The Highland County Board of Commissioners approved its solar development process at its weekly meeting Wednesday morning.
Jeff Duncan, commission president, said the process approves policies and guidelines for solar projects that will “more than likely” come to the county.
A document provided by the commissioners detailed all aspects of that process, including:
* The repeal of Resolution 11-96 that designated Highland County as an Alternative Energy Zone and that all requests for approval of a qualified energy project and statutory payment in lieu of taxes will be determined on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the board.
* The process for designating restricted areas for the construction of large-scale solar development.
* The policy that the commissioners will intervene in meetings of the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) about large-scale solar development if the prospective facility meets several different parameters.
* A consideration to reduce the geographic size of a large-scale solar facility if that facility meets different criteria.
* The approval that if a proposed large-scale solar facility is in multiple counties, the Highland County Board of Commissioners will defer to the county with the largest land area in the project.
* The Highland County Board of Commissioners’ policy of their opposition to the development of solar-powered electric generation facilities that are not under the jurisdiction of the OPSB except projects that generate electricity for usage on-site.
* Applications for large-scale solar facilities that “satisfy” the savings clause for Section 4 of Substitute Senate Bill 52 are not subject to the policies and processes in the resolution.
“In response to Senate Bill 52, we believe that as these projects move forward, there needs some clear understanding for both the residents of Highland County, the people that may or may not decide to develop utility-scale solar projects in the county, so that they have an idea of what we will and what we won’t expect when they come in and start to do that work,” commissioner David Daniels said.
In other news, Highland County Auditor Bill Fawley reported the estimated revenue for Highland County in 2022. He reported that the total estimated revenue would be $12.4 million and the following for specific sections: $2.1 million in real estate property taxes, $7.9 million in permissive sales tax, $450,000 in casino revenue, $400,000 in local government funds, $750,000 in fees, and $800,000 in other receipts.
Duncan said that the sales tax revenue has been “outstanding” lately and the current estimation is about $1 million over last year’s projection.
Fawley said he tries to maintain a conservative number so the commissioners don’t have to worry about overestimating.
Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.