Counties, municipalities eye impact fees

Rock River, Laramie and Albany County are requesting more than twice as much funding than municipalities in Carbon County from the Industrial Siting Council to prepare for the construction of a wind turbine facility that would affect both counties.

Albany County Commission Chairman Tim Chesnut said he met with the council recently to present how the entities in the two counties determined how the funds should be divided. The largest portion of funds would go to Albany County entities because the proposed wind turbine facility would be located 10 miles north of Rock River and 15 miles east of Medicine Bow, he said.

“The Boswell Springs project is coming in and the affected municipalities have to put up a claim to what their impact is going to be on their county,” Chesnut said. “The project has to set aside a certain amount of money to go toward (preparing for the increase of people).”

According to information provided by the Albany County Clerk’s Office, the funds would provide support for an increase in government services such as roads, public safety and infrastructure expected with the influx of people. The closest town to the project, Rock River, requested more than $3 million in impact funds to provide additional road, water, sewage and fire services, county clerk information states.

The funding each municipality receives could change Monday when the council meets and decides how to divide the roughly $12.4 million of the impact funding, Chesnut said. He said how hearing deciding how to allocate the funding recently changed and some difficulties for the entities when presenting their requested amounts to the council.

“The way it was done in the past — and the way I thought we did it this time — was we were given a number by the applicant and the industrial siting committee that we were supposed to divide up,” he said. “There was maximum and a minimum that we didn’t know about, so when the questioner questioned that we were being piggish and asking for the maximum amount of money.”

Along with presenting how much each entity would receive, the council also discussed how parts to build the facility without transporting the parts through Laramie on trucks, Chesnut said. During their discussion of how to transport the parts, he said there is a rail split south of Laramie that could be used to move the materials, but it was taken by the council as the commission was attempting to reduce completion from other transporting options, he said.

“In the application they said they were going to truck all of the supplies in but WYDOT did not want them to do that, and rather they use rail as much as they could,” Chesnut said. “It was just odd when the council questioned if we were making (only using the rail split south of Laramie) a condition or that we didn’t like competition.”

The Boswell Springs Project application states between May 2018 and Aug. 2020 an average of 98 workers would build 110-170 wind turbine generators and an underground collection facility. Construction is predicted to cost about $495 million and would have 15 wind turbine technicians there after construction is complete, the application states.

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