April 11, 2016
April 11, 2016
Commissioners Doug Tucker, John Grewell, and John Prinkki were present.
8:30 Pledge of Allegiance
Commissioner Grewell moved to offer the Fairgrounds Keeper position to Malarie Cates in light of the Fair Board’s security concerns; Commissioner Tucker seconded; motion carried.
Commissioner Tucker moved to approve minutes for March 24, 31, and April 4; Commissioner Grewell seconded; motion carried.
New Road and Bridge Superintendent David Ohnstad met with Commissioners to discuss operations; it was his first day.
9:00 Brett Crosby, Rodney Crosby, Judy Prewett, Anna Zier, Jean Zier, Dana Cothran, Brian Spangler of the DEQ Energy Office, and John Husar of the Mud Springs Wind Project met with Commissioners. The Commissioners have received a draft Impact Fee Agreement from EverPower for the Mud Springs Wind Project. John Husar noted the draft Agreement proposes an impact fee of $50,000/year for three years. Mr. Husar stated EverPower estimates the State and County will receive $47,000,000 in taxes over the 20 year life of the project. Brian Spangler from the DEQ Energy Bureau, has been working with the project to secure required permits, he noted the project has roughly $1,000,000/year in leases with private landowners. Bret Crosby asked how wind energy is taxed at the County level. Commissioner Prinkki noted it is centrally assessed by the Department of Revenue Industrial Bureau. Mr. Crosby commented coal and oil have driven the State economy historically, but he believes the industries have potential for economic difficulties in the future and hopes that wind energy could help curb loss of coal and oil revenues for the County. Commissioner Grewell noted there were folks opposed to the project when the Development Permit was issued; he wants to make sure the County can justify not charging the full impact fee allowed under statute. Commissioner Prinkki asked what the County’s exposure would be for decommissioning the project should it be abandoned at some point in the future; Husar noted EverPower is required to put up a bond to cover reclamation costs and that equipment could also be salvaged to cover those expenses. Husar stated the project’s Power Purchase Agreement with Pacific Corp. is on schedule, but the Impact Fee issue needs to be settled before it can be signed; if the Purchase Agreement is not signed in the next couple of weeks it will need to renegotiated. Mr. Crosby asked that the Commissioners consider the landowner’s personal property rights. Ms. Zier asked what the impacts to Carbon County would be. Commissioner Prinkki noted, infrastructure improvements to roads, additional training for emergency responders for site specific incidents, and potential impacts to schools should there be a number of full time employees.
Mr. Husar noted the project will provide significant road improvements totaling roughly $1.4 Million; Commissioner Tucker noted the figure includes improvements to private access roads and on private property and the total improvements to County roads is significantly less. 9:50 Commissioners tabled the issue until 10:15.
10:00 Commissioner Grewell moved to appoint Sheriff Josh McQuillan, Clerk and Recorder Marcia Henigman, and Treasurer / Superintendent of Schools Jane Swanson-Webb as the Elected Official representatives on the Compensation Board; Commissioner Tucker seconded; motion carried.
10:15 Commissioners resumed the discussion of the Mud Springs Wind Project Impact Fee. The Commissioners asked if the project planned on requesting a New and Expanding Industry Tax Abatement and if it was a factor when determining the project’s return on investment; Husar sated the estimated return on investment assumes the Tax Abatement will be granted. Commissioner Prinkki went through the items detailed in the proposed agreement including the need for onsite fire suppression as there is not a fire district that covers the area. Commissioners participated in a phone conference with EverPower’s Chief Development Officer Chris Shears to discuss the Agreement. Commissioner Prinkki asked what the estimated property taxes would be for the project; Chris noted that the first year’s total estimated taxes are approximately $2 Million with the New/Expanding Industry Tax Abatement. It was also noted the construction contractors would provide Emergency Medical Services and fire protection during the construction phase. They would also be happy to do exercises with local emergency responders to prepare them for possible incidents after construction is completed. Commissioner Tucker would like to ensure the County is not responsible for suppressing any fires caused by the project. Commissioner Tucker moved to accept Impact Fee of $50,000/year for three years with additional requirements for the project to place fire suppression equipment onsite and holding the County harmless for fires caused by the project, amendments to Road Use and Indemnity Agreement including stock piling gravel and providing for dust abatement, and to provide emergency medical services during construction; Commissioner Grewell seconded noting his frustration that the County will not benefit if the project receives a better return on investment; motion carried.
Respectfully submitted: Angela Newell, Administrative Assistant