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Definition of a bribe: money or favor given or promised in order to influence the judgement or conduct of a person in a position of trust.
Scout Clean Energy/Bitter Ridge Wind Farm has offered our Jay County officials $1.5 million in economic development funds, in exchange for a 10-year tax abatement. The tax abatement means that Scout Energy would be exempt from paying Jay County roughly $5 million in taxes. In simple terms – If the council accepts the $1.5, the county will then be losing out on over $3 million in tax revenue.
Funding for our schools, parks and revitalization of Redkey certainly appears to be a generous offer. Scout Clean Energy is recommending how the funds are allocated. Why do the officials of Jay County want someone else to tell us how to spend our money? Is the rewording of the new proposal just another attempt to make the offer sound more enticing (to convince the citizens to “get on board?”) This money is only a temporary Band-Aid solution to try and “fix” the continuous, mounting problems that our county is facing.
At the tax abatement advisory committee meeting, some committee members said that their decision to suggest approval of a tax abatement is all about “the money.”
Yes, $1.56 million sounds like a lot of money. That payment would actually be split into four yearly payments of $390,000. But, to give a better perspective – the county’s operating budget for this year is about $16.4 million. And, as I stated previously, Jay County will be losing out on $3 million in tax revenue, if they accept the $1.5 million in funding. It just doesn’t add up.
People are moving out of Jay County. Our schools are getting less government funding because our school-aged population is decreasing. Another wind farm will not be the golden ticket that changes that fact.
Several of the landowners that are leasing their land to Scout do not even live in Jay County, while still others are close to retirement age. I find it hard to believe that their decision to sign the contract was motivated by their concern about Jay County’s future generations.
When money is the main motivating factor in decision making, the decision will not be in the best interest of the people.
On Sept. 12 at 6 p.m. there will be a public hearing to determine whether or not Scout Clean Energy is granted a tax abatement. This meeting is an opportunity for concerned citizens to speak up and defend the future of our community.
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