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Webster County supervisors consider urban renewal area

Area could encompass proposed wind farm south of Fort Dodge

April 13, 2011
By LINDSEY MUTCHLER - Messenger staff writer , Messenger News

A urban renewal area south of Fort Dodge is under consideration by the Webster County Board of Supervisors.

The proposal came from Webster County Engineer Randy Will as a way to capture incremental taxes from wind turbines being built in the area to be used for road maintenance.

Based on information from the Webster County assessor's office, the taxes would total $6.7 million the first seven years and after that $1.9 million each year.

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Supervisors meeting

Will wrote to the board that capturing the taxes for six to seven years would provide an opportunity to address county road and bridge construction and maintenance within a boundary area of Otho, Lehigh, Dayton, Harcourt, Gowrie and Callender.

The supervisors along with Will, Scott Stevenson from Ruan Securities and Sheilah Lizer from Webster County Zoning Department met with Tom Simmering from Simmering-Cory Inc. and Mark Cory from Ahlers & Cooney via conference call Tuesday morning.

The Lundgren Wind project involves the construction of 157 wind turbines spanning approximately 20,000 acres south of Fort Dodge. The proposed urban renewal area is south of Otho and west of Lehigh.

Will said several counties have successfully created urban renewal areas to capture tax increment financing from wind farms within the last few years.

"We just want to educate people today about the process so there's no confusion," Will said.

Cory said first the turbine owner must elect to be taxed locally because the projects don't generally get taxed through the property tax system.

Supervisor Keith Dencklau said enXco has verbally said they are willing to be taxed locally, but haven't made a written request yet.

Cory said that was the first step the county must complete if it moves forward with the plan.

Additionally, any TIF dollars from an urban renewal area can only be used for economic development in that area. In this case, potential projects would be road and bridge maintenance.

There are risks involved, Cory said. Those risks are:

In order to minimize these risks, Cory made these suggestions:

The board said it would study the possibility of an urban renewal area more in depth, and at a later date indicate to staff how it would like to proceed.

Contact Lindsey Mutchler at (515) 573-2141 or lindsey@messengernews.net

 
 

 

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