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August 9, 2013

Aug. 9, 2013: Letters to the editor

How will county’s needs be funded?

Perhaps the small percentage of Tipton County’s population who oppose economic growth in the county via the use of wind energy would explain to the rest of the Tipton County citizens where funds can be obtained to provide the money for the present crucial and necessary projects in our county.

Current needs for the county are as follows: a new jail, approximately $8 million; courthouse renovation, $3 million; road repairs and upgrades, $3 million, a ditch drainage project, $10 million.

Total funds presently needed: $24 million.

Below are the facts pertaining to the economic impact that the Tipton County portion of the Wildcat Wind Farm has had on our local economy, as well as its future benefits:

• Estimated property tax revenue (30-year total): $15.4 million.

• Estimated landowner lease payments: $22 million. Those payments will pump money into the local economy, helping all businesses, and landowners will invest in property, and pay more property taxes, which benefits the county.

• Road upgrades: These will save the county between $4 million and $8 million.

• Economic Development Fund: $1.2 million.

• Local spending for the first phase of the Wildcat project: 315,000 man-hours and and more than $33 million on labor, materials, supplies and subcontractors as of April 2013. Eighty percent of the hires are local. The local hires spend their earnings with local businesses, which helps our overall local economy.

The total direct economic benefit to Tipton County through this project is between $42 million and $48 million.

The huge investment in this project has increased the tax base, resulting in potentially lower tax rates and/or more revenue (especially in school capital funds.) A teacher who is employed by Frontier School in White County, Ind., has said that due to the economic benefits of the wind project, the school now has more than enough funds to fulfill the district’s needs for its students.

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