Tensions high over Terrell Co. solar system proposal - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Tensions high over Terrell Co. solar system proposal

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TERRELL COUNTY, GA (WALB) -

Tensions were high inside the Terrell County commissions meeting Wednesday.

The board room fell silent as Chairman Wilbur Gamble headed for the door, refusing to hear a proposal for a new Solar Panel farm, that was heard before Terrell County board of commissioners. He claims the subject wasn't properly added to the agenda.

"The meeting was more or less hijacked and they told me this meeting wasn't a public hearing but it wasn't anything but a public hearing meeting," said Gamble.

First Solar, a company based in California, is asking for tax abatements to move in an 80 MegaWatt solar system north of Bronwood.

It's something chairman Gamble says he also isn't on board with. He says the county could be put in financial risk in a 20 year investment.

"I would like for it to stand on its own," said Gamble. "I'd like for it to do what I do and what all the other business people, pay your taxes and don't ask for concessions."

Many of the commissioners disagree, saying it's high dollar investment, with no out of pocket costs.

"We've negotiated 80 percent down to 60 percent of abatement, which means more money for the county," said Ed Duskin, Development Authority Chair, in agreement with the commissioners. "We hope the school system will get more money than the county will get, roughly 7 million dollars."

It could also provide 60 plus initial jobs for construction and at least 3 jobs to maintain upkeep of the property.

One thing Terrell County leaders do agree is more information on the solar farm project is needed if it is to get approval from the Development Authority and the County Commission.

"I'm not saying I wouldn't support it," said the Chairman. "but, I won't support it as is right now."

Until that happens, Chairman Gamble says he'll be working with the board for the county's best interest.

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