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Evangeline Parish Police Jury by 1 6-3 vote approves tax exempt measure for new Bayou Chicot Solar Farm

On Monday night, after much discussion, the Evangeline Parish Police Jury approved the Request by IBV Energy Partners and/or Bayou Chicot Solar, LLC for certain tax exemptions and other considerations negotiated by the Industrial Development Board for the Bayou Chicot Solar Farm with a vote of 6-3.  This project is now ready to move on to the next phase.

After opening items, the public was invited to speak on agenda items, and there were numerous speakers who had comments and questions about the Request by IBV Energy Partners and/or Bayou Chicot Solar, LLC for certain tax exemptions and other considerations.  Earlier in the day, the Industrial Development Board and other community leaders met with IBV Energy Partners to amend the resolution adopted on March 19th.   Note that this resolution is only attributable to the Bayou Chicot Solar Project.  The Ad Valorem Pilot was changed from a 75-25 split to a 72 – 28 deal for the first 15 years of the project.  In the 16th year of the project and going forward, the company will be obligated to pay 100% of the ad valorem taxes that will then be assessed.  The maximum increase in the value was removed from the resolution, so the Parish can share in the total increase in value of the project, but the minimum valuation of $240 million was kept in the resolution.  A Sales Tax Pilot was also added, so that the company will pay $5,000,000 in sales taxes.  When this is added to the amount being collected from IBV, the incentive changes to 60-40, and this is the best deal that currently exists in the state of Louisiana based on research done by the Parish Tax Assessor.  Funds collected will be distributed according to the Ad Valorem schedule in place.  These changes were made in accordance with the concerns of the Jury Members and their constituents.  The total amount of funds expected to be collected in the first fifteen years of this project is $58 million.

There were questions about the tax incentives, and what amounts of money will be realized by the Parish.  There were concerns about the way the moneys will be divided among the taxing entities.  People also wanted to know what jobs will be created and if local businesses will be hired for work to be done.  All of these issues were discussed by the Jury and the Representatives from the Industrial Development Board. 

Troy Wayman from One Acadiana spoke at the meeting.  He let everyone know that IBV plans an initial investment in this Parish of $169 million.  There will be many jobs during the construction phase.  The tax impact from sales in the first year and a half is expected to be $4,000,000.  The total amount in taxes projected to be collected for the first 15 years is $58 million.  The power infrastructure will be improved by this investment as well.

IBV has proposed to award $2000 scholarships for one graduating senior from each of the five high schools in the Parish.  The split of the funds will be 53% to the Police Jury, 8% to the Sheriff, and 39% to the School Board.

This project has been under way for four years.  All of the due diligence has been done. The argument was put forth that this project will set a precedent for future industries considering this parish for development, and that this is something the needs to be done for the future of the parish, and for the children and grandchildren.

When the resolution was put to a vote by the Board, there were three votes in opposition – Kevin Veillon, Darion Arvie and Daniel Arvie.  Those in favor included Bryan Vidrine, Keith Saucier, Sidney Fontenot, Ryan Ardoin, Timothy Causey, and Brent Guillory.  This project was approved to move to the next phase.

At the closing of that discussion, IDB Board Member Wayne Vidrine asked the Police Jury Board to strongly consider an industrial park near the highway.  The Parish loses potential investing companies because there is no access to a four lane highway.

The Board then continued on with the remaining Agenda for the meeting.

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