Raleigh County Commission votes 2-to-1 in favor of tax payment for solar farm

BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – The Raleigh County Commission voted in its meeting today over whether to grant Raleigh Solar’s request for payment “in lieu of taxes” to build the Solar Farm that would be located on Grandview Road in Beaver.

The Commission voted in favor of the payment by a count of 2 to 1 this morning. The payment will be made over a 20 year period.

“Over the 20 year period, Raleigh Solar has agreed to pay the county a little over $2 million,” said Raleigh County Commission President Dave Tolliver. “Two million, 45,000 or whatever, to the county. Of course, everyone understands they have to go before the Board of Education and of course obviously get their approval. I don’t see why, surely, they’re not going to turn down $1.5 million over 20 years.”

Commissioner Linda K. Epling voted against the tax payment. She emphasized that she wasn’t against the Farm, but rather the method of payment.

“I’m not against the panels at all,” Epling said. “But, in lieu of taxes, people should pay their own taxes. That’s it.”

Commissioner Ron Hedrick represented the deciding vote in favor of the payment. However, he had other motivations in mind outside of the method.

“I’m focused more on the hope that this will bring other new businesses to the area,” Hedrick said. “I’ve been working for the last year trying to get this coal fertilizer factory built here. I’m hoping that, along with factories like that, other business will see that we’re a forward thinking county.”

Hedrick added another reason behind his decision is legislation stating that by 2024, 25% of all power in West Virginia has to come from alternative sources. It’s going to come. The question is how soon.