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Marengo City Council OKs annexation plans, text amendments for proposed solar farm

could annually generate $330K in property taxes

Reed Willis of SunEast Development talks to the Marengo City Council on Tuesday.
Reed Willis of SunEast Development talks to the Marengo City Council on Tuesday.

The Marengo City Council on Monday approved preliminary annexation agreements and a text amendment for a proposed solar farm on about 235 acres off Johnson Road and West Grant Highway.

SunEast Development, Enel Green Energy and Energy Renewal Partners are planning the multimillion-dollar project together under Marengo Solar LLC. Original plans included 60,000 solar panels on 110 acres and would translate to about a $25 million to $30 million investment.

The project has nearly doubled in size since its original proposal in September.

The developers requested two annexation agreements from Marengo, one for the east side of Johnson Road and one for the west side of Johnson Road. The farm is planned just south of West Grant Highway.

The annexation agreement will take about three years to complete as the developers want to make sure agreements with ComEd and other regulatory bodies are in place as well, according to city documents.

If all goes according to plan, the complex could generate up to 40 megawatts of clean energy.

Recent state legislation has suggested solar farms be assessed at $218,000 a megawatt generated, which means the development could owe $330,000 in property taxes annually, according to city documents. The governor still must sign the bill.

“If that amount were to hold true, it would equate to roughly $27,000 in general fund property tax revenue and $11,000 in police pension fund property tax revenue,” City Administrator Joshua Blakemore said in a note to City Council.

Other governing bodies such as the school districts and McHenry County also would receive money from those property taxes owed.

Fourth Ward Alderman Dennis Hammortree voted against the proposal.

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