Windmills driving landvalues up
GIFFORD — While some people don't care much for the windmills dotting the rural countryside, members of the Gifford school board likely aren't among them.
The Gifford Grade School district's equalized assessed valuation will rise $8.74 million — from $32,604,050 in 2013 to $41,344,059 in 2014 — and the addition of the windmills in the school district is the major reason.
The higher EAV will result in an additional $174,308 in real-estate tax money coming to the district. The total will climb to $1,076,723.
Superintendent Rod Grimsley told the school board at its April meeting that the increase is also due to the Gifford Health Care and Rehab nursing home losing its tax-exempt status with the state.
Grimsley has called the windmills "a blessing," given the destruction done to much of the village during November's tornado. As part of its California Ridge Farm project, completed in late 2012, Invenergy placed 104 turbines in western Vermilion County — and 30 in northeastern Champaign County, near Gifford.
Grimsley also said the district's building committee met with architect Dan Wakefield of BLDD last week about construction of a new bus barn to replace the one destroyed in the tornado. Findings will be presented to the full board at the May meeting.
The superintendent said the board will likely ask for bids for a five-bay bus barn. The previous bus barn had three bays, which meant one of the district's four buses and two vans had to remain outside.
Dave Hinton is editor of the Rantoul Press, a News-Gazette community newspaper. For more, visit rantoulpress.com.