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Solar farm will meet with village

A company looking to put in a solar energy farm near Forreston will be meeting with the Forreston Village Board.

Cypress Creek Renewables, a California-based company, will give a presentation to the board during the Oct. 16 meeting in the Community Room at the Forreston Public Library, 204 First Ave.

CCR wants to build a solar farm on 200 acres of land, owned by Rod Wubbena, south of Townline Road, surrounding Ill. 26.

The area sits outside of Forreston village limits, but the village board will still make a recommendation to the Ogle County Board whether or not to approve building it.

“All we can offer is a recommendation, but history generally shows that the county board heeds those recommendations,” said Village President Mark Metzger.

CCR is only conducting a presentation to the village board, not a public question and answer session.

Sharon Pepin, Community Funding & Planning Services consultant, was also in attendance, keeping the board up to speed on the proposed Tax Increment Finance District.

A TIF District freezes the equalized assessed values of property for 23 years.

Taxing bodies draw their revenue through these frozen values, and any further tax revenue generated by an increase in EAV goes into a TIF fund, which can only be spent on projects within the TIF district.

Metzger and Pepin met with the Forrestville Valley School District at their last board meeting, Sept. 20, to discuss the TIF.

“We conducted a sort of ‘TIF 101,’ since not many board members were familiar with how a TIF works, and the benefits it can bring,” said Pepin.

Pepin said the historical data shows villages as small as Forreston still see EAV increases through redevelopment efforts a TIF district brings.

“It’s natural for school districts, fire districts, to be — not necessarily against, but in defense mode — regarding a TIF, because that revenue is how they get their money,” said Metzger.

Metzger said he felt they eased some concerns from the board with explaining why they included the school district in the TIF, and what they intend to do with it, including helping the school out where they can.

Pepin said the board can expect more details on the TIF itself at the next meeting.

The village board meets again on Monday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m., in the Community Room of the Forreston Public Library. The meeting is open to the public.

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