Supervisors look at adding turbines to TIF plan

The county supervisors will most likely add the 85 wind turbines of the second Beaver Creek Wind Project to the tax increment financing equation for construction of the regional career academy and secondary roads projects.

They met with Jeff Heil of Northland Securities, the firm hired as underwriter/finance advisor, for almost an hour at their regular meeting Jan. 10. The information was detailed and complex, and definite figures aren’t available because tax levy rates change.

According to Heil, if the county uses tax increment financing (TIF) revenue from the 41 turbines constructed in 2017, it will take 15 years to pay off the $5 million in general obligation bonds that will be sold to pay for construction of the career academy.

If the county were to amend the urban renewal district to include the 85 turbines built in 2018, it would take seven to nine years to pay off the $5 million bond, the county would save an estimated $700,000 in interest, and there would still be $8-$10 million for road and bridge projects.

The supervisors didn’t make a decision Thursday. A timeframe has not yet been set for issuing the bonds for the career academy. The school district did one bond issue in 2018 and will do another in 2019 for the high school.

Amending the urban renewal district to add the newer turbines would require a public hearing.

Also on Thursday, the supervisors approved a resolution in support of the national Stepping Up initiative. Greene was the last county in the Central Iowa Community Services(CICS) mental health region to approve such a resolution.

Patti Treibel-Leeds of CICS had talked with the board at the Jan. 7 meeting. The goal of the Stepping Up initiative is to reduce the number of people with mental illness in jails. The “Stepping Up Initiative” is designed to provide officials, professionals, community stakeholders and people with mental illnesses with resources necessary to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jails.

The resolution names the steps to be taken under the Stepping Up Initiative. The resolution is included in the proceedings from the Jan. 10 meeting.

Treibel-Leeds updated the supervisors at the earlier meeting about jail diversion efforts already in place. Using jail diversion, the number of people who are in jail primarily because mental illness is reduced. A CICS jail diversion specialist works with Greene County inmates. He works to connect them with the resources they need and determine next steps. “It’s a really tough job,” Treibel-Leeds said. “There are a lot of moving parts with people who are experiencing this.”

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