Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

February 14, 2013

Adviser: Taxes would fall with turbines

Schools wouldn’t get additional operating money

Tipton — Tipton County property owners in two townships are likely to see a drop in their property tax bills, due to the proposed Prairie Breeze Wind Farm, but the impact on Tri-Central schools is far less certain, according to records released by the county Wednesday.

Projections calculated by Carmel-based consultants H.J. Umbaugh show property tax rates could fall by about 16 percent by 2026 in Prairie and Liberty townships, if the Prairie Breeze developers install the largest of the three turbine systems they’ve discussed.

That impact translates into annual savings of about $99 for the owner of a home valued at $113,500, according to the report.

The project application, filed in advance of a key Feb. 25 meeting of the Tipton County Board of Zoning Appeals, indicates developer juwi Wind Energy will try to build a 150 megawatt wind farm, with 77 turbines in Prairie Township and 17 turbines in Liberty Township.

That size of wind farm would add millions to the county’s tax base, effectively relieving some of the burden on other taxpayers.

Apart from specific cash payments to the county, however, the wind farm wouldn’t increase the amount of operating revenue for either the county or Tri-Central schools.

State restrictions on the growth of tax levies would continue to limit the amount of revenue the county could bring in each year.

The property taxes paid by the wind farm would therefore go toward lowering the tax rates in Prairie and Liberty townships.

And at Tri-Central, the schools would receive more money for the capital projects fund, which can be used for maintenance, technology and utility payments, Interim Superintendent Bob Boyd said Thursday.

Between 2016 and 2026, the schools would receive a total of about $906,000 — or an extra $163,000 a year — for the capital projects fund. That extra funding would continue to go to the schools throughout the life span of the wind farm.

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