Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Breaking News

Opinion

December 13, 2012

Williford: What will wind farm do for Tri-Central?

It may stave off consolidation discussion

The possibility of a second wind farm within the boundaries of the Tri-Central school district has become a somewhat controversial issue that has emotional overtones for many residents and taxpayers. The purpose of this letter is not to appeal to emotions but to point out a few objective elements of importance to the Tri-Central Community Schools, in particular, and to the Tipton County community in general.

The bottom line is that if the tax base does not grow and student population continues to decline, Tri-Central Schools will face a serious financial dilemma, and solutions such as school consolidation become forced and  pose a threat to what we know to be a “Small School with BIG Results.”

The project has an immediate, positive impact on the district’s assessed valuation (AV), which is the basis on which tax rates and most revenues for the school district are determined. The overall increase in the AV for Liberty and Prairie townships could range from $100 million to $300 million, depending upon the scope of the project. If a 10-year tax abatement is approved, the result will be a gradual lowering of property taxes. Who doesn’t want property taxes to go down?

Some would argue the reduction in property taxes for the average homeowner is relatively small, but keep in mind the bulk of property taxes is paid by local businesses that are trying to reduce expenses as other operational costs rise.

As Tri-Central plans for the immediate and future educational needs of students, increased funding is a must. If Tri-Central establishes a commitment to provide a computer and e-books for students, it will take additional dollars to make that happen. Potential educational partnerships with wind farm developers could impact greatly how aggressively Tri-Central will pursue such initiatives.

State resources for Tri-Central’s general fund have been drastically decreased. In addition, due to the U.S. 31 construction, Tri-Central will stand to lose considerable AV.

Homes have been demolished, retail businesses have been closed and acres of farm ground have been taken from the tax base. Property taxes on remaining property owners will have to go up to make up for the loss.

According to the latest census figures, there are 147 vacant housing units (homes and apartments) within the Tri-Central school district. The towns of Sharpsville and Windfall could expand with additional affordable housing. But with no planned business expansions on the horizon, Tri-Central faces a declining school population with fewer residents. Decreased AV then becomes even more problematic.

Most Tri-Central district residents are not in favor of school consolidation – the school is the lifeblood and identity of a community. I believe one way to preserve our schools is to embrace the planned wind farm initiative, explore the educational partnership possibilities and allow reasonable economic development to create an environmentally friendly climate for fiscal growth in Prairie, Liberty and Wildcat townships.

The school district that was put together by Liberty, Wildcat and Prairie township residents in April of 1962 should be preserved for the current residents of 2012 and beyond. I favor the Prairie Breeze Wind Farm 10-year abatement proposal and the opportunities that will come to Tri-Central Community Schools.

Lee Williford, Ed.D., is super-intendent of Tri-Central Community Schools, Sharpsville. Contact him at lwilliford@tccs.k12.in.us.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • Scholarship a fine award Congratulations to Howard County high school seniors Joowon Lee and Graham Ortmann on winning a 2014 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship. Lee, of Western High School, plans to attend Indiana University Purdue University-Indianapolis to study biolog

    April 24, 2014

  • STATE SEN. JIM BUCK: Changes pave way to a brighter future In recent legislative sessions, Indiana has enacted substantial policy reforms that resulted in greater economic freedom and stronger economic growth. Economic growth has real implications for Hoosier families: jobs for those unemployed; promotions f

    April 24, 2014

  • JEFFREY McCALL: U.S. networks struggle to cover economic news Network television newsrooms often must cover stories for which they have no internal experts. That's why aeronautic engineers and pilots are put on the air to analyze airplane emergencies. Judges and lawyers are paraded out to discuss whatever sensa

    April 24, 2014

  • LETTER: Tipton commissioner keeps agency matters secret Commissioner keeps panel matters secret An April 14 letter exposed the truth about a politician's actions vs. what he writes or says. The minutes from an Alliance Board governmental meeting indicated Phil Heron voted no for a request to allow public

    April 24, 2014

  • The progress we're making Every Howard County school district published an annual report in Tuesday's edition of the Kokomo Tribune. They're required by the Indiana Department of Education, and they're worth a read. The reports assembled the most recent data available on stud

    April 23, 2014

  • Rob Burgess House of Burgess: You've gotta keep 'em separated

    In my career as a journalist I have served my time reporting on city council, county supervisor and state regulatory meetings, to name just a few. Whatever else they might have been, they weren’t holy places. In the many, many hours I spent there I never felt the presence of anything that might be described as transcendent or spiritual.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • ANDREA NEAL: A committee of 10 picked Ind. capital Editor's note: This is one in a series of essays leading up to the celebration of the Indiana Bicentennial in December 2016. Anyone who's ever served on a committee can relate to the old laugh line: A committee is a group of people who keep minutes a

    April 23, 2014

  • LETTERS: Correct mistakes May 6; RNC & pals Voting mistakes can be corrected May 6 For the last several months, it seems that I keep hearing one recurring conversation. People cannot believe the arrogance being shown by some of our elected officials towards the people of Tipton County. The sam

    April 23, 2014

  • Take a stand this election Howard County Clerk Kim Wilson's office always is busy this time of year -- but more so before an election. Absentee voting for the May 6 primary election began April 8. We, too, expect more activity. We soon will receive an avalanche of candidate en

    April 22, 2014

  • MAUREEN HAYDEN: Judge in gay marriage decision is no activist When U.S. District Judge Richard Young recently ruled in favor of a lesbian couple seeking recognition of their out-of-state marriage, opponents of same-sex unions called him an activist judge who was unilaterally trampling the law. The label didn't

    April 22, 2014

Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Raw: Kangaroo Rescued From Swimming Pool Raw: 3 American Doctors Killed in Afghanistan Raw: Obama Arrives at State Dinner in Tokyo Raw: Obama Plays Soccer With Japanese Robot Raw: Obama Visits Meiji Shrine in Tokyo Stars Talk Guns N' Roses at Golden Gods New Pictures of Ship That Sank in 1888 Oregon Gay Marriage Ban Goes to Court SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher Video Shows Possible Syrian Gas Attack Admirers Flock to Dole During Kansas Homecoming FBI Joining Probe of Suburban NY 'Swatting' Call U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye'
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll