In an effort to create jobs, the Needville ISD school board voted last week to limit property tax collection on a solar field in the Guy area.

The board accepted an application for a Value Limitation Agreement from Cutless Solar regarding a proposed solar field at the intersection of FM 361 and Boothline Road.

An appraised value limitation is an agreement in which a taxpayer agrees to build or install property and create jobs in exchange for a 10-year limitation on the taxable property value for school district maintenance and operations tax purposes.

The minimum limitation value varies by school district. School districts must notify the state of Texas of such agreements within 15 days and amendments to the agreement within seven days.

Trustees also agreed to retain the law firm of Sara Leon & Associates, LLC and financial consultant Jigsaw School Finance Solutions, LLC to assist the school district in reviewing and processing the application.

Collin Brown and Caitlin Kelly of Advanced Power Services reviewed the project with the board, and Dr. Greg Poole of Jigsaw School Finance Solutions said VLAs are a financial plus for school districts. Poole was also on hand at the April board meeting, when trustees approved a VLA with AP Solar for a projected solar field in the Guy area.

“We are long-term owners of our projects … and take our role seriously in terms of being a good neighbor to the communities we enter,” said Brown, whose company is based in Boston.

He said Advanced Power is 100 percent owner of the project and will finalize its design in about six months, with commercial operations expected to begin in the third quarter of 2021.

The construction phase of the project will provide about 200 jobs. Once completed, three people will operate and maintain the facility. Needville ISD Director of Technology Corey Kelly saved the district more than $132,000 in technology upgrades by applying for an eRate program for discounted technology purchases to upgrade the network district-wide.

As a result, trustees approved $56,685 for the upgrades. The board also approved an offer from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) for $1,000 for the purchase of 200 square feet of property at the southeast corner of the intersection of Fritzella and Texas 36 South, in front of the Needville High School marquee.

The appraisal for that parcel of land was $850. The property will be used for the projected expansion of Texas 36 South.

Rhodes told trustees the district’s random drug-testing policy will now include nicotine after state law, effective Sept. 1, increased the age for purchasing the product from 18 to 21.

Trustees heard a construction update from Jonathan Pertuit of Claycomb Associates Architects regarding the new administration building. Pertuit said floors are being laid and light fixtures will be installed soon, with the project expected to be completed by the end of October, weather permitting.

Board President Chris Janicek agreed to continue serving as the organization’s representative to the Houston-Galveston Area Council, and Vice President Jim Kocian will continue as alternate.

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