Canton voters defeat wind farm moratorium

CANTON — Voters on Saturday defeated 37-24 an ordinance that would have put a six-month hold on wind-power development.

Many who spoke seemed to be in favor of the moratorium, but it was defeated by secret ballot.

Resident Judy Drury spoke passionately in favor of the hold so people could be better informed about the impacts of wind turbines by talking to people from other towns who have them.

Impact on taxes seemed to be the controlling factor, rather than any health effects.

Administrative Assistant Harry Childs had prepared a projection on tax impact with property values and windmill evaluation. If the wind farm is valued at $40 million and a person’s taxes were $1,965 on a $100,000 house, the taxes could go down to $1,080.

Voters also defeated an article to see if the town would vote money from the disaster relief fund and wood lots income to clean up the property at 9 School St. The money would be repaid from a special tax on the property, which burned in February. Selectman Donald Hutchins said the town had received numerous complaints about the odor and appearance of the ruins.

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Comments

 's picture

bribery

The bribery sounds good but each year it will be less with double depreciation schemes. Lincoln 's taxes dropped 30 bucks. Big deal, that was after they doubled our taxes in the last 6 years. The distracting turbines are not worth the scrap metal value and the blinking red lights are a waste of energy. Maybe people are spending too much time inside so they do not care what happens to the mtns. and forests? Industrializing the hills will only make more carbon emissions. The bribery cartel and their boutique energy source should go back out of state where they originated. Leave ME alone.

Jo Levesque's picture

what is our health and well-being worth?

A community in Massachusetts who pushed their wind project as a cure for the town's financial ills...have found that there are both financial "costs" and health and well-being "costs" to be aid that were not discussed or considered prior to their wind development...citizens of Canton, Maine learn a valuable lesson from the others misguided decisions.
This community I refer to has become divided along the lines of those who have had their private property rights stolen from them in addition to the health and well-being of their family members degraded...the "victims" of the adverse impacts have been marginalized (as the wind industry and its supporters tend to do in reaction to "complaints" of a reduced standard of health and well being resulting from the operational wind turbines harmful emissions)...the "victims" are being victimized twice over, first by the turbines and secondly by those that refuse to want to understand that the turbines are causing real problems for those residents that live within a mile or more...the "vicitms" have been labeled as only under stress due to the visual impact and told they "will get used to the disturbance they are feeling"...the "wind developer" wrote an oped to the local paper insisting the opposition to his turbine was along the line of those folks in the past who thought the telephone was an evil/bad invention...the wind developer had the gall to accuse those suffering from his turbines as folks "who are just afraid of innovation"!
There was a recent news article that reported how much the town had "benefited" from the newly generated electricity...when I did the math I figured that for each resident impacted it came out to $10/$15 per day...so I ask you...if your wind project is to disturb and harm your fellow residents BUT would provide the town with some much needed cash the question is "How much is a day and night free from harm worth, per resident?" I imagine the residents of the town I refer to, had they been offered a "peace and quiet" surcharge" in place of a troublesome turbine...they would have moved heaven and earth to fundraise or cut back in order to be assured their fellow residents were truly free from harm!
Now this town I refer to is gaining some income (marginal at best) but has LOST so much...the impacted residents have had to hire a lawyer to fight their own town (who has hired a lawyer to defend against the residents battle for mitigation/resolution)...all this money thrown at lawyers to simply get their lives and their property back to pre-turbine peace and harmony...the officials in my town have thankfully paid attention to the debacle in the community I speak of and are now aware of so many unforeseen and unexplained "costs" of wind turbine projects...trust me folks, the COSTS are enormous...and the ethics of a town thinking they will benefit financially by offering up some of their residents as collateral damage is sickening...literally!

 's picture

Tax breaks...or my neighbors' quality of life?

Did Admin Assistant Childs really do diligent and comprehensive research? Or did he do the simple math, only? $40million added to tax base, so (at current spending levels) the mil rate would drop ‘x’ amount of dollars?

Did he contact Maine Revenue Services? Did he look at future projections of state assessment and revenue sharing? Did he consider the wind turbines’ accelerated depreciation? The loss of value to homes impacted by the turbines?

Or did he just give the minimum amount of information to voters…the information that said their property taxes should decrease if an industrial wind facility was built?

What disturbs me the most, I guess, is that—for the possibility of tax break of less than $900.00 a year, many Canton residents chose to ignore the possible health impacts this development would have on their neighbors and friends. For a few pieces of silver, the choice was made to avoid long-range thinking and planning. A moratorium isn’t a ‘no’ to wind development. It is a ‘wait…let’s do this right, because this is our home town and we all have to live here’. If a wind developer really wants to build in Canton, a six month ‘hold’ won’t stop him. Not with millions of our tax-payer dollars waiting to be obtained. How I wish, for your sakes, that you’d tried it so you could see, rather than succumbing to the worry of missing out on a temporary tax ‘windfall’.

I hope that Canton residents don’t regret giving up this opportunity to move forward with cautiousness and forethought. I hope Canton residents don’t allow their community to be divided based on the assertions made by a wind developer or any financial projections given without due diligence to the long-range picture. Please hang together. We’re all hurting financially and it’s easy to understand why we are tempted to grasp at any proposed lifeline that will make our budgets work. But over the course of several years, I’ve learned that this isn’t the way to do it. People --right here in Maine-- have lost their cherished quality of life, their health, their ‘comfort of home’ and their feeling of belonging to their community. Canton still has the chance to keep this from happening. I hope you’ll take that opportunity.

I live in a UT and that opportunity has been taken away from me by the Wind Energy Law. I’m envious of your ability to shape the future of your community.

Respectfully,
Karen Pease
Lexington Twp., Maine

Norman Mitchell's picture

Administrative Assistant

I believe it was wrong for the Administrative Assistant to mislead the people of canton and give them a tax rate that showed a cut of almost 50 % this may be true for the fist year ? many unknown factors but basing what Dr Tom Ward to Dixfield residents who wanted to pull out of rsu that the increase in their tax bill was due to the increase in town valuation of approx 23 million in 2010 state funding has a two year lag time so if that is the case than a 40 million dollar increase in town valuation would cost us twice a s much now thats just plain old logic

 's picture

why is WIND afraid of a moratorium?

Planning board says they are Canton's local control.....My question to the planning board is....If WIND's application is accepted as complete...how do you make changes at this late date?
Canton citizen's ...ask your planning board everything you can about protection.
Environmental degradation
Visual degradation
Safety
Health
Noise
Property values.

Is WIND going to buy all the property with-in a mile of these turbines?

How big are the turbines going to be?

 's picture

The depreciation of the

The depreciation of the turbines will increase the tax rate and shift more taxes from the turbines to other Canton property owners. This rate to be negotiated between developer and town. The federal government allows a 5 year depreciation from 0% depreciation at year 1 to 100% depreciation at year 5.
Year 3 and year 4 will be when the State, County and RSU plug Canton's increased valuation into their formulas, which will cause the mil rate to jump 4.35 points.
If this new found value creates any new spending programs within town government, as Roxbury has, then, by year 4, don't be surprised to see property taxes back to current levels and, depending on output and maintenance costs of turbines, the rate could easily be above current rates. All the while this is happening, property near the turbines suffer devaluation and tax abatement which will add further stress to Canton property owners.
And jobs, hardly
And electric rates, wind is 3 times more expensive. This is one product that should go out of state. Unfortunately it has to pass through transmission lines in Maine to get there and this causes costs which is passed to the ratepayers.
And, America, because we, the people have been sucked into the thinking wind is a winner will keep losing ground to the return to prosperity.

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