Solar farm abatement denied

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Troy City Council denied a request by Eagle Solar Group on Tuesday for approximately $3 million in sales tax abatements.

Eagle Solar Group representative Dave Herskovits previously told the council that getting the tax abatement would be a prerequisite for bringing the solar farm project to Troy.

Residents from the affected area, which would be off of Butter and Egg Road near Arrowhead Drive, spoke to the council and the attending public about their concerns regarding the project.

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Dr. Elizabeth Grubbs, who said she was chosen to represent the community of Arrowhead Drive, told the council that the neighborhood desired for the council to deny the abatements.

“We fear expansion,” Grubbs told the council. “We fear  the negative impact of the materials the project may be made of… We strongly believe these projects are more suited for remote areas.”

Grubbs said the residents did not feel they had heard enough about any benefits the project would bring to the city to outweigh their concerns.

Matthew Ellis of the Creekstand Subdivision also asked the council to deny the abatement.

The council effectively denied the motion when no council member made a motion to approve the abatement resolution. City Clerk Alton Starling said that the City had requested more details regarding the abatements but had not received any additional information from the company. The council did approve the additional $175,000 that it agreed to commit toward the joint training facility agreement it has with CGI and Troy University to go towards the building of a new joint trainin facility at University Park, the location of CGI.

Mayor Jason Reeves explained that the facility is used by all three entities and that the yearly committment only counts against the city’s debt limit for each year it’s approved. The agreement lasts 20 years. Councilman Marcus Paramore abstained from the vote as he is employed by Troy University.

The council also passed a resolution that would allow officials to withhold state income returns for those who are in debt to the city as one option to recover the owed money.

The council awarded a bid to supply a 115 kilovolt power circuit breaker for the Elm Street Substation to ABB, Inc. for $57,900. The council also awarded a bid to furnish baseball and softball uniforms for the recreation department to the sole bidder Ideal Graphics for $7 per shirt and $6 per hat. The council reappointed Doug Patterson to direct the Troy Hospital Healthcare Authority. The council also approved the relocation of water and sewer lines between Spurlock Iron and Metal and Best Western while the Alabama Department of Transportation does work in the area. ALDOT is required to reimburse the city for the funds.