Brown County Commissioners will discuss with the county attorney the previously created reinvestment zone, and the possibility of future tax abatements when the court meets Monday.
County Attorney Shane Britton will be attending the meeting, and he said on Friday, pursuant to the provisions of open meetings act and government code, it is likely much of the discussion will be in closed session.
“We are only discussing this,” Britton said. “This is not an action item.”
But Britton said, the discussion stems from the fact the state attorney general handed down an opinion that the tax code in Texas only allows tax abatements on “real” property or land. According to the opinion, wind turbines qualify as land improvements, leased property, which are not considered “real.”
Taylor County commissioners are being sued for allowing tax abatements for wind turbines, and Britton said the Monday court meeting will be dealing with the legalities of abatements.
At their Dec. 10, 2007, meeting, commissioners designated the entire county outside incorporated cities as a reinvestment zone, a step that allows companies to apply for tax abatements. Then, at the Jan. 7, Renewable Energy Systems representative Wes Jackson, who negotiates tax benefits for Roadrunner LLC with governing entities, went before the court to apply for an abatement.
A standing-room only courtroom crowd offered opinions against having turbines in Brown County, and, after a two-hour discussion, no motion was made to grant the abatement. Monday’s meeting is the first time since Jan. 7, the agenda has included anything in relation to tax abatements or wind turbine projects.
The regular session meeting is set for 9 a.m. Monday, in the commissioners courtroom on the main floor of the courthouse. The reinvestment zone and abatement consideration is the second item on a two-item agenda.
The first matter of business will be the discussion and action regarding the Brown County Historical Commission budget amendment for the historical marker project.