CIRCLEVILLE — The Pickaway County Commissioners have announced their agreement for the Atlanta Solar Farm Project, being developed by Savion taking place in Western Pickaway County near Atlanta.

The project, which began development in 2016, submitted a permit application to the Ohio Power Sitting Board in late January 2020. Savion has not yet received the permit to move forward but the proposal is on the Dec. 17 Agenda for a meeting of the Ohio Power Sitting Board. If they received it, the project would begin this summer.

Brian Stewart, Pickaway County Commissioner, said this is something they’ve dedicated the last 18 months to because of its impact around the county.

“Our county is very attractive for solar energy because we have flat land, more sunshine than northern counties, and large overhead power lines running the length of the county,” Stewart said. “Under current law, these fields can generate a significant amount of local revenue over a long period of time, but we negotiated for the county to instead receive $6 million essentially upfront, to be paid in 2021 and 2022. In addition, another $1.75 million in assessments will be paid by the company each year, for the next 25 years, to be disbursed to Westfall Schools, where the project is located, local government entities in the area, and other entities receiving millage, like the Pickaway County Park District, Pickaway County Developmental Disabilities, and the Pickaway Senior Center.”

The $6 million upfront funding has no earmark and can be put into the general fund for any project the Pickaway County Commissioners see fit.

The new board begins next year as Stewart’s seat will be filled by Gary Scherer alongside current Commissioners Jay Wippel and Harold “Champ” Henson.

“The new board will be in a position to evaluate things as they come up,” Stewart said. “Sometimes it makes sense to use it for debt, like with the Fairgrounds or on a capital project. There is a whole range of things these funds could be used for.”

Stewart said the added money puts a nice cap on his 8 years as commissioner in which he, Henson and Wippel have taken the county from a $2.2 million carryover to $11.5 million at the end of this year.

“This money will allow Pickaway County to be financially secure our future for a decade not just year to year,” Stewart said. “It will be a huge boost to our schools and other political subdivisions as well.”

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