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County to open Cob debate to public

Klamath County commissioners will hear public comment at 10 a.m. Tuesday on a proposed enterprise zone designation for a power plant that may be sited in the Langell Valley.

The county and city of Klamath Falls are considering allowing the Klamath Falls Enterprise Zone to be redrawn to include the proposed Cob site.

Cob developers Peoples Energy of Chicago has asked for a same-day decision from the commissioners on a deal that would have the company make an annual payment in lieu of taxes equaling 50 percent of project's tax bill.

In exchange, the plant would be exempt from property taxes for the next 15 years.

Cob spokesman Paul Turner gave a presentation to the commissioners two weeks ago, offering to pay an estimated $35 million over 15 years, plus a contribution of $300,000 a year to the Klamath County Economic Development Association for a revolving loan fund.

Peoples' previous offer was a payment of $1 million a year for 15 years, a deal Turner has since said was inadequate.

During his presentation, Turner said the deal was an "all-or-nothing" offer, and asked commissioners to make a decision soon.

A state panel approved the power plant last year, but Turner said the feasibility of the project hinges on whether Peoples receives the property tax break it's requesting.

The proposed natural gas-fired plant would generate about 1,150 megawatts of electricity, and would be located about three miles southeast of Bonanza and 21 miles east of downtown Klamath Falls.

County commissioners will begin the public hearing at 10 a.m.

The meeting will be televised live on cable channel 3 in Klamath Falls, and will be rebroadcast at 7 p.m. Wednesday.



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