West Baton Rouge Council refuses tax break for solar panel project
WEST BATON ROUGE PARISH - A solar plant project in west Baton Rouge is now in jeopardy after the parish council refused to give the project a tax break.
Carey Denstel, vice-chairman for the West Baton Rouge Parish Council, said $22 million in tax exemptions was too high a price to pay for the California-based energy company.
"That was really steep for only one job created," Denstel said.
Denstel said the company gave a higher estimate of jobs the plant would create right before the council voted on the tax break.
"It kind of raised some red flags. Like where did these nine jobs come from in the
last minute in the last hour?" Denstel said.
The power company has proposed building the plant on hundreds of acres of sugar cane farmland north of Port Allen, off of Bueche Road.
The first solar panel that came online last year, near the Roseland community, generated complaints from nearby homeowners who said the facility was becoming an eyesore.
Denstel says that had nothing to do with his decision to reject the request for a tax exemption.
"Basically I felt that we were doing the right thing for the taxpayers," Denstel said.
The company can still revise its proposal and bring the new version to the council again.