BAD AXE – The Huron County board of commissioners unanimously agreed to send a letter to DTE Energy regarding a taxation issue on wind turbines commissioners have not received an answer to yet.
The letter is in regard the transfer of ownership of the Big Turtle Wind Farm, mentioning how a few months ago when it was brought before the commissioners, they denied the motion twice because DTE did not address how the turbines would be taxed.
The commissioners inquired about this taxation issue because at the beginning of 2020, DTE appealed the tax assessments of 193 wind turbines in Huron County. All the townships except Sebewaing utilize the aggregate expenditure multiplier table to calculate taxable values for 2016 through 2019. DTE, meanwhile, bases its taxable value on the State Tax Commission multiplier for the four years being appealed.
“If DTE prevails in its appeals,” the letter reads, “Huron County would suffer a loss of substantial tax revenue between operating tax and ballot approved millages. The loss would be much greater for future tax years until the 30% minimum multiplier value is reached.”
Huron County has also spent time and money defending itself as DTE makes its appeals.
“So, though it is a tax issue, it is also an issue about the expenditure of legal fees fighting those tax issues,” the letter reads. “More importantly, it is also a zoning issue since DTE wants the county’s approval under its zoning ordinance. Under the zoning ordinance, the board of commissioners has a duty to make decisions that are in the best interest for the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of Huron County. It is not in the best interest of the citizens of the county to spend substantial sums of money fighting DTE on tax appeals.”
The letter ends with the commissioners wanting to know if DTE is going to accept the taxation that Big Turtle Wind Farm has earned since it commenced operation in 2013.
Also during their meeting, the commissioners approved a services extension for the Michigan State University Extension for 2021.
The agreement will cost the county $80,376. The extension will continue to provide programs to county residents such as MSUE institutes, educators, and program staff, and a 4-H program as the county provides an annual assessment, an office and meeting space for the extension, and clerical support staff.
A new building to house the extension is in the works, due to the neighboring veterans affairs clinic expanding. The extension staff are working in trailers near their former office space in the meantime.
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