The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

December 17, 2013

Wind energy is a win for the county

ENID, Okla. — The end of the year is usually the time when people look back and evaluate what worked and what didn’t.

As Garfield County assessor, I’m no different.

For our county, allowing companies to build wind turbines here is definitely working for us. This clean, renewable energy source is contributing to our energy independence, and complements other energy sources. It also allows us to invest in critical infrastructure.

As the county’s largest taxpayer for 2013, the wind industry will infuse $4 million into Garfield County and help our schools and career technology center become self-sustaining.

Over 85 percent of the industry’s property taxes go directly to our schools to pay for personnel, maintenance and operations, and bond issues for capital improvements. Approximately 15 percent of the property taxes collected from wind companies will help operate and maintain our county courthouse, jail and health department.

I’m also hearing good things from the landowners in the county who house wind turbines on land they have leased to wind companies.

Coexisting with crops and cattle, wind turbines provide a welcome income to landowners who will see dividends for themselves and future generations for the foreseeable future.

In fact, one property owner I recently spoke with wished he had allowed more wind turbines to be placed on his property given the economic benefits reaped by him and his family.

Speaking with assessors in other parts of the state, I see that the wind industry is also benefiting other counties and property owners across Oklahoma.

We depend on property taxes to meet a variety of needs without burdening our residents. The wind industry makes that possible. That works for us.

Patterson is Garfield County assessor.

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