Victoria school board members approved Thursday a tax limitation for Sunshine Energy.
The energy company filed a tax limitation application a year ago this month, and it reached fruition with a 6-1 vote Thursday. Board member Bret Baldwin was in the opposition.
The limitation comes through Chapter 313, or the Texas Economic Development Act. Under the agreement, a taxpayer, in this case Sunshine Energy, agrees to build or install property to create jobs. This project will include a solar farm located at the Intersection of Farm-to-Market 2615 and Burroughsville Road.
The project will create two jobs long-term and hundreds of jobs during its short-term construction phase.
Under the chapter, it is required that the application is sent to the Texas Comptroller’s Office to review and make a recommendation. The office recommended that the project will be fruitful for the Victoria community and the state, said attorney Eddy Perez, who represents the district.
Sunshine Energy is a project under Caprock Renewables. The company is a renewable energy corporation based in Austin. Caprock Renewables is almost 6 years old and develops solar, wind and storage projects.
The company will receive a tax limitation from the school district for its maintenance and operation portion of its tax rate, but the interest and sinking rate will remain constant.
The board reviewed four items regarding the agreement with the Sunshine Energy project, and board member Baldwin voted against them all.
He said he anticipated more time for public discussion regarding the items and did not feel comfortable with voting.
“To have discussion is always healthy,” Baldwin said.
Board president Kevin VanHook was comfortable with the year of discussion and said he was in favor of the item.
“It’s a great opportunity for the tax base to increase and a great opportunity for us to move quickly,” he said.
Board member Ross Mansker said he received some comments from the community voicing concern of the project because of the way it will look and because it is taking over farmland in the county. He countered that it is a great way to bring in more revenue, and it’s a landowner’s right to do with their land as they see fit.
Perez said the tax limitation is different than a tax abatement. An abatement means a taxing entity limits taxes for all purposes and the taxing entity will absorb the losses of those rates.
A limitation of taxable value means the district has the same rate for all taxpayers, and projects that receive a limitation will only be limited for maintenance and operation purposes. The interest and sinking rate will stay the same and go toward the district’s debts and bonds.