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Mt. Pulaski , Illinois
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May 2, 2015     Times
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May 2, 2015
 

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7 10 K~ O O1 pay $43 million in "new-addi- tional taxes" over the 25-year period. Mr. Woo broke down the taxes by what each government body will receive in "new-addi- tional taxes" from Relight. Logan County would receive a 25-year total of $5 million or $200,000 per year. West Lincoln Broadwell would receive a 2S-year total of $1.4 million or $56,000 per year. Three fire district.s would receive a 25-year total of $740,000, $1.2 million, and $236,000 or - respectively - $29,600, $48,000, and $9,440 per year. Logan County cemetery dis- trict would receive a 25-year total of $412,000 or $16,480 per year. Lincoln high school District 404 would receive a 25-year total of $1.5 million or $60,000 per year. Lincoln land community col- lege would receive a 25-year total of $ 2.6 million or $104,000 per year. Heartland Community Col- lege would receive a 25-year total of $147,000 or $5,880 per year. Elkhart Library District would receive a 25-year total of $470,000 or $18,800 per year. Mount Pulaski District Library would receive a 25-year total of $550,000 or $22,000 per year. Elkhart Road and Bridge would receive a 25-year total of $600,000 or $24,000 per year. Mount Pulaski Road did in bridge would receive a 25-year total of $1.6 million or $64,000 per year. Elkhart Township would receive a 25-year total of $600,000 or $24,000 per year. Mount Pulaski Township would receive a 25-year total of $600,000 or $24,000 per year. Broadwell Road and Bridge would receive a 25-year total of $70,000 or $2,800 per year. Mount Pulaski Township Park district would receive a 25-year total of $600,000 or $24,000 per year. Mount Pulaski community unit district number 23 would receive a 25-year total of $25 million or $1,000,000 per year. In a "but walt there's more" Mr. Woo presented a further financial incentive to gain approval of the Relight project stating the company was - in addition to the real estate prop- erty taxes listed in estimated above -Relight would establish a Mount Pulaski Community Project Fund. The fund would be established with an initial payment of $250,000 and then the company would pay $ 50,000 per year over the life of the proj- ect (25 years) or a total of $1.5 million. The community project fund be would be managed by Mount Pulaski residents and projects benefiting from the fund would be determined by Mount Pulaski residents. The company would start funding of this added project when the wind farmed started operation. Mr. Woo stated Relight - in addition to the $25 million in real estate taxes that it would be paying (to the school dis- trict) - it would make an addi- tional contributions so that the school district could replace its 1912 in 1925 high school build- ings, provide air-conditioning and upgraded heating systems for the buildings, classroom renovations and other struc- tural improvements including replacing windows and roofs. In effect, Relight was offering to cover all district expenses for the Mt. Pulaski School Dis- trict for the 25-year life of the project, above and beyond the $1 million the District would potentially receive as its portion of the projects' annual property taxes. Mr. Woo added that Relight would also award five - four- year scholarships - to Mt. Pulaski High School seniors in each of the 25 years of the project (a total of 125 four-year scholarships). Mr. Woo said, in addition, the park district would have an opportunity to construct an all weather track for use by the high school, and further improve the baseball facilities. As for wind farm project redesigns, Woo said the project would be an 81-wind turbine farm with the height of the turbines being from 432 to 492 feet. This change would result in a 30% smaller total generation rating. Non-partici- paring landowners would see an increased setback of 1,700 feet and a modified compensation to people living with in the tower area. Woo went into a complex presentation of how the noise level of each turbine would have a 20% reduction of noise levels. One of the major concerns - shadow flicker (an effect of sunlight on rotating blades) was addressed by Mr. Woo. He said the company has ana- lyzed noise output and shadow flicker at every house. He said there is no county ordinance on the limits to the number of days that shadow flicker can be experienced, but the commu- nity wants the limits set to 30 hours per year. Mr. Woo said by an adjustment in software, tur- bine operation can be restricted at certain times of the year to address shadow flicker and that no house within a designated area of the wind farm would exceed 30 hours per year of shadow flicker. A concern over infrasound was raised previously and has been a major issue with the Relight wind farm project. So it was somewhat of a sur- prise when Mr. Woo said he was not familiar with the data and would have to