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Wind farm talks to continue at Era ISD

Possible action relating to Wildcat Creek Wind Farm LLC is on the agenda for the Era Independent School District Board of Trustees on Monday, Aug. 19.

Superintendent Jeremy Thompson said board members are to consider at the Monday meeting applying for a 313 agreement with Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar’s Office for the wind farm.

According to the meeting’s agenda, if the board takes action to accept the wind farm’s application for the 313 agreement, that would allow Thompson to review the application for completeness and submit it to Hegar’s Office.

A 313 tax abatement is a 10-year limitation on the taxable property value for school district maintenance and operations tax purposes, according to previous Register reports.

In addition, board members are to discuss and possibly retain consultants to assist the district in processing the wind farm’s application for appraised value limitation on qualified property, according to the meeting’s agenda.

The 6 p.m. meeting might be moved from the district’s boardroom to inside the adjacent gym to accommodate larger crowds, Thompson said.

Cooke County Commissioners’ Court

Discussion on the proposed wind farm by Houston-based EDP Renewables began when company representatives requested the creation of a reinvestment zone on about 43,500 acres in southeastern Cooke County.

EDP Renewables is a global renewable energy company that entered the U.S. market in 2007, according to the company’s website.

On Monday, April 8, EDP Renewables Project Manager Josh Coon and Director of Development Rorik Peterson spoke to members of the Cooke County Commissioners’ Court about the wind farm project before commissioners voted on creating a tax abatement reinvestment zone.

Officials said the proposed wind farm would be a 180-megawatt facility with about 50 turbines spread out on 20,000 acres, according to meeting minutes provided by the county.

Precinct 3 Commissioner John Klement addressed a conflict of interest question regarding his relationship with landowners during the April 8 meeting.

According to the meeting minutes, Klement said he would recuse himself from voting on a tax abatement. However, he was able to vote on the creation of the reinvestment zone since there was no money benefit.

All members of the court were present and all five men did agree to allow for the creation of the reinvestment zone.

The creation of the reinvestment zone allows taxing entities to begin tax abatement talks.

On Monday, June 24, all five members of the Cooke County Commissioners’ Court agreed to receive and file a conflict of interest statement from Klement in connection with the wind farm.

Klement told members of the court that his mother and two brothers are property owners in the area and he will be abstaining should a tax abatement vote come before the court, according to meeting minutes provided by the county.

Besides the designation of the reinvestment zone, “commissioners’ court has taken no other action and, as of yet, Wildcat Wind Farm has not requested a vote on a potential tax abatement,” Cooke County Judge Jason Brinkley said Friday, Aug 16.

Muenster ISD

Muenster Independent School District Superintendent Steven Self said members of his district’s school board agreed to allow for a 313 application to be sent to Hegar’s office for review on Wednesday, June 12.

All board members were present for the vote, he said.

“They did not approve to go with them yet, it’s just to send the application and get the process going,” Self said.

Muenster Hospital District

On Wednesday, June 26, members of the Muenster Hospital District Board of Directors voted against granting a tax abatement to EDP Renewables, the renewable energy company behind Wildcat Creek Wind Farm.

Cindy Bowles, Daniel Klement, Karen Sampson, Nancy Endres and Phil Walterscheid spoke during public comments, according to meeting minutes obtained from Muenster Memorial Hospital spokeswoman Gayla Blanton. All with the exception of Klement were against the abatement being granted.

Muenster Memorial Hospital Chief Executive Officer Brian Roland told board members he had received seven communications, all of which were against the abatement.

After a brief meeting in closed session, board members reconvened and voted against the abatement request via a 4-0 vote, according to the meeting minutes.

Board members Aaron Hess, Jon Reed and T.J. Walterscheid were absent.

Gainesville Hospital District

More recently, members of the Gainesville Hospital District Board of Directors heard a presentation from EDP Renewables representatives during their meeting on Monday, July 22.

There was an action item on the hospital board’s agenda to consider and approve a tax abatement for Wildcat Creek Wind Farm LLC. However, members of the board agreed to table the item since EDP Renewables had not yet applied for an abatement from GHD.

*Note, this story has been edited to reflect the correct meeting information for the Gainesville Hospital District.