Brown County Commissioners to vote on date for public hearing

Steve Nash
Brownwood Bulletin
Brown County Courthouse

Brown County Commissioners Court members will vote Monday on setting May 10 as a date to hold a public hearing, consider establishing a reinvestment zone and consider granting a tax abatement for the proposed Radian solar farm near Brookesmith.

Commissioners will meet at 9 a.m. in the Brown County Courthouse commissioners courtroom.

The agenda item reads: “Consider and authorize setting date of May 10, 2021 for a public hearing and publication of such hearing in a newspaper of general circulation on the creation of a reinvestment zone to be known as Brown County Reinvestment Zone No. 1 — IP Radian for purposes of tax abatement to provide economic development within the county, and to take up for consideration a tax abatement agreement with IP Radian LLC.”

“You have to have a reinvestment zone for a tax abatement,” commissioner Gary Worley said. “It’s on the agenda Monday to establish a hearing to consider a tax abatement.

“If we decide on May 10 to create a re-investment zone, it allows people who have applied for a tax abatement to ask for that abatement at that time.”

If commissioners court members vote on May 10 to establish a re-investment zone, they will probably vote the same day on the tax abatement, Worley said.

California-based Intersect Power is developing the Radian Solar Energy Project and wants to build a solar farm on 2,000 to 3,000 acres of land located within the Brookesmith school district.

Intersect said earlier its project would bring $23 million in property tax payments over the 35-year life of the project to Brown County and the Brookesmith school district — $7 million to Brown County and $16 million to the school district.

Under a 10-year agreement, the project would begin paying taxes in the first year; by the final year of the agreement, Intersect would pay nearly $6.5 million in taxes, with $1.4 million going to Brown County and $5.1 million to the Brookesmith school district, Intersect has said.

The issue has drawn standing-room-only crowds to previous commissioners court meetings as individuals have spoken for and against the project.

Opponents have voice numerous objections including their assertion that the project should not be subsidized by taxpayers.