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KF Council uneasy about Cob proposal
A tax break deal for the proposed Cob Energy
Facility hit a roadblock Monday when the Klamath
Falls City Council decided to postpone a vote on
extending the boundaries of the Klamath Falls
Councilors heard testimony Monday from about 20
opponents of the 1,160-megawatt facility, and
about 10 plant supporters, primarily trade union
representatives and economic development
"Based on the information I have heard tonight, I
would vote against extending the zone," Councilor
Bud Hart said, after hearing two and a half hours
of deliberation on the topic.
"I think it's the county's business," he said Aug.
4, adding that it would be hypocritical for the
city to deny support for a power plant when the
city already owns its own power plant, the Klamath
Cogeneration Project. "Whatever the county wants,
I'm pretty much going to do."
Cob liaison Rob Trotta had previously offered
Klamath County a $1 million payment a year for the
15-year enterprise zone extension, in lieu of
estimated property taxes of at least $71 million.
Although the city does not have any input on the
economic deal and would not receive any tax
revenue, its approval is required for any
geographical extension of the enterprise zone.
"This is a three-fourths of a billion dollar
facility in this county," said Trotta, adding that
the economic impact of power plant construction
and job creation needed to be considered.
"In order to get this done, we're talking about
leapfrogging an enterprise zone out to Bonanza,"
power plant opponent Stan Heidrich said. "It's
appalling, and I can't believe all the rules are
"As a teacher at Bonanza, I would rather
personally pay for school supplies I need than
take a single penny from the Cob," she said.
Councilors heard from a variety of trade union
representatives, who said the construction would
provide high-wage jobs for hundreds of people.
Former Klamath County Commissioner Clif McMillan,
who has filed multiple petitions with the county
against the enterprise zone, said there would be
consequences if the city approved the enterprise
Throughout the evening, Hart asked project
opponents whether they would approve extending the
enterprise zone if their other concerns about the
project were satisfied.
"I'm just very bothered by the way this process
has gone forward," said Hart, who added he was
frustrated so little information was given to
councilors before the meeting.
"I learned a lot tonight that I didn't know
before," she said. "And that concerns me."
"It doesn't seem that it was intended this way
when it was put into place," he said.
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