By Meladi Brewer
GREENVILLE – The Darke County Board of Commissioners met Wednesday to make a proclamation and discuss concerns over the solar farm project. Commissioners Matt Aultman, Mike Stegall, and Larry Holmes were all present.
The board of commissioners proclaimed Sept. 12-18 as Direct Support Professionals Appreciation Week. The Darke County Board of Developmental Disabilities and the Darke County community seek to recognize the professionals, direct care workers, and in-home support workers who are primary providers of long-term supports and services for individuals with disabilities in Darke County.
“We have one of the best departments of Developmental Disabilities,” commissioner Stegall said.
The Darke County Board of Developmental Disabilities urged all citizens to join in extending the appreciation to over 125 individuals in Darke County supporting people with developmental disabilities in the community.
Anyone interested in joining the career as a direct support professional should contact Joseph Badell at Darke DD at 937-459-4609 or email [email protected]
The board also addressed concerned citizens who voiced their hesitations regarding the process of the installation of a solar farm in Darke County.
“We’re going to go door to door and let everybody know what’s happening because not everybody reads the newspaper, and listens to the media, and knows what’s going on.”
The Darke County Citizens Prevention Association (DCCPA) came to gain answers to their own research regarding solar farms. Many of whom called them “monstrosities” and were concerned about the property values decreasing along with the loss of agricultural farm lands.
“It is only three percent of the energy, so I don’t think it is going to be that impactful,” a representative said.
The group goes on to state they aren’t defending themselves but just standing up for their property rights. She advised there is a lot of pride in the community, and adding an eye sore like the solar farms will ruin the culture Darke County can provide.
“The real estate taxes don’t change. The property taxes are still under an evaluation, so the farmers still pay the same amount,” commissioner Aultman said.
The baseline is the CUV because it is considered a farm because it falls under capturing a natural resource; therefore the real estate tax stays the same. The solar farm falls under state law and by state law it is considered an agricultural product.
More suspicions about how the solar farms harm the environment were put into question by the group. They talked about harmful glass cleaners, farm land, eye sours, ruined culture, and the future of their children. A prominent question asked was ‘what happens to our children when we take the best of our farmland in Ohio and put up solar farms? How are we going to eat?
“We are taking it a day at a time and will continue to do more research,” commissioner Holmes said. “Impact still needs to be worked through.
“Senate Bill 52 only allows one of eight of the PUC board members to be a county commissioner representative,” commissioner Aultman said.
The group came to an understanding how limited the commissioners’ voices are when dealing with the matter. The DCCPA were then pointed in a positive direction on how to get community members’ voices heard and plan on documenting comments.
“It is more impactful the more people you get to show up,” commissioner Holmes advised.
Both the board and the DCCPA parted ways agreeing to both do more research and to ask important questions moving forward.
The Darke County Board of Commissioners meet every Monday and Wednesday at the county administrative office located at 520 S. Broadway in Greenville. For more information, contact the commissioner’s office at 937-547-7370.
To contact Daily Advocate reporter Meladi Brewer email [email protected]