Schleicher County Commissioners met Monday, April 5th at the Memorial Building where they heard from Mike Fry, a representative of Bridgelink Cave Springs, LLC, the company that is planning to build a solar farm on the Schleicher/Tom Green County line.

Fry presented the commissioners with a $1,000 check to cover the application fee for the tax abatement his company is seeking.

The proposed 324 megawatt solar farm will straddle the county line with roughly 37% of the project to be located in Schleicher County. Fry said 200 jobs will be created during the construction phase with one full-time employee slated to service the Schleicher County portion of the project.

Fry said the southern part of the project would be valued at about $98 million.
He asked that the county abate 100% of the taxes in return for an annual payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) over a 10-year period. The payment would be about $81,600 per year with the full project becoming taxable after 10 years at a greatly reduced rate due to depreciation of the solar farm’s value.

Fry said he expected that value to be about $19 million and carry into the future “in perpetuity.”

It was also noted that the ag use land involved in the project would also keep its ag value.

If approved, Bridgelink would see about 80% of its taxes abated over the first 10 years.

County Treasurer Jennifer Henderson informed the commissioners that she is in favor of accepting the proposal and receiving the PILOT payment.

A motion, offered by Schleicher County Judge Charlie Bradley, was approved and the $1,000 application fee was accepted. The county will hire attorney Robert Bass to finalize details on the abatement deal.

In other business, the commissioners received a natural gas bill from the City of Eldorado totaling more than $8,000 for a two-month period that included February’s winter storm.

A county-wide burn ban also remains in place after it was extended.

The commissioners also approved a resolution for a public defender office.
The program will set up a regional office in San Angelo with grant funds from area counties to house attorneys and staff who will help represent indigent and juvenile offenders. The move is expected to save Schleicher County about $8,500 in the two years of the program.

Conon Emmons signed a lease on behalf of the Eldorado Golf Club so that a pavilion can be built between the club house and concession stand. The lease area includes the concrete slab, concession stand and bathrooms near the youth baseball fields. The court approved the 60-month lease with automatic renewal as prepared by County Attorney Clint Griffin.

Before adjourning, the commissioners approved a policy and specifications for installation and maintenance of driveway culverts on county road right-of-ways.

Judge Charlie Bradley presided over Monday’s meeting with Commissioners Steve Nelson, Gary Gibson and Chris Meador in attendance. Commissioner Kirk Griffin was absent.

The next meeting of the Schleicher County Commissioners Court is slated for 9 a.m. on Monday, April 19th in the Memorial Building.