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March 26, 2012

Reimers stands behind her research

I knew when I submitted my letter to the paper regarding the very controversial subject of wind that I'd create conflict.  However, I stand behind my original article but feel it is imperiative to my reputation and to the readers that I respond to recent letter's to the editor Galen Eberhart's "Reimers Research on wind falls short".
My letter was based on the drafting of a County Wide ordinance.  I know I stated this fact very clearly but it seems as though participants want to concentrate on the three townships that are in the proposed project area.  As a Plan Commission member I am working on a countywide ordinance therefore I would be misleading the public if I only took Washington, Jefferson and Cleveland townships into consideration.   That said my statistics as stated in my original letter are accurate and stand as written.
When I stated that we don't "need" this project to survive due to our Economic Development.  I still agree with that statement because it was based again on Countywide.  I am not looking at the individual townships within the proposed project area.  I know that Eberhart is emotionally and financially connected to the proposed project townships, their tax base and population per square mile, but I am still focused on the Countywide ordinance as I should be.  It would be misleading if I wasn't taking the entire county into account.
Tax abatements? As a former Tax Deputy, Level I & II Assessor and Coordinator I definitely understand the tax abatement process.  Because you mentioned it, I feel obligated to inform the taxpayers how tax abatements do cost the taxpayer money and much more than a dime. I have voted for tax abatements in the past and all I stated in my original letter is that they were going to ask for one and if they didn't get it they wouldn't be able to proceed.  Please read below, I hope this helps you and the readers understand tax abatements.
*Tax abatement is a tool used by local government to attract private investment and job creation by exempting all or a portion of the new or increased assessed value resulting from new investment from the property tax roll.  Tax abatement can be granted on either real or personal property.  Real property abatements can be granted for both new construction and rehabilitation, with the abatement limited to the increase in assessed value attributable to the new construction or rehabilitation. Personal property tax abatements can be granted to any manufacturing equipment (new or used) that has not previously been taxed in Indiana. Personal property such as laboratory equipment and computers used in experimental research and development laboratories is also eligible for tax abatement.
Tax abatement can be granted for between 1 to 10 years. Only in year 1 is the total amount of new assessed value exempt from paying property tax. In each succeeding year, the share of the previously exempted assessed value that is taxable increases. In most cases the granting of tax abatement will reduce the amount of property taxes paid by the owner by approximately 50 percent over the full abatement period. 
For example, the schedule for ten-year abatement is as follows:
                Real Property                     Personal Property
Year 1 – 100% exempt                    Year 1 – 100% exempt
Year 2 – 95% exempt                      Year 2 – 90% exempt
Year 3 – 80% exempt                      Year 3 – 80% exempt
Year 4 – 65% exempt                      Year 4 – 70% exempt
Year 5 – 50% exempt                      Year 5 – 60% exempt
Year 6 – 40% exempt                      Year 6 – 50% exempt
Year 7 – 30% exempt                      Year 7 – 40% exempt
Year 8 – 20% exempt                      Year 8 – 30% exempt
Year 9 – 10% exempt                      Year 9 – 20% exempt
Year 10 – 5% exempt                      Year 10 -10% exempt
Year 11 – first year of full property tax payment
Finally, my only hope in publishing any letter or article to the paper is to improve the communication between residents and elected


Kindest regards,
Paula Reimers

*Source:  http://www.in.gov

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March 21, 2012

Windmills would ruin our harmony

A drive across Whitley County reveals quaint farms and idyllic little towns whispering serene harmony.   But, lately, our peaceful roadsides are dotted with signs either defending or opposing a proposed wind farm to be constructed in the southern part of the county;  60% of the turbines to be located in Cleveland Township, 30% in Washington and 10% in Jefferson townships.
Wind farms are not new to the United States so much information exists about the pros and cons of wind energy.  But, one thing is certain; once the wind turbines are constructed, they are there to stay for a very long time.  Therefore, it is wise for every tax-paying Whitley County resident to seek information about this proposed wind farm, especially the long-term financial obligations we will all face.
Therefore, please plan to attend the Whitley County Planning Commission meeting and public hearing on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 6 p.m. at the 4-H Center in Columbia City.  Whitley County residents will have an opportunity to ask questions and voice their concerns about the wind farm. 

Debra Zawlocki

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