Revenues from wind farm

By Donna Patterson, Community Comment April 27, 2010 02:10 pm

The Union Cemetery District, as part of the Strategic Investment Program that benefitted only formed districts, received $75,000 from the Elkhorn Valley Wind Farm Community Service Fee, during the past two-year period. (Figures in this letter are rounded off.)


This money was added to our annual budget and used to do things for our cemetery that historically we had not been able to do. The large projects include:

• Addressing our environmental responsibility by replacing the outdated watering system with an electronic underground irrigation system to use less water in a more efficient way.  Similar projects have seen as much as a 50 percent increase in application efficiency. (We had some money set aside for this so only part came from the windmill project). Total project cost: $74,000 with $37,000 coming from windmill monies.

• Repairing loose tombstones in the old part of the cemetery — $13,000. Over 1,000 stones were loose and presented injury and liability issues. Additionally, if destroyed, the old monuments are irreplaceable.

• Purchasing  badly needed commercial grade equipment that will allow our maintenance personnel to work more efficiently with less downtime for repairs and minimize damage to our cemetery grounds:.           

— Diesel tractor with loader, $12,000

— Commercial diesel lawnmower, $11,000

— Used diesel pickup truck with dump bed, $6,675

• Continue work on the Cremation Memorial site started by former Chairman Sydney Huffman by hiring a professional landscaper — $12,000

Other improvement items include road gravel, painting of buildings and the planting of 23 new trees.                                                                                                       

As the Community Service Fee is on a depreciating 15-year scale, down to $500 in year 15, a Reserve Fund has been set up to hold monies for the use of future boards. These funds are designated to be used for 1. equipment purchases 2. land acquisition; 3. disaster recovery, and 4. building structures. It has a current balance of $35,000. More will be added each year.

We want the people of Union to know that your elected cemetery officials are good stewards of the land you have entrusted us with and are fiducially responsible with cemetery funds including the disposition of the monetary “windfall” that we received from Horizon.

Although the Union Cemetery is listed on the proposed Antelope Ridge Project  according to the “Information on Wind Farm Assessment & Taxation” document put out by Linda Hill of the Union County Assessor/Tax Collector’s office, we have not been contacted by anyone from Horizon’s Antelope Ridge Project or the Union County Commission.

If our cemetery district is part of this new endeavor, we support any and all revenues to be put on the tax rolls that will benefit people in the Grande Ronde Valley equitably, and especially our City of Union, which is going to suffer the largest detrimental impact. We don’t support the SIP as proposed by the Union County Commissioners.

Submitted by the Union Cemetery Board, Donna Patterson, chairman; Kendall Baxter; and Craig George.