Vernon ISD discusses proposed wind farm project vote

VERNON, TX (KAUZ) - A new wind farm project is being proposed in Wilbarger County. Vernon Independent School District board members discussed whether or not to approve the application during a school board meeting on Friday.

The Lockett wind farm project has been discussed for more than a year. Dan Casey, a school finance consultant with Moak, Casey & Associates, said if it is approved by the school district then they will have some options.

"They can negotiate $100 per student in what they call supplemental payments it's an additional benefit," Casey said. "It's one of the things the law allows in most districts." Vernon ISD has more than 2,000 students.

VISD officials said they would like a deal similar to the one they received from the Electra Wind farm project, which they approved two years ago.

"[It's] somewhere close to an extra $200,000 a year is what we are seeing from that,"  VISD Board President Emory Byars said.

Casey said the tax relief will also help the school district.

"The improvements in the tax base are helpful as far as paying for taxes on a bond that voters have approved for school construction and related issues," Casey said.

The development investment for the project will cost around $185 million dollars. Byars said there is another reason they are considering the project.

"There is a long line of counties across the state of Taxes, even in our area, that says 'if it doesn't get built here it will get built somewhere else," Byars said.

He also said if the district does not approve it, they might not get all the benefits.

"We would probably give up more than any of the other entities."

In late August, VISD will learn where and how many wind turbines will be built during the official presentation.

If the Lockett Wind Farm is approved, construction will start next year and is expected to be finished by January 1, 2019.

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