In response to Gary Dowell’s letter, “Blood from a Turnip?”:
City Council has established alternative energy as a priority and accepted a proposal from Engineered Process Systems to implement an alternative energy program, including the installation of wind turbines at certain public facilities, as part of a larger economic development strategy — to create local market conditions that encourage new investment in the community.
In June, EPS representatives met with the lieutenant governor in Houston, to introduce him to officials from a European wind turbine company interested in the possibility of making its turbines in Huron. Presently, ODOD has grant options capped at $150,000. Our aim is to increase this grant level, requiring less local money. Council wants to draw manufacturing to the City. This $10,000 investment is directed at both goals.
Council has not spent local funds on the acquisition of the former ConAgra property. As has been widely reported, the entire property was purchased by ODNR. The state gave the northern 10 acres to the city for development, and awarded a $3 million grant to manage the construction of a public boat ramp project on the southern half of the property. All costs of developing the boat ramp portion of this property, including the $200,000 demolition contract, are being paid by the state, not the city.
Council approved $47,950 for a market feasibility study for the development of its portion of the ConAgra property, as recommended by its Economic Development Committee, to clearly identify current opportunities and properly align municipal resources to realize them. This is a basic first step in the development of this type of property.
Inappropriate planning for large public projects leads to reckless outcomes; appropriate planning comes with a cost. These expenditures are proactive and designed to increase public services without increasing tax collections. The expenditures were supported through the redistribution of current revenues. Neither income nor property taxes were increased to provide for these expenditures.
Andrew D. White
Huron City Manager