July 13, 2008

College Considering Power Plant Support: Backing Tax Break, Water Sales on Agenda

By Bob Belcher, Corsicana Daily Sun, Texas

Jul. 13--Navarro College Trustees will vote Thursday on the question of supporting county tax abatements and water sales by the City of Corsicana to the two proposed gas-fired power plants in Navarro County.

Dr. Richard Sanchez, college district president, said the item was placed on the board's agenda after trustees heard a presentation from Lee McCleary, city and county economic development director, at the board's June meeting. McCleary was asked to speak at that meeting by college trustee Dr. James Price during the board's announcement time.

"The trustees want to recommend that the county provide the abatement, and the city sell the water," Sanchez said.

Sanchez also said he would recommend college board itself approve abatements to the power plants should they request them from Navarro College.

"Most entities come to us requesting a tax abatement ... we would gladly approve a tax abatement request for the power plants," Sanchez said.

Should college trustees vote to support tax abatements from the county and water sales by the city of Corsicana, they'll join a growing list of entities that are voicing support for the proposed power plants.

The cities of Dawson and Rice voiced their endorsements of the abatement and water sales questions this week, as did a vote of the Corsicana Apartment Association. Kerens and Frost city governments gave their approval at meetings in June.

The Corsicana/Navarro County Chamber of Commerce has also publicly endorsed granting abatement requests and providing water for the power plants, should they build in the county.

The second proposed plant has now filed for an air emissions permit with the state of Texas. The Navarro Generating LLC requested a state permit on June 27, according to Andrea Morrow, spokeswoman for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

The Navarro Generating LLC is a subdivision of Babcock & Brown, a San Francisco-based investment company, according to filings with the Texas Secretary of State's office.

That application will go through an administrative review, then there will be a 30-day window for public comments, and then begins the technical review. Pin Oak, the operator of the other proposed plant first applied back in December. Its application is currently undergoing a technical review.


Daily Sun staff writer Janet Jacobs contributed to this story. Bob Belcher may be reached via e-mail at [email protected]


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