A renewable energy firm approached the Calhoun County commissioners concerning a possible tax abatement during its Wednesday, Jan. 22, meeting.

The firm, Swift Current Energy, plans to install a series of solar panels as part of its Tres Bahias Solar Power project in Calhoun County along the Jackson County line.

“It’s all in Calhoun County,” said William Kelsey, partner and managing director of Swift Current. He said they were asking for the establishment of a reinvestment zone along with the tax abatement.

“We are excited about the potential of becoming a corporate member of the community,” he said.

Commissioner Vern Lyssy asked how much land would be used and if it was leased or purchased.

Kelsey said they had 2,300 acres that were leased for 50 years – 30 years and two extensions after that period.

Commissioner Gary Reeves asked how many jobs would be created, and Kelsey said that on the application they put one permanent job, but a project such as this one in this environment would require the panels to be cleaned, which would create more than the one job.

The project is “north of $400 million,” said Kelsey in answer to Lyssy’s question on the cost of the project.

Reeves asked how long it would be up and running, and Kelsey said they expect it to run for the entirety of the lease since it would be well taken care of in order for it to do what it is supposed to long term.

Judge Richard Meyer will be negotiating with Swift Current to develop the agreement.

In other business, the court:

-- Approved an interlocal agreement with the city of Port Lavaca for fire protection and a payment of $200,644.01.

-- Approved an interlocal agreement with the city of Port Lavaca for animal control with a payment of $65,000.

-- Accepted a donation from Ken Lester and Lester Contracting for a sewer connection for the Magnolia Beach Volunteer Fire Department sewer tap for the new resource building.

-- Approved a change order increase of $2,200 from Baird Foundation Repair for the sidewalk project.

-- Accepted a Tocker Foundation grant of $25900 to digitize the Port Lavaca newspaper.

-- Accepted 2019 continuing education hours for the County Clerk.

-- Changed the Feb 12 meeting to Feb 10 and the June 17 meeting to June 15 due to scheduling conflicts.

-- Accepted a report from the County Clerk for December 2019.

-- Approved budget adjustments.

-- Approved payment of Memorial Medical Center and county bills and payroll.

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During its Jan. 15 meeting the court:

Heard a report from Jason Anglin, chief executive officer for Memorial Medical Center, that while November had not been a good month for the hospital, December was better. Chief Financial Officer Diane Moore said the drop-in income was across the board in all departments. She also reported that the hospital is still in the black.

-- Approved the abandonment of a portion of a public road in Alamo Beach.

-- Accepted Bauer Half Moon Reef Lighthouse Trust #137 from the Calhoun County Historical Commission for deposit in an interest-bearing account.

-- Accepted an increase in the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office Forfeited Property Fund for 2019 as $11,460 in forfeiture revenue and $5,500 as miscellaneous.

-- Accepted a check for $454.63 from American Agencies Old American County Mutual Insurance Company for damages to a sheriff’s office unit that was in an accident on Aug. 11, 2019.

-- Approved Lyssy to apply to the Golden Crescent Regional Planning Commission for a regional solid waste grant.

-- Approved a resolution for the sale of property for delinquent taxes.

-- Accepted reports for December 2019 from the District Clerk, Sheriff’s Office, and justices of the peace, precincts 1, 2, 3, and 5.

-- Approved budget adjustments.

-- Approved payment of Memorial Medical Center and county bills and payroll.