JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A bill requiring property taxes collected on wind farms remain local — even if the wind farm is operated by a public utility company — is awaiting the governor’s signature. 

Current law allows for taxes collected on wind farms owned by public utilities to be distributed to the areas the utility services. But HB 220 changes that, and supporters have heralded the legislation as possibly resulting in millions of dollars in property tax revenues for local counties. 

“Rural districts like the one I represent see wind farm developments as a way to provide for the country; property taxes help fund roads, public education, and other programs that they might not otherwise be able to afford,” Republican Rep. Allen Andrews, who championed the bill in the House, said in a statement. “Missouri counties should keep their tax money local.” 

While no public utility company owns a wind farm in Missouri currently, several projects are underway across the state, including in Atchison County to be owned by Ameren. Since Ameren doesn’t service Atchison County, this bill would ensure property taxes collected on the station would remain in northwest Missouri.

The High Prairie Wind Farm is also being constructed in Adair and Schuyler Counties by renewable energy developer Terra-Gen. This project is expected to be completed by 2020.

“Several Missouri counties fought to help establish wind farms, knowing that property taxes could go a long way to providing essential services for the county,” Republican Sen. Cindy O’Laughlin, who pushed the legislation in the upper chamber, said. “For Northeast Missouri, where counties are often strapped for cash, these wind facilities can provide much-needed resources. This will keep tax dollars local, where these wind farms exist.” 

In addition to changing property taxes, the bill would also establish a task force — three members from the House, three from the Senate, and two from county government with experience in wind energy valuations — to hold hearings and conduct research on wind farms that will be presented to the General Assembly by the end of 2019.