By Myrna Trauntvein
Juab County Commissioners closed their meeting to go into a CRA (Community Reinvestment Agency) meeting to discuss preliminary approval, via resolution, for a second solar power project for East Juab.
Commissioners act as the CRA board but must be in a CRA board to make decisions for that entity. Richard Hansen is chairman and Clinton Painter and Marvin Kenison are board members.
Stuart Clason, Regional Economic Growth Director, Utah Association of Counties based in Murray, joined the meeting via telephone.
Present in person was Shelly Cordon Teuscher, director of government relations for Parsons Behle & Latimer since 1994 and consultant for the proposed solar power developer, Invenergy.
"This agreement does not obligate the county," said Clason. "There are still negotiations to take place."
Teuscher and her clients still need to meet with the other taxing entities and have further discussions with the county, he said.
Invenergy is a leading privately held, global developer and operator of sustainable energy solutions. Invenergy is an American based multinational power generation development and operations company. They have developed 176 projects across four continents.
The proposed construction will take place west of Mona but will be larger than the Current Creek Solar plant now under construction. Current Creek is on approximately 580-acres and is located 1.5 miles northwest of the city of Mona in Juab County.
The Invenergy 3,000-acre solar farm is being proposed on a location near the power plant west of Mona with the proposed Thirsty Valley Solar Energy Center to be located next to Rocky Mountain Power’s Current Creek Plant.
"This is almost what we did with sPower," said Ryan Peters, county attorney and CRA attorney.
He felt comfortable with the request of the Invenergy, said Painter, because the county CRA had just participated with sPower in a similar way.
"We are just opening doors," he said.
Painter read from the resolution: "A resolution designating a survey area, authorizing the preparation of a draft community reinvestment project area plan and budget, and authorizing and directing all necessary action by the agency, staff and counsel."
It also stated that the county "created the Juab County Community Reinvestment Agency pursuant to the provisions of, and the agency continues to be operated under, Title 17C of the Utah Code, the Limited Purpose Local Government Entities-Community Reinvestment Agency Act and its predecessor statutes for the purposes of conducting urban renewal, economic development, community development, and community reinvestment activities as contemplated by the Act."
The county CRA has made preliminary investigation and conducted initial studies and inquires and now wants to conduct community development activities in all or a portion of the proposed area.
"Whereas the Agency desires to begin the process of adopting a project area plan, the Proposed Project Area, by adopting this Resolution authorizing the preparation of a Project Area Plan, pursuant to UCA 17C-5-103," read the resolution.
The resolution states that the agency finds that the survey area requires study to determine whether project area development is feasible within a proposed community reinvestment project area within the survey area.
The boundaries of the proposed project area must be within the survey area, that the agency counsel, consultants and staff are authorized and directed, for each project area, deemed appropriate by the agency, to prepare a draft community reinvestment project area plan and to prepare a draft community reinvestment project area budget and to undertake all such actions as may be required by the Act or which may be necessary to the successful establishment of the proposed project area, including, the negotiation of agreements with taxing entities and participants for hearings and the preparation, publication and/or mailing of statutorily required notices.
Painter made a motion to adopt the resolution and Marvin Kenison, commissioner/board member, made the second. All voted in favor.
Kenison then made the motion to close the CRA meeting and Painter made the second. All voted in favor.
The two solar plants have been interested in obtaining Tax Increment Financing (TIF), a tool that can allow government entities to further promote economic development by tagging property tax revenue that increases in value within a designated district. TIF benefits an entire municipality due to assessed property values than tend to grow faster within a TIF districts.
"The UAC Regional Growth Program will involve aligning county specific economic development strategies with existing implementation tools like tax incremental financing and opportunity zones and creating new tools if necessary," said Clason.