Alva Review-Courier -

County Commissioner Randy McMurphy expects wind farm in Woods County

 

February 11, 2018

Lynn L. Martin

Randy McMurphy speaks at the Kiwanis club meeting.

The chairman of the Woods County commissioners, Randy McMurphy, spoke to the Alva Kiwanis Club last week and provided an overview of the various county government offices. He also told about his concerns of the current legislative session and how they may impact county funding. The entire speech may be seen at http://www.alvareviewcourier.com under the videos tab.

At the end of his speech, in providing some good news, McMurphy said he has been told to expect a large wind-farm project in southern Woods County that will include 138 wind towers that will provide $500,000 in tax revenue. The project is to start in late 2018 or early 2019. He said no new transmission lines will be built. Instead, the plan is to use the existing Woods county OGE line and a line in Alfalfa and Garfield counties.

McMurphy said it seems most people do not understand county revenue sources. For example, the ad valorem property tax that affects most people does not come close to financing the county. Instead, 85 percent of that tax supports the three school districts in the county. Five of eight courthouse offices are financed from 10.65 mils. The health department has its own mil revenue of about 3.7 percent.

There is a 5 cent sales tax, but the state takes 4.5 percent and the county gets one-half percent. Anything over that goes to the city. The county uses some of their half-cent to bolster the 911 center, which does not derive enough revenue from a telephone tariff. McMuprhy commented that about ten counties should join together to support the staff and overhead of one 911 center.

He said the county commissioners are responsible for the upkeep of 1,600 miles of roads in the county. McMurphy's fear is that the governor keeps dipping into county road money that pays for the workers and operations of the three county sheds. At the present time, "They have taken $230 million of that money," he said. Each county shed has $8 to $10 million in road building equipment they must maintain. The county commissioners do not use any sales tax money for their sheds.

Health insurance is a big problem. He said, "Currently Woods County is self-insured in a group of 106 governmental entities for their 70 employees and it is not working very well. Rates are going up and benefits down. A major illness could cost a county employee (or a family member) $10,000 out of his/her pocket, besides tolerating the insurance premium deduction each month." McMurphy said a $10,000 hit is pretty significant for someone earning $30,000 a year.

In good news, the 4-H and FFA are growing with the work of the OSU Extension department. He is proud that State FFA President Ridge Hughbanks, State Ambassador Hannah Kornele and state officer Austin Rankin are all from Woods County.

He mentioned that H2, a renter at the Avard Rail Park, has contributed $20,000 to the Woods County Livestock Foundation and the board just this week has voted to provide a $300 scholarship to each senior who shows an animal at three livestock shows and completes the paperwork showing a plan for future education.

 

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