Clinton Wind

America’s energy independence and future are right in front of us.  In fact, they’re blowing in the wind.

Across the Midwest and America, wind is generating low-cost, pollution-free energy.  Wind creates economic opportunity for rural communities and reducing taxes on hardworking farmers and families. Wind helps fund schools and provide landowners with steady, reliable income. And wind is one of the cheapest ways to generate electricity today, helping customers save on their utility bills.

We know there are folks on both sides of this topic. Some don’t want to look at wind turbines, are worried about perceived health impacts, or are concerned about what this change would mean for their community.

Others look at wind energy in Clinton County differently. They see a big ($250 million) economic development opportunity that will create jobs, provide the largest single source of tax revenue for the county (over $1 million per year for 30 years), rebuild roads, help fund schools and first responders, and help Clinton County play a leading role in the American energy future. All this with just 35-52 turbines spread across the 39,000+ acre project footprint.

Clinton Wind Open House Sparks Strong Turnout; E.ON Leaders, Variety of Experts Inform 250-Plus Residents

 

Over 250 Clinton County residents attended the E.ON Clinton Wind Open House in Frankfort on Thursday evening, September 12, to collect insights from experts who covered a range of topics related to wind energy.

The outpouring of interest reflects strong curiosity about and public support for bringing wind energy to the area. The event at the Edward Jones Community Building on the Clinton County Fairgrounds, was an opportunity for residents to learn generally about wind energy and specifically about E.ON’s proposed wind energy project for Clinton County.

“We’re looking for a signal that the county is open for business,” Eason stated. “We’d love to know what the commissioners would like from us to be able to lift the moratorium and give this project a chance.”

Since February 2017, Clinton County has had a moratorium on wind farms. Eason emphasized at the open house the firm’s desire to have “a clear path forward” to receiving approval for the project. None of Clinton County’s three commissioners was in attendance.

E.ON is proposing 35 to 52 turbines spread across a 39,000-acre (60-square-mile) area in the northeastern part of the county, four miles from Frankfort. The private land that has been identified to host the turbines covers less than 15% of the county. Over a 30-year span, the project would generate $30 million in tax revenue to local governments (about half going to area schools) and $25 million in dependable lease payments to local farmers and landowners.

The funds would also help the county head off a potential budget deficit, as outlined in an independent economic report recently ordered by the Clinton County Commission and Council. Conducted by third-party accounting firm Baker Tilly, the report found that the county’s assessed value is decreasing, expenses are increasing, and that without raising taxes or some other plan to address its financial difficulties, the county could face a $1.1 million general fund deficit in 2023.

The evening began with a dinner catered by Shoup’s Country Foods. Four drawings throughout the event resulted in four people randomly selected to receive $50 Amazon gift cards. In addition, E.ON staff and experts engaged in individual conversations with attendees for nearly an hour and a half after the main presentations concluded.

Economic Benefits of Clinton Wind

Total investment in Clinton County.

More than $30 million in tax revenue for Clinton County over 30 years to support essential services like local first responders, schools, and more.

Additional county income can help reduce tax burden on residents and avoid tax increases to cover county’s projected shortfall.

More than $25 million paid for labor and construction companies, and a commitment to hire and spend locally when possible.

More than $25 million in stable, yearly lease payments to Clinton County family farmers, ranchers, and landowners over 30 years, all while using just 1% of their land.

200+ temporary construction jobs; 10 long-term, good-paying local jobs; and a commitment to hire locally.

Several miles of local road upgrades at no cost to taxpayers.

Proposed
turbines:

35-52

Energy produced:

Power for 50K Homes

Total
investment:

$250 Million

Distance from any home:

Over ¼ mile

Economic Study

Clinton County is facing a major financial crossroads.

 

A recent economic study of and report on Clinton County’s financial situation by accounting firm Baker Tilly paints a grim financial picture that could impact every citizen in Clinton County. Requested by Clinton County, the report finds that the county’s assessed value is decreasing while expenses are increasing. That means that by 2023, Clinton County will be operating with less money than it did in 2013 – in real, non-inflation dollars.

In just two and a half years, if it continues business as usual, the county will face a nearly $500,000 general fund deficit, climbing to $1.1 million by 2023.

