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Commission hosts public information meeting on Cogentrix

County officials will explain the proposed enterprise zone plus its tax impact to local residents.

   Jan. 30, 2002 -- The Jefferson County Board of Commissioners will host a public information meeting today, inviting county residents to comment on Cogentrix's proposed 980-megawatt power plant 14 miles southeast of Madras off Ramms Road near Grizzly Mountain.
   The meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. in the Maccie-Conroy Building at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.
   The goal of the information meeting is to discuss the proposed enterprise zone and explain the five-year tax break the North Carolina-based company could receive if its Grizzly Power Project comes to fruition.
   Attendees will have a limited amount of time to address their comments or questions to commissioners Mike Ahern, Bill Bellamy and Janet Brown so that everyone gets a speaking opportunity.
   "We've outlined what an enterprise zone is, the projected tax benefits and we'll possibly explain to people how we can weigh in on conditional-use issues," Ahern said.
   The Oregon Office of Energy is currently reviewing Cogentrix's application, which the power company submitted on Nov. 30. Once that phase of the review process is completed, the application is forwarded to the Energy Facility Siting Council.
   When a site certificate is granted by EFSC, state and local jurisdictions are bound by the council's decision to issue permits, licenses and certificates for construction of the facility.
   Jefferson County has only a limited, but important, role as a recommending body in determining the power plant's fate, Brown said.
   "If people want to spend their allotted time on water and air issues that's fine, but we don't control them," Brown said. "Basically, what we're looking for is input as to the conditions placed on the facility if it's sited, such as lighting, roads, emergency services and access to the facility."
   -- Troy Foster