IRON COUNTY — The Iron County Commission convened Monday at the Iron County Courthouse where they approved an interlocal agreement for a solar farm project plan with the renewable energy company Enterprise Solar.
The Iron County Community Development and Renewal Agency, made up of the Iron County Commission members, determined the solar farm project will create jobs, attract private capital investment, contribute to the tax base and contribute to the economic vitality of Iron County.
Brennan Wood, president of the Southwest Applied Technology College (Ed. note) and former economic development director, spoke about the solar project and presented the interlocal agreement for the Enterprise Solar Community Development Project Area Plan to the Commission members.
See the July 9 draft of the plan here: Enterprise Solar Community Development Project Area Plan – 20140709 DRAFT
Since the plan does not require the use of water, has very little impact on roadways and does not have much demand on community resources, Commissioner Dan Miller said, it is a welcome addition, especially because it would increase the county’s revenue.
“It has very minimal demand on any of our resources we have in the community,” Miller said, “but it brings a lot to the table.”
The Renewal Agency intends to secure a tax incentive of 70-percent for 15 years with a 20-year project life; this means Enterprise Solar would receive a tax reduction as an incentive for putting the infrastructure in place for the first 15 years.
Benefits from taxes will happen as the property tax on the project area increases as development moves forward. Currently, according to the Iron County Assessor’s Office, the property value of the project area is $132,621. According to the Enterprise Project Plan, July 9 draft, the Renewal Agency predicts that tax increment will be generated from the project, with possible stated variations, as follows:
- Projected 15-year total tax increment is $14,488,488
- Projected 15-year incentive at 70 percent is $10,141,942
- Projected 15-year increase in revenue to the taxing entities is $4,346,546
- Projected total increase in revenue to the taxing entities over the 20-year life of the project is $5,458,958.40, divided among the taxing entities as follows:
o Iron County – $942,219
o Iron County School District – $3,245,376
o Iron County Unincorporated Service District No. 2 – $1,271,362
The 1,296-acre project area is located within Iron County, according to the July 9 draft of the Plan, 32.6 miles from Interstate 15, southwest of Newcastle.
Brian Harris, representative of First Wind — parent company of Enterprise Solar — said the expected completion date of a solar substation for the project is June 2016. The full solar project will be operational the following month.
Approval of the interlocal agreement still needs to be granted by the Iron County School District before the plan can move forward. On Sept. 8, the Iron County Commission will discuss the development agreement, followed by a 30-day public notice period, after which the incentive will then be made official.
“We’re tapping into a natural resource that we anticipate will always be available,” Miller said.
The Commission received a report regarding the results of a 2013 independent audit presented by Mike Spilker, CPA with HintonBurdick. The majority financial results of the audit were expected and regular, Spilker said. The Commission members collectively thanked the different department heads for staying within their budgets and for making these positive numbers possible.
“A lot of effort goes into keeping these number where they need to be,” Miller said.
A request for a settlement on personal property taxes was put forward by Chris Mackert of Star Sign and Banner in Cedar City.
When the company was purchased from its previous owner in 2011, Mackert said, unpaid taxes on the company assets were also passed over to himself and fellow new owners. The unpaid tax debts were unknown to the new owners, who have since ceased payments to the previous owner, citing a breach of contract.
Mackert requested the total amount of the debt owned, totaling $1,251.53, possibly be amended since he was not aware of the unpaid taxes and fees from the previous owner and has been current and up-to-date with his taxes since acquiring the business.
“… We’re just looking to get put this behind us and move forward,” Mackert said.
The Commission was unwilling to waive the penalties and fees from the unpaid taxes but suggested Mackert take the previous owner to court for the amount after it has been paid. Mackert agreed and thanked the Commission members for their time.
The next Iron County Commission meeting is set to begin at 9 a.m. on Sept. 8 at the Iron County Courthouse in Parowan located at 68 S. 100 East.
Ed. note: CORRECTION made from Applied Technology Center to Southwest Applied Technology College.
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