Energy plant project means $24-million windfall for Wellsville - News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Energy plant project means $24-million windfall for Wellsville

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A $1.1 billion energy plant project will mean a nearly $30 million dollar windfall for Wellsville Schools and Yellow Creek Township in Columbiana County.

With fewer than 800 students, the Wellsville School District operates on a very limited budget.

"We're probably one of the poorest districts in the state of Ohio as to how much money we can raise by local property taxes.  One mill generates only $40,000 in Wellsville," said Superintendent Richard Bereschik.

But now, an Enterprise Zone tax agreement with South Field Energy for its new natural gas powered electric plant is making the district's financial future much brighter.

"We will be getting, within 10 days of this officially being signed, $700,000 up front. Then on the first anniversary of that, we'll get another $500,000, and on the second anniversary another $500,000. Plus, $1.5 million per year for the next 15 years,"  Bereschik said.

The superintendent says they plan to upgrade their technology and bring art and music programs back to the elementary school.

"Basically we want to give back to the kids what we've had to take away because of our low budget," said Bereschik.  "A new roof for the elementary school will also be a priority."

The plant will be located on 125 acres in Yellow Creek Township on land purchased from the Buckeye Water District and other property owners.

Yellow Creek Township will also benefit: under the agreement. It will receive  $50,000 up front, another $25,000  in six months, $1.6 million at the start of construction, plus $250,000 per year during operations. For a total of $5.4 million. 

The project will generate 550 construction jobs for up to three years, then 30 permanent jobs. 

County Commissioner Jim Hoppel says it will add to the county sales tax. "It helps the whole county when you get something like this, something of this magnitude," said Hoppel. 

Tad Herold, the County Development Director, said there's beginning to be a network of natural gas electric plants in the region, including plants in Lordstown and Carrollton Ohio.  He believes the availability of electric power will help to attract other businesses.

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