Project planners preparing to address details
by Kurtis Workman
Press Staff Writer
The time crunch is on for county leaders wanting to bring more industry to Power County.
At an information meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 25, The Power County Commissioners, members of the Power County Industrial Development Board and project lead Ramesh Raman met to discuss the next step in the process for the natural gas ferterlizer plant project.
“I believe the next step is for the commissioners to appoint an Urban Renewal District Board and then that board can define the purpose and size of the Urban Renewal District,” said Raman.
Commission chairwoman Vicki Meadows concurred with Raman adding that deadlines are looming.
“As I understand it we have to appoint a board with staggered terms and from there the members are elected. The real issue is that we have to establish that board prior to January 1, or we will have to wait an entire year to establish baseline tax assessments for the Urban Renewal District,” said Meadows.
Power County Assessor Doug Glascock explained the process.
“In order to use that year’s tax assessments the board has to be in place prior to the assessment certification, which happens on January 1 of each year. Missing the deadline this coming January we will have to wait until January 1, 2015,” said Glascock.
Raman said there are many other details to figure out before the natural gas fertilizer plant can move forward and many of those details hinge on the creation of an Urban Renewal District.
“I would like to target January 1. We need to decide how much will need to go into the Urban Renewal District and how much will need to go into the general obligation fund, but to establish those numbers we need to have an Urban Renewal District established,” said Raman.
The Power County Industrial Development Board will contact legal counsel and set up a meeting to address specifics.
Board member Dan Hammond said he would work to schedule the meeting as quickly as possible.
“We want to get this set up as quickly as we can, but we do not know what the lawyers schedule is so much of the scheduling will be based around that availability. We also don’t know if the lawyer we have used in the past for other parts of this project is knowledgeable about this topic. I am sure he can recommend someone if he is not comfortable doing the work himself,” said Hammond.
Hammond said the attorney he planned to contact was Boise attorney Richard Skinner of Skinner Fawcett LLP.
Raman and the Power County Commissioners spoke about the lack of public information being offered about the project’s progress.
Raman said the project is at a difficult stage.
“We have been having fits and starts getting the right people to the table, but I feel we are at a point to start getting the public involved,” said Raman.
Raman explained to the commission that a website is being developed with an “extensive frequently-asked-questions section”.
Raman explained the detailed difficulties of speaking to the general public about the project prior to Wednesday’s meeting.
“We are only now getting to the point where we are talking with contractors and engineers about specifics. It has been hard to answer questions because people want specifics and before this point we had none to give,” said Raman.