Up date on PILT money to County on solar projects. As stated before about 40% of money collected will be shared between all 5 school districts in the county. Thanks to this change was given again to the county manager. Helping to lobby the change was Kevin McCall with the support of the rest of the commission, as well as those legislators that supported the change. Money will be allocated to increase each year to help adjust to inflation. When questioned it seems the school districts can use the money as they wish and school boards are responsible for its use, This comes to about 1.6 million dollars per year to each school district. This will be the largest single project in the Western hemisphere as of now, most of which is in Torrance County. Building will require about 2 million man hours. The wind project is looking into ways to recycle blades including stock feed for concrete.
A presentation was given on the Duke City Solar Project also in the county, which is going through state approval that are expected to be completed soon. This will, as wind projects, use Industrial Energy Bonds through business, in this case Amshore, so the county is not at risk This project has about a 30 year life span and will be located on a 6,000 acre tract in the Willard area. While only about 10M dollars, will provide, as do the wind projects, money to the schools and county.
Concern was raised by Ryan Schwebach for the use the green electricity within the county, possibly by new industries. Moving green energy out of the county without fuller benefit to the county has been raised in the past at community meetings.
Manager update included a complete result of the hand tally projected to be given at the next commission meeting. The state was set to re-certify voting machines by the end of the week. Mistakes in printed forms were found, which may be more procedural than effecting outcome due to use of older forms. This will be corrected at the general election.
I have a few opinions on PILT money, which also seemed to reflect the question asked about use of money by schools. In conversation a week or so before the meeting, concern was raised that too much of the money might be used for athletic programs. As I was a high school runner and scholarship athlete in college, while support for such programs are helpful, and also with a MFA, as well as musician, writer, and educator, money needs to be used in a balanced approach. I would also suggest use part to develop or increase teaching Spanish K-4th grade in all public schools. While you may not agree with all or part of my opinions, as the money is promised please share any informed opinion(s) with school boards and school administrations.