Getting the numbers straight

Contrary to what Expedition Wind is feeding us, (FAKE or twisted information) please read the following:

Decisions made recently by our elected officials of the Marion County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) are very concerning to me. Let me get right to the point–Back in 2015, our BOCC approved the Expedition Wind Conditional Use Permits (CUP’s), formerly known as “the Doyle’s” (so named for the Doyle township in southern Marion County). At that time, they had an opportunity to bring a large financial benefit to our County for generations to come. Let’s consider the facts…. these Wind Projects (the Doyle’s) are lifetime tax exempt! All five Doyle Projects had signed, notarized, legal and binding contractual agreements to include the PILOT (Payment in lieu of taxes), Road Maintenance and Decommissioning. The following numbers represent what five (5) Doyle PILOT agreements collectively offered our County per year given a projected 200 megawatts of installed capacity.

The amount of $4,000,000 per year for the five (5) Doyle CUP’s would have been disbursed as follows as long as the project is operational or until the project becomes subject to Ad Valorem taxes:

$500,000: payment per year placed in County Road and Bridge

$150,000: payment per year placed in County Ambulance Fund

$100,000: payment per year paid to Florence Fire Dept

$100,000: paid to County Fire Dept #4 per year

$50,000: paid to the Marion County Fire Dept per year

$250,000: paid to St. Luke Hospital, Marion, KS per year

$350,000: shall be paid to the city of management and/or County general fund

$1,250,000: shall be placed in Marion County General Fund with $5,000 designated to EMS

$1,250,000: prorated between USD 408 and USD 398 School Districts per year

A Grand total of $4,000,000 per year to Marion County, Kansas, entities from Expedition Wind – GONE, GONE, GONE with the wind.

Wow!!! This represents an economic opportunity LOST for all Marion County! All these Doyle PILOT agreements were signed by Commissioner Randy Dallke in 2015. Then in November 2019, Commissioners Randy Dallke and Kent Becker displayed no desire to enforce these existing contracts. Instead they just threw in the trash an opportunity of millions of dollars for Marion County. They were, however, very eager to accept a small annual payment of $400,000 (10% of the original amount for the 1st 10 years) of which 40% goes to the schools. Why would any elected official do such a thing? Are they that ignorant to basic economics, uninformed or what?

Duane Schrag, writer for the Rural Messenger in April 2019, wrote of the Reno Co. windfarm project saying, “state-mandated 10-year property tax exemption could be worth an estimated $56 million and the federal production credit could be up to an additional $12 million per year more.” These wind companies get mega millions from tax emotions and federal subsidies (our tax dollars). Therefore, I’d like to know why two of the three commissioners didn’t think it was necessary to TRY to do a good job for all Marion County?

Also, very concerning is the Road Maintenance Agreement with Expedition Wind. Not only did these two commissioners save Expedition Wind millions of dollars in the PILOT payments to our County, they also agreed to allow our newly hired County road engineer, Mr. Gobel, to work hand in hand with Expedition Wind throughout this project ALL ON OUR DIME! Mr. Gobel is paid by us, the people. This contract between the County and Expedition Wind outlines in detail nine-pages of duties, tasks and responsibilities to be performed by our County engineer at the pleasure of Expedition Wind and free of charge to Expedition Wind! Are these two Commissioners working for the people of Marion County? Remember the power is in “we the people.”

The original PILOT agreements of 2015, and the newly signed agreement dated November 2019, between Expedition Wind and the BOCC may be found at the Marion County Court House for your examination and analysis. I’d welcome any legitimate correction if applicable. Please examine the facts as my desire is to be accurate.

David Marsh