County staff creating TIF district to include wind turbines

Although Greene County students still have two more first days of school in the current buildings, work is moving along lining up finances for the new high school/career academy and repurposing the current high school for use as a middle school.

The Greene County Schools board of education plans to accept a bid to sell $16.5 million In general obligation bonds at its Aug. 15 meeting. The school board has also been in contact with assistant county attorney Thomas Laehn about documentation of the county’s commitment to provide $5 million for construction of the career academy.

The supervisors will use the revenue from tax increment financing (TIF) for the academy, earmarking a portion of the increased property tax revenue from the first 43 MidAmerican Energy wind turbines in eastern Greene County.

Pam Olerich, real estate coordinator in the county auditor’s office, explained that establishing the TIF district for the wind turbines involves writing legal descriptions of each wind turbine site, the driveway to the turbine, and the most direct route from the turbine to the academy. Only those areas can be put into the TIF district, not farmland. The TIF district ends up looking like a spider web, Olerich said.

She and Michelle Fields, who handles GIS mapping for the county, are nearly finished with that step and are now double-checking their work. The next step is for the county supervisors to determine what other projects may be funded with TIF revenue. County engineer Wade Weiss is lobbying to have a portion of the money for road projects. Attorneys at Ahlers & Cooney will review the plan, and then submit it back to the supervisors for final approval.

“We’re working as fast as we can. It’s too important. We don’t want to do something that would make a problem later on,” Olerich said.

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