The amended agreement also provides an extension on the project’s tax abatement. The company asked for the extension, because a clause in the original abatement stated the company had to begin construction by the end of 2013.
Whether the abatement is still in place is a matter of great debate in Marion, with members of the council saying no, E.ON officials and the commissioners saying yes, and the council’s attorney calling it a gray area.
The commissioners obviously see the new deal as an improvement over the first agreement they signed with E.ON, since it includes greater setback requirements.
If the council doesn’t approve it, E.ON has suggested it could move forward under the previous agreement.
There are massive similarities between Grant County’s dilemma and Howard County’s, including efforts to try to appease wind opponents by brokering a new deal with E.ON. Howard County’s new deal, signed last year, even includes another $500,000 for the county, along with bigger setbacks.
Whether any of this will be enough to satisfy opponents is another matter.
And over both counties, the possibility E.ON officials simply walk into the plan commission, pay a fee and submit plans, hangs over everything.
With wind opponents coming to every meeting, Grant County’s council members have yet to take a vote on the new deal, which has been in their laps since December.
Pressure, it seems, doesn’t pay much attention to county lines either.