MURRAY COUNTY, Okla. (KTEN) – When the wind turbines you see along Interstate 35 were first installed, they received five years of tax exemptions.
That time is now up.
However, when it comes time to pay, there’s a disagreement between the county and the wind farms.
“They feel like their value that we have for their wind farm is higher than what they feel like it should be valued,” said Murray County Assessor Scott Kirby.
The money in question is frozen in an account, so Davis schools and hundreds of other campuses around the state are feeling the effects.
“We are getting less local dollars, but the state still sees that they’re paying us, so we still get cut on the state side as well,” explained Davis Public Schools superintendent Mark Moring. “So we are getting cut on both sides of the funding formula.”
The grand total is nearly $800,000 that the wind farm companies have declined to pay.
“We are expecting the same protest this next June, which will double that to $1.5 or $1.6 million in an escrow account that we can’t touch,” Moring said.
Since the wind farms and the county can’t agree, it becomes a legal battle. But in Murray County, they’re waiting to pursue that avenue.
“We’ve kind of agreed to have our court cases put on hold until the court cases that are ongoing and further along in other counties are settled,” Kirby said. “Once those cases are settled, it should set a precedent.”
Until there’s a decision, area schools are hoping local legislators can help.
“I’d like to see some type of a fund where schools can draw out of that fund what they are missing,” Moring said. ”And then once the protest gets settled, that protest money can go back into the fund; kind of a revolving door.”
In the meantime, Davis schools are using COVID relief funds to stay afloat. But they may have to suffer minor cuts to their resources until they get more of the money they had been budgeting for.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding