Proposed Solar Projects In Dike, Pine Forest Receive County Officials' Approval

Hopkins County Commissioners Court

Hopkins County Commissioners Court Monday unanimously approved 318 agreements granting tax incentives for solar projects in Dike and Pine Forest communities

“They pay taxes and pay us a fee which is equal to a portion of their taxes, That way when we bring that money into the county’s coffers it doesn’t impact the property taxes,” Sulphur Springs/Hopkins County Economic Development Corporation Chief Executive Roger Feagley told the county commissioners.

The Dike project is proposed to encompass 1639 acres and requires approval of tax incentives from the hospital district and any school districts in which the projects is located. The matter has yet to be presented for hospital district approval. Sulphur Bluff School District Board of Trustees reportedly gave approval for the project Thursday night. Sulphur Springs ISD tabled action on the proposed matter at their meeting, also Dec. 19.

Altogether, the proposed farm is projected to bring about $15,609,900 at a rate of about $1.5 million a year into Hopkins County through the taxing entities, according to Feagley.

The first year, the county would receive $400,000, including a $144,000 road fee to help pay for any damages to county roads used during the construction phase of the Dike project. After that, the company would pay $256,000 a year for the remaining nine years of the agreement. That’s a total of $2.704 million the county will receive from the project.

The hospital would receive $102,000 each year for the 10 years of the tax incentive, for a total of just over $1,024,900, Feagley reported. Sulphur Springs ISD is projected to receive $7.398 million over the 10 years of the Chapter 313 limited tax value limitation agreement. Sulphur Bluff ISD with the same type of tax agreement, would receive $4.563 million, Feagley reported.

The Pine Forest Solar project will cover 2,155 acres, and is dependent on the tax incentives from the county, school and hospital districts. It is projected to bring in more than $9,248,800 in revenue into Hopkins County over the 10 years of the tax incentives, Feagley said.

The annual payments the county is projected to receive for the project are projected at $342,000 a year. The first year with the road maintenance fee, the county would receive just over $514,300. Over the 10 years of the agreement the county would receive over $3.6 million.

This project as proposed would bring in $110,000 to the hospital district annually, for a just over $1,104,900 over the 10 years of the agreement. Revenues for Como-Pickton CISD are estimated at more than $4,543,000.

“The farmers that are leasing their land to them enjoy this because they get paid a fee each year for agricultural purposes. And at the end of 30 years, they take up their posts. They don’t set them in concrete. They set them in the ground with a pile driver. They pull them up out of the ground and they get the land back to use for agricultural purposes, or who knows, 30 years from now you might be building houses there or something,” Feagley noted.

Precinct 3 Commissioner Wade Bartley extended appreciation to Feagley, who he said has done a lot of the ground work, for all of the work he’s put into the reaching the agreements.

Precinct 1 Commissioner Mickey Barker asked that it be added to the motion to approve the agreement, that the funds coming in to the county that first year for road repairs be used for road repairs in the precincts in which the farms are located.

The motion receive approval unanimous approval of the commissioners court.

Hopkins County Courthouse

Author: Faith Huffman

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