Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

May 12, 2013

Letters to the Editor: May 12, 2013

Wind farms are our best opportunity

 How fortunate, that after years of trying to bring top-notch wind energy companies to Tipton County, this great choice is here for us — just at the right time. Tipton County badly needs the revenue from clean wind farm companies.

Millions of dollars for flood control of Big Cicero Creek will be needed to clean, widen, deepen and reconstruct the Big Cicero. Tipton County landowners took a big hit the last time the Big Cicero was reconstructed. This time, we can have the wind farms’ help if the Tipton County Plan Commission votes to make it possible.

Wind farm revenue will help lower the property and real estate taxes to be paid by the citizens.

Each 100 megawatt wind farm generates average annual property tax payments of $500,000 to $1 million (even with an abatement). This $500,000 to $1 million is money that the landowners of Tipton County do not have to pay.

The Wildcat Wind Farm has spent over $30 million locally, including $18 million in local wages. Wildcat Wind Farm No. 1 will pay local school districts approximately $5 million to $8 million in tax revenue over the next 15 years.

Our county commissioners are dedicated people who work tirelessly for the good of the county. Their families and other county board members have worked for generations to make Tipton County what it is. They need our support and gratitude.

But the plan commission and BZA hold the key to wind farms and how our county and its tax base will survive.

The financial needs of Tipton County are now great.

Let us encourage the wind farm companies to come and harvest the winds over Tipton County. We need to help them succeed in producing clean electricity. This clean, renewable form of energy will help Indiana now and for 30 more years down the road.

As the EPA forces more of our coal-fired electric generating plants on the Ohio River to shut down, we must have this alternative source for clean electricity.

 Judy McKinney, Tipton


Single home sale is not a good example

Recently, a homeowner in Tipton County sold his house for what appeared to be a fair price.

For some reason, the Kokomo Tribune has interpreted this to mean that wind farms will not cause a loss of property value, judging by the subhead of an article published on May 8.

What the article fails to mention is that this home is located almost 10 miles from an existing wind farm.

Independent research shows that homes within a 2-mile radius of a wind farm will lose approximately 25 percent in value. Homes closer to a wind farm decrease in value even more.

This home is not within that radius.

Although the home is within the footprint of the proposed Prairie Breeze Wind Farm, the fact that it doesn’t appear to lose value in the sale could be because of a number of reasons.

First, the Prairie Breeze Wind Farm has yet to move forward. Although juwi Wind originally planned to have its application for a conditional use permit approved by the Tipton County Board of Zoning Appeals in February, that date was moved to March. When it received its approval, new conditions were placed on it, including a 1,500-foot setback from property lines and a property value guarantee. Although juwi Wind could be moving forward digging foundations and burying power cables at this time, it is not.

In addition, the article also fails to mention that the home was purchased two years ago at below market value. The owner went on to make improvements. No one has seemed to consider how much a similar home outside of a potential wind farm would be valued.

The seller has said he is breaking even on the sale of a home he bought below market value. How does that mean there has been no impact on property values?

Any time a home is now sold in Tipton County, it does not mean the wind farm has had no impact.

Even if a home should sell for its market value, it could be for a number of reasons.

For example, the buyer may feel that an organized group consisting of hundreds of people will be successful in preventing wind companies from building nearby.

The buyer may not be aware of the negative effects of wind turbines.

Or, the purchaser may be a wind farm supporter.

The sale of one home 10 miles from an existing wind farm at a price where the owner is just “breaking even” after buying it below market value is hardly cause to question the effect of wind farms on the property value of homes in close proximity.

What this does say is that one family is so concerned about the possibility of a wind farm and its effect on their autistic child that they are willing to give up a beautiful home in a lovely rural setting.

It also says that if wind farms truly have no effect of property values, juwi Wind should have no problem giving homeowners in the proposed Prairie Breeze area a property value guarantee. If this one single home is to be the standard, it will end up not costing the wind company anything.

Tipton County Citizens for Responsible Development