The report also finds that:

  • The hospital contractual budget will include $2 million in unfunded, annual expenditures through 2023.
  • Clinton County will need to find a new source of funding for its EMS. The hospital contractual fund currently pays for EMS; however, by 2022, this fund will be phased out.
  • Combined health services cash balances will be in debt $71,000 by 2023.
  • Public Safety LIT will run deficits from 2019 to 2023, with its total cash balance in the red by 2023.
  • The county health program begins to run a deficit this year – with the red ink continuing into 2023.
  • The county’s fund to inspect and repair local bridges has run deficits for three straight years, registering a deficit of nearly $400,000 in 2019.
  • The county’s rainy-day fund was already $140,000 in the red in 2018 and is projected to get worse in the future.
  • The landfill tipping fee will run a deficit of more than $21,000 in 2022 – a figure that more than doubles to $46,000 in 2023.

Increase Taxes?
The report finds that Clinton County residents already face a higher property tax burden than their neighbors in seven of the eight surrounding counties. The report explores three new potential taxes – totaling $3.5 million by 2023 – the county could put in place to cover the budget shortfall. Nobody wants higher taxes.

Shuffle Money and Cut Services?
The report also analyzes another option the county could pursue to try to close its budget gap: shuffling money between accounts, which could lead to cutting services. By shifting appropriations between accounts from year to year, the report finds the county could partially close its immediate budget gap. Doing this potentially means cutting current budgets and services where the monies were originally intended to go.

Be Open for Business?
Fortunately, there is a way out of this crisis that doesn’t involve raising taxes or cutting services. As the Baker Tilly report points out, just by approving this proposed wind energy project, Clinton County could turn its $1.1 million general fund deficit into a $2.5 million surplus by 2023.

With the additional revenue, the county could provide even more and better services.

The clock is ticking. To avoid the deficit explosion, Clinton’s three County Commissioners – Steve Woods, President Josh Uitts and Scott Shoemaker – need to act now.

In the short term, they must lift the county’s current moratorium on considering wind energy to at least look at how a wind farm could benefit Clinton County. If you think the county should consider wind, please call your commissioner now at 765-659-6309. 

CLICK HERE to read a full summary and the actual Baker Tilly Clinton County Economic Report.

Land Use

  • Each turbine would take up less than half an acre – enabling farmers, ranchers, and landowners to continue their current land use on more than 99% of the land in the project.
  • The turbines would share agricultural land with mostly corn and soybeans, and some pasture / livestock.
  • E.ON will restore any disrupted land to its original state after construction is completed.

Property Values

According to the Energy and Policy Institute, “Studies find properties that host wind farms are worth more after turbines are installed. Nearby properties are unaffected…Ten major studies in three countries of 1.3 million property transactions over 18 years of data have found no connection between wind farms and property values. Yet the fear of property value loss persists and is exploited by anti-wind campaigning groups in their attempts to turn local populaces against wind developments.”

https://www.energyandpolicy.org/wind-energy-does-not-hurt-property-values/

Learn More

What people in communities with E.ON wind farms are saying

The wind farm went up in 2011, and after a while you don’t even notice them being here. When they were doing the construction, the roads were kept nice (and still are). I enjoyed watching the construction, I couldn’t believe how neat and clean it was.

Mary and John KidwellSheldon, Illinois

The tax revenue that has been brought in because of Settlers Trail allowed the school district to buy all new Chromebooks, and our fire department in Sheldon received funds for a new fire truck.

Hornbuckle FamilySheldon, Illinois

The two wind turbines on our land have not affect how we farm, not one bit. Our interest and willingness to have the wind project was based on it being a renewable source of electricity.

Emma SwallowCentral City, Pennsylvania

This (wind farm) has been the biggest economic development project that northern Madison County has ever had. This is a huge benefit to the community as a whole, and especially to the school system.

Bill SavageCity of Elwood Economic Development Director

I just think it’s a good thing. It saves us from buying oil from overseas. I’ve been pleased with everything that’s taken place.

Robert Williams Elwood, Indiana

I think it’s a great project having a wind farm. It has helped cut our taxes, and should cut them for the rest of our county's residents because there’s so much revenue coming in from the turbines.

Henrietta Campbell CuppWildcat Wind Farm I Landowner
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