I promised you a little information about the ‘Wind Forum’ that was held in Skowhegan on Tuesday night. Perhaps the best way to describe it is to share with you the letter that I sent to the Somerset County Commissioners after that meeting.
I believe that our County Commissioners are hard working, honest folks, who really want to do the right thing.
Unfortunately, I also believe that they are being bombarded with misinformation from many quarters when it comes to Wind Development, and this TIF Proposal. So, as a concerned and very interested Citizen, I continue to do my best to point out the misinformation, and to try to ensure that they have a chance to receive the facts before they make any decision.
I have faith in our County Commissioners. Given time to study the facts, I believe they will do the right thing.
Below is a copy of the letter which I recently sent them, on company letterhead.
TO: Somerset County Commissioners;
Robert Dunphy, Gerald York, Lynda Quinn
CC: Larry Post; Somerset County Administrator
Larry Dunphy, State Representative
RE: Wind Informational Forum of 12-7-10
I must tell you that I am extremely disappointed in last nights ‘Informational Forum.’ When the idea of such a meeting was first brought up at one of your regular Commissioner’s meetings, we were told that the purpose was to learn the facts, and to educate the Citizens, and the Commissioners, of Somerset County about the pending TIF proposal. That is not what happened last night.
What happened last night was not an educational or fact finding meeting. What happened last night was propaganda.
Instead of an Informational Forum, hosted by our County Officials, we got a meeting hosted by the Somerset Economic Development Corporation; a non Governmental, non elected Corporation, with an admitted financial stake in such projects. While such a meeting might have its place, it can not replace an unbiased and open presentation of the facts.
The main presentation, by Dylan Voorhees, of the Natural Resources Council of Maine, another non elected representative, of a non Governmental organization, with an admitted bias for Wind Power, was so far from being factual that if this were not such a serious matter, it would be laughable.
Mr. Voorhees presented opinion and unfounded conclusions as fact, with no real opportunity for fact finding discussion. Much of his presentation was misleading at best, and parts of it were downright dishonest. If you were to sit down and go through his Power Point Presentation point by point, with anyone who has done even basic research into the subject, I believe you would agree. Beyond this, the fact that a large part of his presentation revolved around money and jobs, two subjects which he openly admitted that his group does not study or have expertise in, further shows that his presentation was fundamentally flawed.
When this process began, the purpose was to decide if a TIF package, encouraging First Wind to locate a Wind Development in Somerset County, was a good idea; to find out if it was good for the People of Somerset County.
But lately, it appears that the discussion has devolved into simply; “How much money can we get, and how can we spread it around.” This was never the question before the Commissioners, and this process should not be allowed to follow that mindset. While this is certainly an economic question, there are economics beyond, “what will the Development bring in,” that must be considered. In determining if granting a TIF is in the best interest of the Citizens of Somerset County, there are also a host of other economic, environmental, and social issues to be considered. So far, these all seem to have taken a back seat to that question of “how much money will this bring us, and who gets it.”
I really hope that the Commissioners will take the time to fully understand the implications of this process and this decision, and will move forward in a way that puts the best interest of the average Citizen of Somerset County, those who will have to live with all of the consequences of such a decision, at the forefront.
I have put a lot of time and effort into studying this issue, and I would be more than happy to share my knowledge, or to help you to seek out your own independent experts if you wish to do further research on your own. As the elected officials representing the people of Somerset County, I believe you owe it to them to study this issue and to seek out information and advice from people who do not have a financial or political stake in seeing such projects move forward.
To do any less would be to fail the very people whom you were elected to represent.
As always, I thank you for your time, and I am at your disposal if I can ever be of service to you or the people of Somerset County.
David P. Corrigan