Louise ISD and its taxpayers could be the major benefactors if a solar farm’s tax abatement request is ultimately granted by Wharton County commissioners.
Hecate Energy Ramsey LLC presented the request for a 40 percent, five-year abatement on its proposed $326 million project
Commissioners listened to public comments on the proposal, but took no action on the request Monday. Hecate sought a 70 percent abatement for 10 years on a $500 million project in April. The application failed for lack of a motion in May.
Hecate is the third proposed solar farm to present a request to commissioners.
A spokesman for the company said they’d like to start construction next summer on about 4,500 acres near Danevang. Building the solar farm would likely take 18 months.
Louise ISD trustee Linda Alderson urged commissioners to consider the request. “We have a fiduciary responsibility to diversify our tax base,” she said. “We don’t want to succumb to opinions presented as facts. We don’t want to succumb to fear appeals.”
The Hecate request includes an alternative proposal for a five-year Payment In Lieu of Taxes for $747,000 per year.
The solar farm, if built, would have a tremendous impact on Louise ISD, district Superintendent Garth Oliver told commissioners.
“The entire values for the community are $256 million dollars. This company plans to add $325 million dollars, over double is going to be our value. That’s hard to say we can’t support that,” he said, adding that currently, “The homeowners and other businesses are bearing the lion’s share of paying the taxes.”
AP Solar Holdings, LLC went before commissioners last month requesting tax relief for a project on the Pierce Ranch. No action was taken on that request either.
Earlier this year, commissioners approved 50 percent for the Cascade Solar, LLC project outside of Lane City.