By Eric Norwood Jr.
PNT staff writer
Tuesday at the Roosevelt County commissioners meeting, the board approved a resolution to declare their intent to issue industrial revenue bonds for the proposed Roosevelt Wind Ranch, totaling an amount of up to $430 million.
This will be roughly the amount of completing the project, which will be located on land in Elida and Dora.
“The county or it’s taxpayers are not paying anything out of their own pockets,” said attorney Daniel Alsup, who represents Infinity Wind Power, the company who will be constructing the project.
According to Alsup, the $430 million will be paid by the bond purchaser (Roosevelt Wind Holdings, LLC.,) to the county. The county will then turn the money over to the project company, (Roosevelt Wind Ranch, LLC.), who will use the money to develop the project. Even though the money does not come from Roosevelt County, it must pass through their hands because the county holds the legal title to the project. Roosevelt County will lease the project property to Roosevelt Wind Ranch LLC., and in return, Roosevelt Wind Ranch LLC., will make lease and bond payments to Roosevelt County. The lease payments will go to the county to keep. The bond payments will go to the bond purchaser, Roosevelt Wind Holdings, LLC. These payments to Roosevelt County are called PILT payments, or payments in lieu of taxes. Alsup said in most cases of industrial revenue bonds, the bond purchaser is affiliated with the project company, as it is in this case. The bond purchaser will be Roosevelt Wind Holdings, LLC., while Roosevelt Wind Ranch, LLC., will be the project company.
“Because the county will own the project property, there will be no property taxes, but they will get payments in lieu of taxes or PILT payments,” said Alsup.
The next step toward the completion of the wind farm will be for the county to adopt the industrial revenue bond ordinance at the next meeting. However, steps can be taken to begin the process now that the county has already approved the resolution to issue bonds.
“With the adoption of the inducement resolution today (Tuesday), the company can now purchase property and equipment,” said Alsup.
The school districts in Elida and Dora must also adopt resolutions to approve acquisition of the project, but they will also get payments that will be determined at a later date, if they decide to move forward with the project. The payments for Roosevelt County and the Dora and Elida school districts will also be determined before Nov. 5, the day of the next county commissioner’s meeting, and will be in the documents of the ordinance when it gets voted on.
“The project will be on about 60,000 acres and will have a capacity of 250 megawatts a year,” said Jonathan Koehn, director of project development for Infinity Wind Power.
“We will start buying equipment before the end of the year. Construction probably won’t start until late 2014 or early 2015, and it will be done by the end of 2015.”