The Tazewell County Board narrowly passed a resolution to approve a lease agreement with the Chicago-based energy company Green Key Solar LLC during Wednesday’s meeting.
The agreement allows the construction of a solar farm at 21314 Illinois Route 9, Tremont.
“This is a solar farm that gives us an opportunity to generate a lot of income compared to what we’re getting now, with minimal risk,” said David Zimmerman, Tazewell County Board chairman. “The land will still be farmable if the equipment is defunct and we have a bond to remove it. I would encourage the board members to vote for it.”
The proposal passed by a margin of 10-8, with Tazewell County Board member Greg Longfellow abstaining. The board members discussed it at some length before coming to a vote.
“Based on the comments here tonight, this is not something I can vote in favor of, to have a situation where we have asked for some control over the possibility of this being assigned and to have been apparently absolutely refused,” said Tazewell County Board member Bill Atkins, who voted against the measure. “It might have been a deal-breaker for (Green Key Solar) to do an assignment. It’s a deal-breaker for me for them to insist on having that with no control.”
In other business, the board unanimously approved three replacement hires in the County Clerk’s office, as well as a replacement hire in Court Services, the Sheriff’s Department and the Highway Department.