The Washington County Supervisors Tuesday passed the first reading of the county Wind Energy Ordinance Assessment of Wind Energy Conversion Property that provides for a special valuation of property …
The Washington County Supervisors Tuesday passed the first reading of the county Wind Energy Ordinance Assessment of Wind Energy Conversion Property that provides for a special valuation of property converted to wind energy use.
The ordinance covers an entire wind plant including a wind charger, windmill, wind turbine, tower, and electrical equipment as well as transformers, power lines and substation.
During the public hearing prior to the first reading action, Terry Anderson of Farm Bureau noted that the assessment is essentially a utility tax, based on Net Acquisition Cost. The local ordinance specifies that the special valuation will apply only to wind energy conversion property following the effective date of adopting of the ordinance. The board indicated there likely could be a full three readings.
The first assessment year, there is no tax percentage from NAC; however, the second year it is five percent with five percent increments up to the seventh year when it reaches 30 percent and remains there for all subsequent years.
Anderson told the board that the energy conversion move “places a burden on the assessor,” regardless of whether the county has a utility tax ordinance or not. He also explained there are “no checks or balances” in determining valuations because there is no verification of how much electricity is produced in the process.
There also was discussion about how Madison County had wind energy operations erected without an ordinance “at first,” but, as concerns arose, has since passed one. There also was reference to differences in geographical features that would affect a wind energy operation, of which there are already several in Iowa.
Referring to the local proposed ordinance, Supervisor Jack Seward, Jr. called it “a pretty good idea,” adding, “If you pass it, they will come.” The issue is expected to be on next week’s agenda.
In other business, the board learned that there will be two terms expiring on the county Public Health Board which should be made known to the public for any interest in serving.
Following adjournment of the regular session at 9:36 a.m., the board met for a work session at 10 a.m. to discuss the county administrative office space remodeling plans in view of full cost estimates for remodeling to Orchard Hill, the county courthouse, the county engineer’s office and the McCreedy Building coming in at more than $6 million, well over the approximate $4.4 million the county received from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), with a low estimate at nearly $5.4 million. However, the figures generally reflect the ones noted in the preliminary report from Carl A. Nelson & Company given to the board in May.
At last week’s meeting, Supervisor Marcus Fedler, who has been the board liaison with Nelson, indicated that the county likely would proceed with some remodeling at Orchard Hill.
The estimate range was reported to the board by Fedler last week during the supervisors’ comments that always come at the end of the regular meetings.
Among the plans for facilities changes is one for the Board of Health, that, for more than a decade, has been housed in leased space in the Federation Bank Building (currently offered to the county for $800,000). The Board of Health would move to Orchard Hill’s Building 2, currently leased to HACAP, whose officials earlier this year said they had no idea where they would move.