David Deskins, superintendent of the Archbold Area School District, said the board is looking into fi- nancing options to construct a wind turbine.
Deskins said the board passed two resolutions, one of which would allow the district to begin the paperwork for applying for qualified school construction bonds, the same type of bonds recently approved by the Pettisville School Board.
He emphasized that the resolution does not commit the district to borrowing the money. The resolution only authorizes school district offi cials to determine whether the school would qualify for the loan.
Archbold, like Pettisville, has over $1 million in grants, either committed or pending, to pay for the turbine project. But one of the provisions of the $750,000 American Recovery & Reinvestment Act grant, commonly known as economic stimulus, is that the school must construct the wind turbine, and have it inspected and approved, before it receives the grant.
Therefore, the school needs “bridge funding,” or a construction loan to build the turbine.
Features of qualified school construction bonds include:
•Most of the bond interest is subsidized by the federal government.
•Repayment of the bonds can be taken from the money the district saves on its electricity bill. With the wind turbine in operation, electricity from the turbine will replace power the district would purchase through Toledo Edison, reducing the monthly TE bill.
•The loan balance can be paid down as grant funds become available.
“We know we have to have bridge funding. We have been exploring a number of types of bridge funding options,” he said.
The school board would prefer to construct the wind turbine without using taxpayer funding.
“If we utilize district funds, it would expedite the process,” he said.
The board also approved signing a contract with the Ohio Department of Development, acknowledging receipt of up to $75,000 to pay for an environmental assessment of the wind turbine project.
Deskins said the ARRA grant requires the assessment before grant funding can be released.
When the school board learned of the environmental assessment requirement, “we quickly alerted the Ohio Department of Development that this was an expenditure that was not planned by us, and they agreed to provide funding for the assessment, whether we go ahead with the project or not,” he said.
Deskins said, “I think it (the wind turbine) is a financially prudent investment for the long-term interest of the school district.”