Mon County BOE signs off on Longview agreements

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Mon County Board of Education has voted to approve PILOT agreements II and III with Longview Power Tuesday night. Monongalia County commissioners and Longview Power are working the latest payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement for the $1.1 billion solar/natural gas expansion planned at the existing Maidesville facility.

The second agreement is an incentive to build the 710 megawatt, $2.2 billion coal plant locally, Longview signed a PILOT agreement in 2003 worth $105 million over 40 years.

Longview officials say the new agreement will be worth $58 million over 30 years. The Longview website says they will pay $5 million annually in taxes and PILOT payments to the county.

Charleston-based attorney from Frost Brown Todd L.L.C., Carrie Cecil suggested establishing a revenue bond through the county commission that could fund capital projects. Superintendent Eddie Campbell offered to sift through the Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plan to pull out projects that would qualify.

Revenue bond money could be used for new buildings, school buses and equipment such as lawnmowers, according to Cecil.

“The revenue bond option was something I put out there during the meeting, obviously it sounds like there are a lot of needs for the school system,” Cecil said,” There may be a way for us to work with the county commission to get them to finance a project.”

Under the bond system, government regulations require the money to be allocated to a specific project and managed by a person designated as bond counsel.

“For Internal Revenue Service purposes it’s got to be for a project you know up front,” Cecil said,” So, you finance the full amount up front and then you pay it back over time as the lease payments are received by the county commission.”

If a non-profit is established, that money could be used for programing and other non-capital expenses, but require a new board of decision makers.

“The other option we talked about and are looking into further would be the creation of a non-profit,” Cecil said,” That would have a board with members representing appointees from both the county commission and the board of education.”

The board voted unanimously in support of the agreement. The Mon County commission is expected to vote on the agreements on Wednesday, December 16.