Heartland Area Land Owners (HALO), a member based organization that advocates on behalf of the rights of landowners to sign energy leases, has been following the potential wind energy project in North East Dawson County very closely, attending county planning commission meetings as well as the joint Board of Commissioners and Planning Commission meeting held on Tuesday evening.
HALO Nebraska State Director Barry Rubin had this reaction the day after the meeting.
Rubin says based on the projected megawatts of the project, state law dictates that Dawson would receive approximately $1million in direct tax benefits – with $550,000 of that going straight to Sumner-Eddville-Miller schools (about 15% of their budget) annually, and the rest going to both Overton and Lexington schools. He adds, that would provide property tax relief, especially those in the SEM school district.
The project in discussion plans for a 19 mile wind farm located south of Sumner and Eddyville, spanning from the Buffalo County line all the way west to Highway 21.
Opponents fear that, like many wind farms, this one would go through many owners, thus slowly dwindling the tax benefits to the schools and county. Rubin says the developer and operator of the wind farm are required by state law to pay those tax benefits each year.
Those in favor of the project say the push back from the board of commissioners and opponents goes against property owners’ right to development and growth.
As for the topic of the effect wind farms have on the environment, Rubin listed the ways it would benefit.
After Tuesday’s meeting, the Dawson County Planning Commission is working on a change of regulations to propose to the Board of Commissioners. The Planning Commissions next meeting will be held on Thursday, March 30th at the Dawson County Annex Building in Lexington to hold hearings on the changes and a chance for public comment.
For more information on Heartland Area Land Owners click here.