BEEVILLE – Coastal Bend College trustees again delayed approving a tax abatement agreement with a company wanting to build a wind farm near Tynan.
Pacific Wind Development has approached all the taxing entities asking for similar abatements.
College trustees, during their meeting Tuesday evening, voiced concern about the abatement.
Bernie Saenz, spokesman for the college, said that Pacific Wind Development was asking for a 100 percent abatement the first year and 60 percent for the following eight years.
Only about nine employees are expected to be employed at the location once construction is completed.
“How many of those employees are going to live in Bee County?” Laura Fischer, board president, asked during that meeting.
“They would either live in Bee, San Patricio or Nueces counties,” replied Jason Du Terroil, Avangrid business development director of Pacific Wind, a 100 percent owned subsidiary of Avangrid Renewables.
Fischer, after the meeting, said that all of CBC’s past abatement agreements stipulated employment for city or county residents.
“They were asking for a tax abatement but what is Bee County going to get out of it,” Saenz said.
The wind farm is planning to build 24 to 29 turbines situated both in Bee and San Patricio counties.
“At the meeting it was expressed that we understand we don’t want to be the lone party not in favor of it,” Saenz said. “We know it is going to help out the community.”
However, college trustees also were looking after the interests of the college.
“What are we getting out of the deal. That was the concern,” Saenz said.
“The dilemma is we know our neighbors are counting on it.”
Fischer also reminded others at the meeting, “If we don’t get them here, we aren’t going to get any money.
“You don’t want to send someone away that is going to pay tax dollars.
“The biggest problem is they aren’t bringing anything but the tax dollars.
“You have to weigh all of those things in this decision.”
At the request of Trustee Trace Morrill, the board was presented with figures that show, under the current abatement, the college would be losing out on $809,275 in taxes over the next 10 years.
College President Beatriz Espinoza is expected to meet with representatives again from the company to discuss the agreement.
During the board’s December meeting, the trustees were presented with this agreement but took no vote. Espinoza said that she needed additional time to review the contracts as she had just received the paperwork.
During their meeting Tuesday, she presented that revised agreement, which is again up for negotiation.
Saenz said the board’s goal is to create something similar to what was approved when an agreement was reached with Ranch Hand and Dan A. Hughes Company.
Pacific Wind Development is currently pursuing a total investment of approximately $363 million for a wind farm project. An estimated $75 million is projected to be invested in Bee County.
Many of the tax entities have already approved tax abatements, including Bee County.
For the county, this abatement will mean $1.6 million to $1.9 million over the next 10 years.
Likewise, school districts, including Skidmore-Tynan, also approved abatement agreements that will benefit them financially.
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