look into it. Infrasound is the low-frequency noise anti-wind-farm campaign- ers across the U.S. say is gen- erated by turbines and makes people sick. Infrasound studies argue that wind turbines gen- erate high levels of infrasound noise, a very low frequency noise (sound waves of less than 20 cycles per second) that you" cannot hear. Even though you cannot hear the sound, a study says it is detected by the ear and can have effects on the body that profoundly disturb some individuals. Stating that Relight would be paying real estate property taxes for at least 25-years, pos- sibly longer, Mr. Woo said the company has also looked into a local concern of a decrease in property values due to the wind farm. In addressing this con- cem Relight checked with the Logan County assessor's office and found no affect on prop- erty values of property located near existing wind farms in Logan County. Mr. Woo said that, on behalf of Relight, the Logan County assessor's office inquired of other counties con- ceming any effect on property values in the way of a devalua- tion of property in areas where wind farms are already located. There was no evidence of prop- erty devaluation. In order to provide assur- ances to people who own prop- erty within the proposed wind farm area, Mr. Woo said that Relight is working on an insur- ance scheme to reimburse prop- erty owners that can prove their property was actually reduced in value at the time of sale and the reduced value was proven to be due to the existence of the wind farm. The "insurance" would be capped at $1,000,000 per year. Details are being developed to determine how a person would be able to prove the property devaluation. In the event that real estate taxes fell during the 25-year life of the project the Mr. Woo said Relight would make up any shortfall of tax money. He said that the financial obliga- tion of Relight would remain the same if taxes fell and con- versely would increase if tax rates increase. He assured the community that funding would not decrease if taxes fell. Other questions raised at this meeting may be familiar... What happens to the finan- cial incentives and guarantees if Relight goes bankrupt or sells the project to another company? Mr. Woo said that bankruptcy law would govern; he then asked rhetorically - why would this company go bankrupt when this company makes a 70-80% profit? As for the sale of the company, Mr. Woo repeated the company's profit level and added that if a sale took place, obligations agreed to would remain. He then added - why sell a profitable company? How will Relight manage the decommissioning when the project has run its course in 25 to 30 years? The company would follow existing county requirements. Funds are being set aside for decommission- ing; cost of decommissioning is determined by an independent consultant that will determine the dollar amount to be set aside'to meet the cost of decom- missioning. How many long-term, full- time local jobs will the project create? Permanent jobs include a project manager and 31 tech- nicians who will monitor opera- tions 24-hours a day. What recourse will com- munity members have if they suffer adverse health effects as a result of the project? Com- pany does not believe that there are health issues, For someone with a health claim there is legal action, but the company is always willing to look at health matters, but for every study stating there is a health issue, there is a study that states there is not. What projects besides wind and solar does Relight have? The company is involved in mining precious and base mate-. rials, but not coal. How do turbines respond to tomados? An adverse weather study is to be done. who is going to purchase the electricity generated? An agreement with PGM, a grid company, obliges the company to take the power generated by Relight. In response to a question of how Relight decided to start this specific project, Mr. Woo said his business partners star- ing looking for an investment area in 2007. Through conver- sations with various politicians the company started looking at Illinois. Once it was decided to look further into Illinois the company conducted vari- ous studies. Relight looked at two main criteria - electric grid availability and wind produc; tion. Concluding its studies, Relight decided to make its ini- tial investment in this area. Corey Leonard addressed Relight's business approach to the community. Corey said... "I don't think we have trust in your company because of the history. I don't think you're going to overcome that. I think that when you come in after all that happened and try to guarantee us the world, after all this has happened, I don't think we trust that. I think there's a question of why was -this not done initially? why wasn't it done on the second person that came through, the third person that came through, and the last person that came through? ! think the answer is that because after all that hap- pened, it was not approved. I don't think that asking our community to now believe is a reasonable expectation." Cont'd on Page 8 ~"