New updates on the New Market Solar project were discussed at the weekly Wednesday meeting of the Highland County Board of Commissioners.
Commissioner Dave Daniels said that “everybody” was probably aware that the board of commissioners billed the site three months ago for its pilot. However, he said they haven’t heard back from them yet regarding the project. He also said the Ohio Power Sitting Board’s website lists it as an active project, which was why the board decided to bill them for the pilot. Daniels also said the site has had that project listed as operational since March 30, 2022.
“It’s our understanding now that they are indicating that they’re 30 percent complete and until they actually end up being complete, then they are responsible to pay the public utilities tax on those parcels,” Daniels said. “So, just didn’t want anybody to think that we had, that we were just not paying attention to what was going on. I think that there has been some movement down there and there’s been some construction going on. But until that time, I think we wanted to make sure that everybody knew that that was the way that that operated.”
Daniels said he was assuming the project was behind because they were having trouble getting solar panels, but that now they are getting them.
Commissioner Terry Britton said that it looked like there were only two parcels associated with the project.
Daniels said the parcels associated with the project need to be removed from the Current Agricultural Use Value (CAUV) and entered into the public utilities taxing scheme or taxing program.
“And I would just add that there is a learning curve for all of us because it’s the first time that the county has dealt with any projects like this,” Alex Butler, Highland County auditor, said. “However, it is a priority of the auditor’s office and the commissioner’s office to keep an eye, to tax appropriately and timely. There may be times where we’re, you know, searching for information or calling Columbus to get detail, but it is on our radar. We want to make sure we’re doing the right thing and generating the tax we’re supposed to.”
Concerning this topic, Daniels agreed, saying that when the board of commissioners calls people in Columbus, they are also trying to find their way through the projects too. He said that “a lot of times” when they call people, it’ll be weeks before they receive answers.
In other news, Britton said that the new barn on the Highland County Fairgrounds is “coming right along” and that they were currently working on the electricity.
“They’re gonna be way ahead of their schedule,” Britton said.
He said they were already getting ready for the fair, but that the building has “really turned out really nice and I think the community and the fair board are very pleased.”
Britton also said that bid packets were out as of Tuesday and would be opened on Wednesday, July 12.
He said that the new OSU Extension building on the Highland County Fairgrounds was supposed to have its bids opened on Wednesday, but a delay from DS2 Architects caused that to be moved back to June 28.
The board of commissioners approved for the village of Highland to receive $1,174.50, the village of Leesburg to receive $2,000 and the village of Greenfield to receive $2,000 from the 2023 Recycling and Litter Management Revolving Fund Grant. Britton said these designations were over the grant’s amount but there was enough money to cover the overage.
Britton said that there is an auctionat 10 a.m. on June 24 at the Highland County Justice Center to get rid of come excess cars collected through courts and other items like tools and desk equipment. He said the money from the auction would go back into the general fund.
Daniels said that if someone is interested in owning a Jaguar, one of those would be on sale at the auction.
The board of commissioners also approved a letter of support for the Highland County Homeless Shelter regarding a grant application from the organization.
Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.