We need a wind energy financial public hearing!
To the Editor:
Unfortunately, Rumford officials have taken over 15 months to reach their current impasse on the path to provide a protective, but fair wind energy ordinance. A proper ordinance is essential to protect and enhance Rumford’s environmental and financial assets.
The proposed ordinance should be voted down in June to allow a planned approach accompanied by a six to 12-month moratorium on wind development.
We need time to conduct a wind energy financial public hearing. The hearing should focus attention on the facts and perceptions of benefits to be derived if the voters approve a wind energy ordinance leading to the development of a wind energy facility on our local mountaintops.
The following items for discussion should be included:
* Description of the First Wind proposal (number of turbines, total project value, assessed taxable value).
* Projected tax revenue (without TIF, with TIF).
* Use of tax revenue funds (tax reduction, economic development, etc).
* Other tangible benefits (Need to be quantified).
* Decommissioning of turbines at end of life (financial concerns and surety).
* Cost of electricity in Rumford (going up or going down).
* The potential profitability for landowners who sell or lease land to wind developers. They must be considered.
* The potential loss of property value for homeowners. They must be considered.
* Opportunity to sell electricity to Southern New England (Real or not real).
I hope the Rumford citizens will agree that we must sift through the financial facts to provide a path for clarity and reconciliation. It’s really all about money! The developer expects to win big. The voters may believe that they will receive a large tax reduction.
Let’s ensure that our voters are exposed to the facts, both pro and con.