Business owner: Moran should seek wind farm windfall



October 3, 2017 - 12:00 AM

MORAN — If a proposed wind farm is b uilt north of Moran as expected, a local business owner thinks it’s in the community’s best interest to try to reap a portion of the windfall.
Mitch Bolling, owner of Moran Locker, addressed Moran City Council members Monday night, noting the gathering momentum for the wind farm, expected to be erected north of Moran.
If the county endorses EDP Renewables’ wind farm proposal — a final decision could come by the end of the month — it stands to earn $200,000 a year through payments in lieu of taxes, if county commissioners accept EDP’s PILOT offer.
“I’d like to challenge the Council to an idea,” Bolling said. “I know of three people in town who would like to open businesses. If there’s a chance to getting ahold of some of that money, we should approach the county commissioners.”
Bolling did not get more specific in how the wind farm revenues would be used, but noted the county has twice in the past few months aided development projects in Iola.
“They’re going to give that money to someone,” Bolling said. “If the wind farm is north of Moran, perhaps we can get some of the money here.
“The county has been generous to people wanting to do business in the Iola area,” he concluded. “Let’s see if they’re generous here.”
Bolling did not identify who the prospective business owners would be, but did say all three would likely require new buildings in Moran. “These would be ground-up operations,” he said.
Council members were intrigued by Bolling’s proposal, promising to consider his suggestions.
As an aside, Bolling is a member of the Allen County Planning Commission whose job it is to vet such proposals.
Bolling cast the lone dissenting vote in a 5-1 motion Thursday to recommend the county issue a conditional use permit for construction of a substation to accommodate the pending wind farm. Among his concerns was that EDP, not KCP&L was requesting the permit for the substation; and that the substation permit was being sought ahead of the wind farm.
In an unrelated matter, Bolling spoke with the Council about extending sewer service to a property he recently purchased in the 200 block of North Pine Street.
A tap will be connected to a sewer main east of the property, while Bolling will be responsible for extending a line across his property to the main.
City Superintendent Mike Stodgell said a drainage ditch needs to be cleared out as well.
Approval to add the tap to the sewer main passed 3-0, with Council members Jerry Wallis and Jim Mueller absent.

THE COUNCIL discussed ongoing renovations to the old First Baptist Church building, which when finished will become home to the Moran Public Library.
Crews are in the midst of replacing the ceiling, adding drywall and painting.
Accessibility issues also are being addressed. One of the restrooms must be modified, with a wider doorway.

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