Turning down money is never easy, but the Port Authority of Allen County did the right thing in denying the request of Apex Clean Energy to stretch transmission lines across southwest Allen County.
Their decision, made by a unanimous vote Thursday, respects the concerns of residents while not entirely killing the plans by the Virginia company to transmit electricity from wind turbines to a substation in southwest Lima. It does, however, put the onus on Apex to negotiate directly with landowners about use of their property. Apex had sought to avoid that by getting an easement along a railroad track.
Townships, the village of Spencerville and area agencies stood to gain more revenue for their operations had the easement passed. Apex said during the next 30 years, “potential” tax benefits would have been $4.9 million for Shawnee Township, $4.1 million to Amanda Township, $3.1 million to Spencer Township and $550,000 to Spencerville.
Shawnee Township Trustee Dave Belton raised a good point. He noted the figures Apex tossed out sounded like a lot of money, but none of it was guaranteed and it was spread out over three decades.
“When you break that ($4.1 million) over 30 years, it amounts to $136,666,” he said. “Our budget for our township alone annually is about $11 million, so that is a small amount. Also, out of that $136,666, that would be split among the schools, senior citizens, the parks and all the entities that collect a tax. If we would even get 23 percent, it would give us maybe a half-mile of paving, or it would barely buy us a police car.”
It’s not worth it, some of the property claim, when you consider the health risks from the electromagnetic field generated by the lines and the potential negative impact on property values.
To convince them otherwise, Apex will not be able to do an end run.