Perry Plant’s Future….closure will mean higher property taxes

Thanks to our Kirtland Lobbyist for sending this article to us…..

Jack Thompson is superintendent of the Perry Local School District in Lake County.

By Guest Columnist, cleveland.com

PERRY, Ohio — I was recently reminded by a student about Newton’s Third Law of Physics: Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Oftentimes when making decisions about the direction of our state’s economy, our elected officials fail to consider the equal and opposite effects of their actions and, in my case, how they may inadvertently affect students in Lake County and across the state.

The impending closure of the Perry nuclear power plant and its sister plant, Davis-Besse near Toledo, is rightfully raising red flags across a spectrum of business, community, and civic leaders throughout Ohio. It is raising full alarm sirens for our local schools.

There is no doubt that losing these facilities will have a dramatic and direct impact on Ohio’s energy landscape, but the consequences and real economic reactions will reach much farther than that. The premature closure of these two plants, will have serious implications for all Ohio communities and the local services that we rely on, including our public-school system.

These two plants contribute to the strength and vitality of local communities by contributing tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue.

Combined, these two plants pay $30 million in state and local taxes annually, according to data provided by FirstEnergy and FirstEnergy Solutions. That money goes directly back into our communities, helping to fund vital community services, from police and firefighters to infrastructure improvements and public education.

Without this source of revenue, local communities statewide will be forced to make a decision between raising taxes on hardworking Ohioans or scaling back the services and programs that everyone relies on.

In Lake County, the loss of the Perry plant will have a devastating effect on Perry schools. We are already feeling some of the pain. As a result of devaluation of tangible personal property by the Perry nuclear power plant, Perry Local Schools lost $2.3 million in local tax revenue in 2018 due to a 39 percent devaluation. We recently received notice from the county auditor to expect another devaluation of the plant this year of approximately 44 percent, which is estimated to be an additional $2.5 million lost in local tax revenue for 2019.

The early retirement of these plants would hurt our area particularly hard since we are located so close to the Perry plant, just outside of Cleveland. Schools throughout the Perry School District directly benefit from the tax revenue generated by this power plant. Cutting off that revenue stream would threaten local schools and could jeopardize the quality of education across the state, as this additional burden will negatively impact an already struggling school funding mechanism in Ohio. As superintendent of the Perry School District, I am gravely concerned about the consequences this would have on future generations of Ohio leaders.

Of course, the impact these plant closures would have on our children does not stop at just school funding concerns. Nuclear power is one of the cleanest forms of energy we have available. Representing 90 percent of the zero-emission electricity generated in Ohio, nuclear power produces zero sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide emissions. If these plants are forced into early retirement, we will have to replace the power they produce somehow, and most likely, that will be achieved by increasing production at fossil fuel-powered plants, which will threaten our state’s clean-energy efforts.

In fact, a 2017 study for Nuclear Matters, Team NEO and others showed that closing these plants would be equivalent to adding nearly 2 million cars to the road, adding 9 million tons of carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the air. This is troubling enough on its own, but would be especially problematic for children suffering from asthma or other health-related issues that may be exacerbated by this increased pollution. Why would we risk public health and the well-being of some of our most vulnerable children by undermining the quality of our air and environment?

Moreover, Lake County – like many parts of the state – has been experiencing a steady population decline over the past few years, and the closure of Perry nuclear plant will only contribute to that problem. If the Perry plant is shuttered, that will just mean more families will be forced to leave the area, weakening our communities even further.

There’s a lot at stake if Ohio loses these plants, as is currently expected in the next few years. While this issue may not be a primary focus for our politicians, it will not go away any time soon. Ohio lawmakers should give this matter the attention it deserves and consider the consequences of their actions and its impact on schools across the state.

Jack Thompson is superintendent of the Perry Local School District in Lake County.



Categories: Lake, Real Estate Taxes, Uncategorized

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