Breckenridge Texan

County’s public hearing on wind farm proposal scheduled for Monday, March 11; draft agreement posted online

County’s public hearing on wind farm proposal scheduled for Monday, March 11; draft agreement posted online
March 04
12:30 2024

By Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

Months of debate and speculation about what Stephens County officials are going to do regarding the tax abatement request by La Casa Wind LLC, aka NextEra Energy Resources, may come to an end on Monday, March 11, at a public hearing on the topic of the proposed wind turbine farm in the southeastern portion of the county.

The Stephens County Commissioners Court will hold the public hearing at 9 a.m. in the District Courtroom in the courthouse, 200 W. Walker St. Click here to see the public notice for the hearing.

The hearing will be held in conjunction with the county commissioners’ regular meeting. The general public will be allowed to speak during the public hearing, voicing their opinions on the proposed wind farm.

Following the public hearing portion of the meeting, the commissioners will be able to discuss and take possible action on an agreement between Stephens County and La Casa Wind LLC.

According to a draft of the agreement, the County will abate 100% of all county taxes for 10 years. During that time, La Casa Wind will be required to make a “payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT)” each year. That annual PILOT will be equal to the greater of (a) 50% of all property taxes abated by the agreement, or (b) $445,051. The annual taxable values are estimated to start at $210,000,000 in 2025 and steadily decrease to $52,500,000 in 2035, according to the draft. The current Stephens County tax rate is .639800 per $100 valuation.

Additionally, the county is requiring that La Casa Wind install a commercial aircraft detection lighting system to reduce light pollution from the wind farm and to ensure that lighting from the wind turbines is only activated when an aircraft enters a zone established by the FFA and Department Of Defense. Other requirements include an annual $50,000 donation to certain Stephens County charitable organizations designated by the Commissioners Court and to hire at least one full-time employee. The agreement also covers road use and repair, the decommissioning of the wind turbines and other topics.

Click the following link to read the entire draft agreement: Stephens County – La Casa Abatement_Draft – Proposed

Past hearings and meetings on the wind farm topic have drawn dozens of citizens to the courthouse with several speakers voicing their opposition to the proposed wind farm. NextEra representatives and a few supporters have attended some of the meetings and addressed the commissioners. Additionally, those in opposition to the wind farm have hosted several meetings at other locations.


Cutline, top photo: Retired U.S. Army Col. Earl Brunner addresses the Stephens County Commissioners Court about the proposed wind farm in Stephens County at a public hearing in August 2023. As a former military helicopter pilot, Brunner said he is concerned about the safety of the pilots who train in the air space over Stephens County. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)


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