Letter To The Editor

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Dear Editor
Kerens ISD and Navarro County have a wonderful opportunity to gain from the Goodalta solar project. For some reason there has been lots of misinformation on this project. The main point is why did the commissioners agree to tax abatements in other school districts but not Kerens. Why the opposition to helping Kerens students and teachers. Please consider the following points
Goodalta is projected to pay Kerens ISD $1.1 million the first year alone ( $14.6 mil over 30 years). This is not a handout, this will be the new largest Tax Payer in KISD’s jurisdiction.
Property generates $4,355 a year in taxes now! GoodAlta will pay almost $2 million per year, year 1 and average $1.2 million over the 10-year abatement period.
As of the 2019-2020 school year, an average teacher’s salary in the Kerens ISD School District is $6,624 less than the state average. The students and teachers of Kerens could really benefit from this extra money
75% of Kerens ISD students are Economically Disadvantaged. The State Average is 60.3%. Additional funds to Kerens and surrounding communities will provide greater future opportunities for these students and their families.
The commissioner’s court approved ABATEMENTS for two projects in the Blooming Grove and Mildred School districts. Both schools are well below Kerens (75%) in terms of Economically Disadvantaged Students. The Statewide Average is 60%Blooming Grove is 61% and Mildred ISD is 46%.
Several of those that were opposing tax abatements made erroneous statements I believe should be addressed by the commissioners. If their only complaint is Tax Handouts, or free money, this is false. Abatements are a legal means to reduction in taxes owed. This is no different than taking an Ag Exemption, Homestead, over 65, etc. NO ONE is paying the differences. This land current generates $4,355 per year in taxes to entire county. Goodalta will pay $1,118,491 in year one with abatements on County Taxes only.
A $150 million investment in Navarro County justifies a tax abatement due to the economic benefit provided to many. Over $25 million in new taxes (approx. $2 million over 10 years abated).
• Kerens ISD $14.6 mil
• Navarro County $4.8 mil
• Navarro College $1.1 mil
• ESD #1, Flood Control and R&B $2.2 mil
• Land Taxes $2.2 mil
Why are the commissioners preventing Kerens from benefitting from this project ?


Our family has owned and farmed some of this land for over 120 years. By leasing a portion of our property, we are able to develop a long-term succession plan that will guarantee my grandchildren will one day own and manage the land. This of course makes financial sense for me and my family, but it will also be beneficial for my hometown and county and provide significant new revenue for all. Today the land in consideration from our projects within Kerens ISD generate around $17,500 per year in tax revenue combined. This project will increase that to over $22 million paid over the next 10 years.
The economic benefits of both these solar projects go beyond myself and my family. They will provide over $30 million in tax revenue to Kerens and Navarro County over the next 10 years compared to less than $35,000 a year today!
These are the facts for the eastern project aka Goodalta:
A 150,000,000 investment with a huge tax revenue increase. The same as 150 one million dollar homes
With the abatement Navarro county would receive 4.8 million dollars over 30 years. Kerens school would receive 14.6 million dollars. If the anti solar defeat these projects the county and school would receive about 130,000 total over the next 30. You have to own a special calculator to not understand that math
Today Goodalta pays no taxes in Navarro County. The first year alone they would pay 1.1 million to the Kerens school 1,100,000 dollars NEW revenue


My family will be giving our land a rest, there will be a halt to herbicide use, we will have an active role in producing green energy, and providing a safer habitat for birds, bees and other wildlife. These
are based on research from land grant universities , Farm Bureau website and the United States Department of Energy. Not Big Oil and hate groups.


Some people are very emotional but others have no problem just lying. Looking at the minutes of the last two years , every abatement request presented to the Commissioner’s Court has passed.


Solar farms provide energy for everyone.


KIP WHORTON

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