The battle over future wind farms potentially littering Jack County continues – as a county commissioner even resigns hours before today’s meeting.
“It absolutely sickens me that we have to be threatened in this manner, we should act accordingly as fellow citizens and residents of Jack County,” Jack County Judge Keith Umphress said.
Precinct two commissioner James Brock handed in his letter of immediate resignation to Judge Umphress an hour before the public forum on the morning of April 26th.
“I received a threat on April 25th, 2021, that I took as a direct threat for my life, according to how I vote on the windmills,” Judge Umphress read from a letter by commissioner Brock.
Judge Umphress, along with many on both sides, condemned these acts before moving on with the meeting.
A meeting that stayed peaceful as residents and land owners were able to freely express their views.
“So what? We want to become known for having the most windmills in a county? Is that what we’re after? Is there not any other options?” a landowner opposed said.
“Everybody who has kids in school, who uses the hospital, who has their property taxes reduced, benefits from that,” a supporter said.
People already on board, point to the economic impacts beyond the turbines and how it could help Jack County schools, hospitals, and overall economy.
“Those people will come to a superior education system, which is what EDF is offering us,” another supporter of wind turbines said.
But some don’t feel like it does benefit the future generations, they expect this to negatively affect land value well beyond them.
“We’re trying to build something for our kids, let it turn out to be because of money, I think that’s described as greed,” another opposed landowner said. “I’d hate to see this generation give up something for greed, and cost our children down the road.”
After many personal testimonies on both sides, commissioners discussed and considered the topic of the day: adopting a resolution prohibiting wind farm industrial plant tax abatements throughout the county.
Precinct one Commissioner Gary Oliver did make a motion to vote on the resolution, but it died after a lack of a second.
Leaving many who oppose wondering, why leave the door open for tax breaks?
“If they’re coming anyway. Why give them more? They can pay taxes just like we do,” one opposed said.
While others look forward for what’s to come.
“At the end of the day, this is going to allow us to pass it down to the next generation, and that’s critical for our family, cause we want to keep it in the family,” another supporter said.
Some Jack County landowners have been contacted by or even signed contracts already with Apex Clean Energy, Inc. and French company, EDF group.
Now Judge Umphress did say he has not received any applications from anyone for a wind industrial complex tax abatement.
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