Pulaski County May Hire Consultants to Determine Potential Wind Farm’s Financial Impact

Before allowing a possible wind farm in Pulaski County, local officials may ask for some outside help in determining its impact on property values and tax revenues.

Community Development Commission Executive Director Nathan Origer told the county commissioners Monday he’s been researching a couple different consultants. “We know that there’s a strong potential for property value impacts on other landowners, and so there’s an appraisal group we’ve found out of Wisconsin who specializes in these kind of projects,” he explained. “And then, we also know that there is the potential with the turbines themselves if they would go up, for increased tax revenue for the county on those, and so an accounting consulting firm like Umbaugh could do a feasibility study on that.”

Origer said the county could expect to spend between $7,000 and $20,000, depending on if it wants one or both of the studies. He said there’s money available in the CDC budget. “In some circumstances, the wind company pays that bill,” Origer said. “It might be something, if they keep moving forward, where we have it that they reimburse us, but as I explained to the council, I’m not sure that I’m comfortable with putting that on them, only because I want to avoid even the perception of their having any impact on the final studies.”

Origer said he wouldn’t hire any consultants until after changes to the county’s wind turbine regulations are solidified next month, since there’s a chance the developer would decide not to proceed with the project at that point. But he pointed out that if the project does move forward, the studies could help county officials make an informed decision when it comes to rezoning requests.

The commissioners agreed to let Origer continue discussions with potential consultants. He’s already discussed the idea with the county council, plan commission, and CDC Executive Board.