Judge Rules On Motions In Wind Turbine TIF Case

Date posted - September 6, 2016

Sibley, Iowa — A judge has ruled on some motions filed in June in the case of a group of Osceola County taxpayers versus Osceola CountWind Turbines SVAy and the City of Harris — three by the taxpayers group and one by the County and City.

The group of taxpayers alleges that — an agreement to use Tax Increment Financing from a group of wind turbines in Osceola County for a waste water project and lagoon in Harris and for improvements to White Avenue — was illegal.

The plaintiffs (that is, the taxpayer group) asked that the “expert witness” designation to be removed from the defendants’ witness, John Danos. They say Danos’ expert opinion is “based largely on inadmissible opinions on the legal meaning of Iowa Code Chapter 403—the ultimate issue in the case.” Judge David Lester says that the taxpayers did not cite, nor has the court found, any authority for the entry of such an order, so it was overruled.

The group of taxpayers also filed a motion asking the court for permission to amend the date of their filing to include challenging the October 27, 2015, consideration of Ordinance 47 and the November 10, 2015, consideration of that ordinance and to have the objection filed after the November 10, 2015, reading and adoption. Judge Lester ruled that the motion should be sustained to allow the taxpayer group to include claims challenging the Defendant’s consideration of Ordinance 47 on October 27, 2015, and November 10, 2015. But he also ruled that they failed to cite and the court has been unable to find any authority supporting the request that it be amended to state it was filed on November 10th.

Osceola County and the City of Harris, the defendants in the case filed a motion that states that they would like to assert an additional affirmative defense based on the grounds that the “Plaintiffs have no standing to assert any claim for relief in this matter.” Judge Lester accepted the motion and ruled that their answer shall be deemed filed and served in the form attached to its motion.

At this point a trial is scheduled on the case on Tuesday, September 20th, 2016.

For background information on this story, click here.

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