Tribunal of Commissioners re-approves reinvestment area for BT Solterra Solar, along with 381 deal
The Hopkins County Commissioners Court on Monday morning January 10, 2022 again approved a reinvestment area and also approved a 381 agreement for BT Solterra Solar, LLC.
Austin Willis, director of solar and storage for Belltown Power Texas, explained Monday morning that the reinvestment area is exactly the same as that approved by the court in November 2021 for BT Solterra Solar. However, due to an oversight by the local newspaper, the notices for the reinvestment area were never published as required.
“We think it was just an oversight from the log. We don’t think there was any malice. It was just overlooked and pushed back for something else,” County Judge Robert Newsom said.
So the notices that were due out before the November 2021 vote have been posted since the error was discovered and the court again held a public hearing and then all three members of the court present (Commissioner of Precinct 3 Wade Bartley and Precinct 4 Commissioner Joe Price (both absent from the January 10, 2022 court session) voted to establish the reinvestment area as presented for BT Solerra.
During the public hearing conducted January 10, 2022, prior to the vote approving the reinvestment area for the construction of BT Solerra Solar in the Saltillo area, Sulfur Springs-Hopkins County Director of Economic Development Roger Feagley, noted that the reinvestment area simply establishes a geographic area. area for which the solar plant developer may claim a tax incentive at some point in the future. This is particularly important as it is necessary for BT Solerra to seek approval under Chapter 312 from the Hopkins County Hospital District Board for a tax abatement for the solar project.
Hopkins County resident Mac Pitts asked how long the reinvestment zone would be. Feagley indicated that it would be for 5 years, but would be renewable up to 10 years. The zone begins in January 2022 and would be valid until 2027, when it could be renewed for another five years until 2032. The zone covers 1354 acres.
BT Solterra applied for tax incentives from Saltillo ISD and on Monday applied for and received a 381 approval from the Hopkins County Commissioners Court. The company will have to pay all taxes, for the approximately 1,354 acres spread over 15 different parcels leased from Los Senderos Cattle and Ranch Company and Delbert Chip Tully. Upon fulfillment of the terms of the agreement, BT Solterra Solar would receive a 100% tax refund for the 2023-2033 tax years, or commencing with the tax year in which the on-site construction of the project has started and at least 25% of the minimum investment. $100 million from the valuation date for that taxation year.
According to the 381 agreement, the investment for the project will be at least $100 million with a target of $140 million in improvements, new personal property and business equipment, but excluding placed inventory. on the property. The project must be fully constructed by December 31, 2023, and the developer is required to submit invoices, receipts, or other documents to the county in court for expenditures made for the minimum investment of $100 million. , and a certificate of completion by Dec. 31, 2023.
The project will provide at least one full-time position that will receive an average salary by December 31, 2023, for which an annual compliance audit must be provided for the 10 years of the 381 agreement. The proponent must also submit a annual tax assessment by the local assessment district and pay taxes each year, then will be refunded, after meeting all requirements.
The developer has agreed to build at least 25% of the minimum investment in tax year 2023 or later to pay a PILOT payment (payment in lieu of taxes) each year through 2032 equal at $880 times the greater of the overall nameplate capacity located in the county and the 140 megawatt AC. The developer may also pay a one-time amount to be included in the 2023 tax year PILOT payment equal to the greater of $440 multiplied by the greater of the Aggregate Nameplate Capacity (defined in the Agreement as the Generating Capacity total or total of improvements on the property in megawatts AC) located in the county and 140 megawatts AC for road repairs and maintenance.