Morgan County Gets Reimbursement for Legal Fees For Lotus Wind Project

By Benjamin Cox on May 6, 2024 at 6:29pm

Morgan County is receiving reimbursement for legal and permitting fees attached to a nearby wind farm project.

The Morgan County Commissioners authorized over $12,000 in reimbursement from the Lotus Wind Project for professional fees accrued for the portion that will be in Morgan County.

Morgan County Planner Dusty Douglas says the authorization allows the county to recoup fees and costs accrued during this calendar year: “If everyone remembers, we issued a building permit last year to Apex Clean Energy for what they are calling the Lotus project that’s predominantly in [northern] Macoupin County, but the switching station is located here in Morgan County with associated [power] lines running to it. Because of our ordinance, we had to issue them a building permit and we were given $20,000 basically in associated costs to cover other expenditures that we might have. These [fees] are predominantly from Counselor [Michael] Jurusik and Miss Sheryl Churney who worked on the county’s road use agreement.”

Douglas says that the county could take the amount down to $5,000 in the associated fees account before they go back to Apex and request additional funds. Douglas says that representatives from Apex that they are not going to be completing any additional construction in Morgan County in this calendar year.

Commissioner Brad Zeller said it was a more formal way to get the money reimbursed from the developer as opposed to the county’s past practice of piecemeal reimbursements as the fees and costs accrued.

Douglas says that the county is following legal advice in the matter: “Because of the audits that the companies go through, we are just being a good neighbor in keeping a detailed run through. We’ve got a pretty lengthy list of bills, particularly dealing with the road use agreement, but I don’t really expect any more incurred costs for quite some time.”

The Lotus Wind Project is expected to go online sometime in 2025. The project’s website can be found here.