The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power wants to build a 200 megawatt solar project south of Independence. LA will get all the taxes from the project and the power. What does Inyo get? Not much, according to a proposed Term Sheet negotiated by Inyo and DWP staff.
The Board of Supervisors approved the non-binding term sheet, created by County Administrator Kevin Carunchio and attorney Greg James, at a meeting last week. Supervisor Jeff Griffiths was the lone no vote. Griffiths said he has not seen even a description of the project, does not know the impacts and wants to see the Draft EIR and the public’s reaction before he votes on anything.
What is known is that the project would include a million solar panels over two square miles and generate 200 megawatts of power. There is no physical description, no knowledge of visibility and ground disturbance and no public input so far.
In the seven page Term Sheet, County staff spelled out what DWP wants to do. The report says once the County okays the Term Sheet, that would become the basis of a Memorandum of Understanding. The Term Sheet is non-binding. That document says LADWP would make a one-time payment to Inyo of $4.5 million to offset project-related costs. County Administrator Kevin Carunchio said the costs to the general fund are estimated at $6.1 million. This would include law enforcement, other services for the several hundred workforce and monitoring of the project.
LA would loan Inyo $2 million to improve County campgrounds and local housing for employees to have a place to live. Carunchio said between 50 and 300 workers could come to town for the project with impacts on Independence and Lone Pine. The CAO said that it is his understanding that the Draft EIR would come out at the end of this month with a final decision by LA at the end of the year. Carunchio said there is a planned five-year build out of the project from 2014 to 2019.
Inyo would not get any tax benefit from this project, according to officials. Supervisor Griffiths said that Attorney Greg James told the Board that DWP’s project would be exempt from property taxes because of a state law. As for taxing materials, LA wants those taxes to go to the City of Los Angeles, not Inyo County. Supervisor Griffiths said that question is not completely answered.