Putnam County sent a delegation to the Georgia Public Service Commission meeting Tuesday 18 June 2013. You’ve already seen Rep. Rusty Kidd; next up was the Putnam County manager.
Unfortunately we had budgeted $275,000, so we’re about $100,000 a year short based on our estimates. That is directly attributable to the loss of coal sales from Plant Branch. Also on top of that we’re losing about $950,000 to $980,000 of property tax. That is about one seventh of our property tax receipts. This is a very big impact to the community.
About then he was interrupted by Chairman Chuck Eaton, who asked:
How does that work that you’ve got a functioning coal plant, and then you shut that coal plant down, I mean, so, at that point it’s time to reassess; the property’s simply worth less….
Van Haute remarked that after the removal of turbines, pumps, etc.,
Ultimately it will be a hulking superstructure that will be rusting for years.
He then asked the GA PSC to require Georgia Power to do something to remediate that property within five years, saying Georgia Power typically was very slow to get such properties off their books, citing Plant Arkwright in Macon as an unacceptable precedent.
Van Houte then translated that $100,000 SPLOST tax loss to specifics on an annual
- 8 sheriff’s cars
- 1 ambulance remount
- 1 piece of fire apparatus
- $500,000 in funding for the Putnam General hospital
- $80,000 in improvements to the rec department
That is a public safety, life safety, health and wellness component to the county that is detrimental.
Van Houte concluded by again urging the PSC to encourage Georgia Power to do something economically beneficial with the property.
Chairman Eaton remarked:
Solar would make up some if not all of the property tax, but it wouldn’t really help out with the SPLOST.
Van Houte agreed that was correct. He praised Georgia Power for telling the county in advance this plant closing was likely to happen. But he’s still got a problem in Putnam County.
Sure, Eaton has a point that Putnam County should revalue and rebudget, But the county can’t even easily go ahead and do solar on its own, because of that antique 1973 Territorial Electric Service Act that makes private financing hard to come by. GA PSC could just reinterpret that law not to apply to solar power, as rumor has it it almost did later in these same hearings. Or it could require Georgia Power to at least get on with solar on that site.
Here’s the video:
Putnam County Manager wants solar to replace coal
Georgia Power proposed closing of coal plants,
Administrative Session, GA Public Service Commission (GA PSC),
Doug Everrett (1: south Georgia), Tim Echols (2: east Georgia), Chairman Chuck Eaton (3: metro Atlanta), Stan Wise (5 north Georgia), Bubba McDonald (4: west Georgia),
Video by John S. Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE),
244 Washington Street SW, Atlanta, GA, 30334-9052, 18 June 2013.