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County could pay $480 per hour for lawyers consulting on wind energy




TIFFIN, OH — In last Tuesday’s Seneca County Commissioner meeting, the board decided in a 2-1 vote to contract with Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease, LLP, a law firm out of Columbus, for consultation on issues regarding the proposed wind energy projects in the county.

The law firm has an average rate of $480 per hour. Commissioner Shayne Thomas told the Advertiser-Tribune that the commissioners looked for alternative counsel through the County Commissioner Association of Ohio, but came up short.

Commissioners Thomas and Holly Stacy, both Republicans, voted in favor of contracting with the firm. Commissioner Mike Kerschner, an independent, voted against it, citing fiscal responsibility concerns.

The Republic Wind Farm wind farm, proposed by Apex Clean Energy, is projected to deliver $120 million in local economic impact over it’s life. That includes projected annual PILOT payments of $1.1-$1.8 million, which would be distributed among the five municipalities (Adams, Pleasant, Reed, Scipio, and Thompson Townships) and four school districts (Bellevue City School District, Clyde-Green Springs Exempted Village School District, Old Fort Local School district, Seneca East Local School District) in Seneca County, and one municipality (York Township) and one school district in Sandusky County (Bellevue City School District).

The Republic Wind Farm is also projected to create 740 direct, in-direct, and induced jobs that could result in up to $43.1 million of earnings if it were approved. The majority of these jobs would go to in-state workers, as all wind energy development in the state is subject to a law requiring at least 50 percent of the workers are Ohioans.

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