Commissioners submit wind policy letters to state legislators, state agency
Letters were sent to make policy recommendations, clarifications
[Tiffin, OH Oct. 10, 2019] – The Seneca County Board of Commissioners agreed to send letters related to wind policy to state legislators in Columbus and to the Ohio Development Services Agency Thursday morning.
The first letter, drafted by Commissioner Shayne Thomas, outlines the commissioners’ stance related to industrial wind turbine projects in the county and provides recommendations to state lawmakers moving forward.
The draft states, “In Seneca County, we have had significant public discourse around the development of wind resources and utility-scale wind farms. We have incredibly engaged citizens and public officials. If wind development moves forward in Ohio, we feel duty-bound to offer our recommendations for improving the wind development process.”
Thomas’ letter suggests that the Alternative Energy Zone that was supposed to act as local control for counties, is no longer serving its purpose as doing such because of the significant reduction in the cost of the projects. The letter also suggests a better, and earlier mechanism for notifying residents of projects and a net present value calculation that keeps the local taxing authorities whole as to the time value of money.
The second letter, drafted by Commissioner Mike Kerschner, is intended for the Ohio Development Services Agency, but will also be sent to state lawmakers.
The ODSA administers tax benefit programs such as the AEZ.
The letter clarifies the county’s stance that the Seneca Wind Project is no longer eligible for Alternative Energy Zone benefits because sPower withdrew its application in August and has since refiled. In March, the county sunset the AEZ program. Within the resolution approved by the board, it states, “although the Seneca Wind and Republic Wind projects are accepted under the 2011 AEZ agreement, if they must resubmit their applications they would no longer be grandfathered under the agreement, based on a determination by the Ohio Power Siting Board.”
Kerschner’s letter also includes a unanimous endorsement of a pending bill from State Rep. Bill Reineke that proposes a referendum vote for alternative energy projects. Both letters will be considered as one document and will be sent to state legislators and to the ODSA. The letters aim to give local control back to residents and communities as it relates to alternative energy projects.
In other business, the board canceled its Dec. 5 meeting and rescheduled it for Dec. 3. Commissioners also moved the start time of the Oct. 24 meeting to 9:30 a.m. to hear an update from RLF & Associates related to a bus-transit plan that is being developed for the county.
During new business, the board approved:
* A $46,712 supplemental appropriation to the Maintenance and Repair Fund for equipment.
* A $656.20 supplemental appropriation to the County Sewer District Fund for contract services.
* A $4,931.82 supplemental appropriation to the county engineer’s CR 10-35-61 Resurfacing Fund transfers out line and a fund transfer in the same amount to the Maintenance and Repair Fund’s transfers in line.
* A $1,000 supplemental appropriation to the Ohio Peace Officer Training Fund.
* Appointing Frank (Tim) S. Bell to the Sandusky-Seneca-Tiffin Port Authority, term expiring March 1.
* A memo of agreement for the deposit of public funds with Sutton Bank on behalf of the treasurer.