A Lee's Summit based company is interested in placing nearly 11,000 solar panels at Trenton to create electricity for an energy pool that includes Trenton and other communities in Missouri.
The 10,750 solar panels would be on about 14 acres of City land at the north edge of Trenton.
The firm interested in building the solar farm at Trenton, M C Power Companies, owns a similar facility at Butler in west Central Missouri, and wants to develop other solar farms in Missouri----including Macon.
M C Power would purchase the land at Trenton. The purchase price was listed at $70,000 during a meeting yesterday of the Trenton City Council's Economic Development Committee.
Members of the Committee expressed support for the proposed project and sent the topic to the full City Council for its consideration.
A preliminary cost benefit analysis for the City of Trenton shows the project paying for itself in less than 10 years. The largest expenses to the City would be to make electric and water distribution extensions to the site. Much smaller costs would be for legal and professional services, site testing, and preliminary development.
Costs, during a 10 year period, are estimated at around $748,000. Benefits are projected at nearly $1.1 million.
Costs, during a 20 year period, are projected at nearly $881,000 while benefits are listed at $1.8 million.
The challenge is where to get the money for the electric and water distribution system extensions. Part of the funding could come from available money from the previously approved certificates of participation program.
That program, which uses borrowed money, also is being utilized for other Trenton Municipal Utilities projects. Some of the funds for the electric and water distribution extensions also could come from existing TMU reserves.
The electric and water distribution services also are seen as making the land more attractive for other developments. And, if there's more development, sewer services to that area also are seen as more feasible.
The cost to extend water to the site is listed as $325,000. The electric distribution system costs are projected at $170,000 for an extension, $50,000 for metering, and
$50,000 for engineering.
The largest direct benefit from the proposed solar farm project is a savings of about $45,000 a year in power wheeling fees TMU would not have to pay because of the
energy created by the solar farm.
The project also is projected to generate a combined $9,200 a year in property taxes that would be divided among the various local taxing entities.
Also listed on the benefits side of the cost/benefit analysis is $30,000 a year in tipping fee income from a transfer station planned by Rapid Removal Trash Service which has facilities near the site where the solar farm would be constructed.
Although the solar farm would have construction jobs, no jobs have been announced for operating the solar facility. The City of Trenton would not be responsible for the solar panels. Economic Development Committee Chairman, Travis Elbert, said the City has very little risks.
Trenton Municipal Utilties and MC Power Companies also had representatives attending yesterday's meeting.
In other news from yesterday's meeting of the Trenton City Council's Economic Development Committee, Trenton Community Developer, Ralph Boots, again expressed his belief that a wire harness assembly company will locate a plant at Trenton if it finds the right candidate for a supervisor/manager. Boots said the company wants to hire a local person. Trenton is said to be among 2 communities the company is considering for the plant.
Boots said improvements still are planned for the Eastgate Shopping Center, but the owner no longer is considering the use of tax increment financing for the improvements. Boots indicated the improvements are to be less extensive than the approximate
$1.7 million originally planned.
The Economic Development Committee also briefly discussed the possibility of seeking voter approval for a lodging sales tax. The tax, if approved, would be used to promote local tourism. Numerous cities in Missouri have such a tax. A partial list of those cities was distributed at the meeting. They include Chillicothe, Kirksville, and St. Joseph. The tax is on bills for lodging---- such as persons staying at motels. Proponents say revenue from the tax is used to attract persons to the community where the tax is collected, thereby increasing business for the motels, gas stations, restaurants, and others.
A 4% tax was mentioned at the Economic Development Committee meeting as a possible amount at Trenton---although no specific amount was recommended. The topic has been forwarded to the full Trenton City Council for its consideration.