GRAFTON, Vt.—The Economic Committee of the Grafton Select Board has been studying the economic impacts of the proposed industrial wind development in Grafton for the last 10 weeks. The committee held discussions with State of Vermont Tax Department representatives, Iberdrola representatives, and residents or officials of other towns in Vermont that have existing industrial wind facilities operating in their communities.
The primary subjects addressed included: Potential impact on Municipal Property taxes from and industrial wind project; other economic proposals; guarantees for, and timing of, Iberdrola payments; potential employment/job and local economic impacts from an industrial wind project and potential impact on Grafton property values from an industrial wind project.
The most important findings of the report confirm once again “certain combinations of household income and property values will see no tax benefit because of the tax adjustments (rebates)”. Moreover, for all practical purposes, this effect is not dependent on the amount of Iberdrola’s tax contribution.
“Over 66 percent of any tax relief will be attributable to properties assessed at $300,000 or above, based upon the current Grafton Grand List, although these properties make up only 33 percent of total properties.”
The “direct partnership payments”, i.e. the direct payments to registered voters, will be taxable. So the $428 per voter as advertised will be taxed, the net amount received will therefore be less.
The section on Potential Employment and Job impacts makes the point, among others, that: “Conversations with other towns that have experienced industrial wind construction have not noted any significant impact on local employment opportunities from such projects.
Potential impacts on tourism and desirability of Grafton as a place to live or own a second home are cautiously stated. The committee could not quantify the question as to whether the Iberdrola project could have an adverse impact on Grafton’s attractiveness, at this time
In terms of property values, the committee reviewed numerous studies, reports and articles that discuss the impact on real estate values from industrial wind facilities within specified areas. They found the studies were not consistent. One of the studies conducted by the School of Business at Clarkson University focused on the variations of effects based on the distance of properties from the nearest wind turbine. This study states in its opening paragraph, “We find that “nearby wind facilities significantly reduce property values.”
Additional information about Environment and Health impacts can be found at graftonvt.org.
A special informational meeting of the Grafton Select Board will be held on Wednesday, November 2 at 6 p.m. at the Grafton Elementary School to discuss the proposed wind project.