are 303 active wind turbines in neighboring White County that went up at least five years ago and plans are underway for 47 more, according to White County Commissioner Steve Burton.
One of the qualities Burton said he likes about wind turbines are their ability to increase assessed value without requiring a boost in tax-backed services.
“They’re self-supporting and don’t require a lot of attention,” he said.
Assessed value will continue to rise as the White County turbines’ tax abatements expire, he added.
Burton stressed every county is going to be different when it comes to producing wind energy, listing factors like population, topography and public sentiment.
“You got to go through the process and have your public input,” he said. “…It’s not for everybody, it’s just worked really well for us.”
White County’s sparse population of about 24,000 and keeping the turbines in the county’s agricultural southwest corner and away from cities and towns contribute to the endeavor’s success, Burton said.
Not every county looks at the concept favorably, Burton said, pointing to opposition toward wind turbines in neighboring Tipton County.
Officials there beefed up the county’s wind ordinance last year to make it harder for energy companies to pursue such developments after many residents came out against a wind farm proposal.
When White County’s wind turbines were in their beginning stages, Burton said officials looked to regulations on the topic drafted in Benton County, which was already hosting wind energy operations. Now, Burton said officials from other counties being considered for wind farms are looking to White County’s rules for the same reason.
“Every county can set their own ordinances or rules,” he said. “…There is no one ordinance that’s going to make everybody happy.”
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