First Wind is having an informational meeting at our town office on January 18th. I think my husband and I will be in the minority - NOT IN FAVOR - of towers being put up on Bower's Mtn., leased land from Bower's Mtn, LLC. Most people seen either not to care - or to be in support of them. The Town Clerk - is thrilled - it means an influx of cash and will help us offset the increasing taxes. Unfortunately - I have a feeling that a lot of people will agree with her, especially if FW begins spinning it's tales of wonder!! So with that being said - I am in the process of gathering "NEGATIVE" facts about the wind towers that we can hand out at the meeting but also want to get up to speed on the whole tax issue.
My thought is that most people are going to be aglow with the thought of more money coming into the town's coffers. So I want to make sure I understand a little about the whole tax situation and TIF's (I'm assuming FW will apply for one of these).
1) Who pays the increase in taxes? FW or the land owner. And what do they base the increase in taxes on? The towers themselves or what electricity they produce?
2) What exactly is a TIF. Tax Incremental Financing - but I still don't know what this means!! So does this mean that taxes are excused or maybe deferred and paid later? I have heard all kinds of rumors: everything from the town is going to get a 'bundle' of money - but they can't touch it for 20 years (I'm assuming that's referring back to a 20 year life span for the towers) -- that the town will agree to less taxes; will get a sum of money up front that has to be spent on certain town projects.
3) What happens if First Wind goes bankrupt? (and that's assuming the federal subsidies dry up -- so pretty big assumption there) - who is left to tend the towers and to pay the taxes???
Is any of this true? I just want to try and have some reasonable understanding - so while the First Wind guys are spreading their news of Prosperity and Cheer - I will be able to ask pertinent questions and perhaps pop the FW bubble they create.
Any clarification and/or links so I can read up on this would be greatly appreciated!