LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted May 9, 2022
I have stated in previous letters that I thought this County Board was anti development and how it could ruin any development in the future. It appears I may have been correct. Randal J. Miller(Miller Media) has noticed this attitude also. (April 26, 2022 DeWitt Daily News Editorial)
Last Thursday night the County Board passed a solar ordinance change which effectively prevents any development of any large solar projects. This was a recommended change from the Regional Planning Commission. The recommended language was voted on and passed, even though the States Attorney has repeatedly cautioned against such a change, as it could bring litigation against the County and could not be enforced! We've been down this road in the not so distant past and dodged a financial catastrophe!
Going forward with such a change, even against the advice of the States Attorney, shows that this Board and the RPC are anti development regardless of the consequences. Actions speak louder than words and these actions scream anti development!
Solar development contributes approximately the same revenue as wind developments without any of the drawbacks envisioned by the anti wind coalition. It also touches another argument of theirs about being told how to use their property. Another argument which was made was that it takes farmland out of production.
That is true, however if farmland being taken out of production is a major concern, then all of the setback land should be released and those subsidies should be used elsewhere. Solar farms have also shown that they have an advantage in as much as the area below the panels can grow vegetation conducive to sustain wildlife habitat. This is a huge positive in my book!
Reducing the opportunities to increase funding for basic services, education, and quality of life enhancement's seems counterproductive. Revenue increases without raising taxes are hard to come by and this is being done as the School Board is considering to attempt a one cent sales tax to help fund the District's needs
If it's needed then by all means it should be enacted, but, if that money can come from somewhere else why not take advantage of that source? Don't just blindly put it on the backs of taxpayers!
The money is needed in this County just to maintain our current obligations. An example of how tight our budget is, the County just sold off some of it's property to finance needed repairs at the Marina. When will it become necessary to do something similar in the future, as an example, to fund ambulance service or law enforcement? The other question is what would be sacrificed? The only other options are outside income or tax increases. The latter being the least desired and certainly the most burdensome.
Without outside sources of revenue the personal tax burden will become overbearing. The results would possibly be the reduction of residents in the County, eliminating or reducing basic services, business relocating to tax friendlier counties, and the death of the County as we know it.
I would hope that these bodies of government will consider all aspects of their actions when voting on all motions presented to them. To govern correctly you have to leave personal preference at the door and do what is right for the citizens within your sphere of influence.
Anti development is not an acceptable position or attitude when so much depends on it.
Lance M. Reece