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Diamond Vista pays county $269,325

Staff writer

Marion County received its first payment in lieu of taxes check for $269,325 from Diamond Vista wind farm Dec. 16, county clerk Tina Spencer said.

It appears that no money was withheld from the county for consulting fees of more than $686,000 despite a clause in the agreement with Enel Green Power that would have allowed it to deduct from its payments any amount that exceeded $250,000.

“It appears to be the full PILOT payment, but I would have to verify by looking back at our agreement,” Spencer said.

Payments in lieu of taxes are meant to offset tax money the county would otherwise gain during the first 10 years of wind farm operation, when the wind farm is not subject to being taxed.

The agreement signed last year by commissioners was for $900 per megawatt, and amount estimate anywhere from $100,000 to $270,000 adjusted for the money the wind farm pays in expenses.

According to Matt Epting, spokesman for Enel Green Power, the company that developed Diamond Vista, no money was withheld for payments to consultant Kirkham Michael.

“Diamond Vista has paid in full its initial PILOT payment of $269,325 to Marion County,” Epting said. “Enel Green Power is proud to provide direct payments to Marion County, Centre and Hillsboro Unified School Districts, and landowners; support community development initiatives like the Paul Gooding Memorial Library and Tampa Trail Stop and sustain good-paying jobs in Tampa. We look forward to continued partnership with the Marion County community for years to come.”

The county stands to receive $2,000 per megawatt from Expedition Wind for the first 10 years for a wind farm in southeast Marion County according to an agreement signed Nov. 19. Expedition Wind will then pay $2,500 per megawatt hour for turbines with permanent tax exemption during the next five years, then $5,000 on those turbines starting the 16th year of the project.

Both development agreements require roads used during construction to be left in as good or better condition than before construction began.

Kirkham Michael and county engineer Brice Goebel say some of the roads need repair near Diamond Vista wind farm. Roads in the construction area range from poor to very good, Goebel said.

“We for the most part have been working on roads and fixing them up since they moved out,” Goebel said. “We started fixing some of the worst areas.”

Last modified Dec. 24, 2019

 

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