Just in case there are any County Officials who still actually believe the promises of wind developers, we’ll provide this little gem from the Billings Gazette: Duke Energy disputes taxes
The article begins with the obvious, “Property taxes are one of the main selling points that wind energy companies have used to convince counties there will be a payoff for accepting up-front impacts to local services.” Well, it unfortunately looks like the County Officials around Casper Wyoming fell for that one, hook, line and 747 size tinker-toy.
Seems that, “based on Duke’s testimony to the council, Converse County officials expected to receive $2.8 million in property taxes per year and $13 million over the next five years. Then the state’s calculation agreed.”
Now, according to Converse County folks, “when the tax bill came due for Duke Energy this year, the company went back on its promise.” Duke seems to think that paying around half of what it agreed to should satisfy the county folks, so they filed appeals to the assessment. Bet you didn’t see that coming!
But this is really where it all falls off the ‘slip n’ slide’ ride, “Duke Energy spokesman Greg Efthimiou said the notion that the company pulled a bait-and-switch is an “unfair characterization.”
And why not? “We were asked to provide an estimate, and that’s what we did,” Efthimiou said. “The reason that we are appealing the property tax assessment is due to the methodology for calculating that tax assessment.”
Cool, huh? “Promise them anything until you get what you want and then tell them to stick it” might be considered a questionable tactic in some circles, but somehow in this transaction, it’s just “methodology.” Probably an isolated case anyway, don’t you think?
Now here’s the kicker: During a recent hearing of the Legislature’s Joint Revenue Interim Committee, co-chairman John Schiffer, R-Kaycee, said he believes Duke may have knowingly supplied false information under oath in its past testimony to the Industrial Siting Council.
“Now it appears the people who testified for Duke Energy were not straightforward with their testimony, and I object to that,” Schiffer said.
A developer was not straightforward in their oath-sworn testimony? Perish the thought!
Anyway, I’m not worried. My County Commissioners are far too savvy to just jump on a bandwagon without really nailing down a serious issue like money, right?
But, just in case you’re not as well protected as I am, you might want to have your officials read the full Billings Gazette article.