Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

By Steve Hansen

Projects to get tax benefits


October 11, 2017 | View PDF

Two wind energy projects scheduled for Quay County with maximum value of $157.6 million will receive tax benefits through New Mexico industrial revenue bonds (IRB) as a result of ordinances the Quay County Commission approved Monday.

Both projects are on NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, wind energy sites located near House. County government and the House school district will share in “payment in lieu of taxes“(PILOT) payments that NextEra will make to replace taxes.

According to the texts of the ordinances, the county will receive $261,090 per year in tax-replacements for the 30 years of the IRB for a project in which NextEra is replacing blades and generating equipment at one of its wind energy sites to increase the site’s capacity to 204 megawatts.

The 204 megawatts is enough to energize about 136,000 homes at any given time.

The other project, which will consist of installing 21 new wind turbines on a site that crosses the De Baca County line near House, will bring $59,867 per year in tax-replacements to Quay County.

Of the 21 wind turbines, 11 will be placed in Quay County and 9 in De Baca County, according to Chris Cothran, project manager for NextEra.

The House school board has not yet acted on the IRB measures for these projects, according to Alan Hall, Quay County’s attorney for the IRBs

In an “Industrial Revenue Bond Basics” publication on his law firm’s website, Hall explained that in an IRB, the “property comprising the IRB ‘project’ is deeded from the benefiting company to the IRB issuer.”

The issuer is the county.

The county then leases the property back to the company, he said.

The project then becomes government-owned and eligible for tax breaks that would not be allowed the company, Hall said in his booklet.

During the term of the bond, the project property is exempt from property taxes, and purchases of property can be deducted from gross receipts taxes, he said.

Materials and labor used on the project, however, are still subject to gross receipts taxes, Hall said.

The county will also receive bond payments totaling about $5.3 million a year for the “repowering” project and $2.4 million a year for the new wind turbine project to pay off interest on the bonds, according to the text of the ordinances.

Also on Monday, the commission:

• Issued a $50,000 contract to Sites Southwest, an Albuquerque consulting firm, for compiling the county’s next five-year comprehensive plan. The contract will be paid with federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds.

• Approved applications for Volunteer Fire Assistance grants from the New Mexico Energy Minerals and Natural Resources Department for the Bard-Endee, Fire District One, and Porter fire districts. County Fire Marshall Donald Adams said the grants, which are for $20,000 or under, pay for equipment such as personal protective equipment, first-aid kits, radios and tools for the fire districts.

• Authorized Curtis Simpson, the county’s emergency management coordinator, to seek a quarterly emergency management performance grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

• Proclaimed the week of Oct. 23 as Red Ribbon Week to highlight efforts of the Quay County Driving While Intoxicated-prevention program to discourage use of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs among young people. Red Ribbon Week culminates in an annual Red Ribbon Carnival, which will be held Oct. 28 at the Quay County Fairgrounds, according to Susan Lease, the county’s DWI prevention specialist.


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