Wind energy presentation scheduled for council meeting

COLUMBIA CITY — A presentation by a representative of a wind energy company will highlight the agenda of the Whitley County Council this week.A joint meeting of the Whitley County Council and the Whitley County Board of Commissioners was canceled, according to Whitley County Auditor Jen McGuire.“They (the commissioners) decided not to have it yet because they’re not ready to talk about it yet,” she said, referring to a budget discussion for the county’s Emergency Medical Service.McGuire said a special meeting could be scheduled for some time next week and will be announced as soon as the details are solidified.The seven-person county council meets at 8 a.m. Tuesday and will hear a presentation from John Doster of Wind Capital Group.Wind Capital, which has a satellite office in Columbia City, has been surveying the wind in parts of Whitley County to determine whether the area is conducive to constructing a series of windmills here for commercial energy purposes — more commonly called “wind farms.”While the company has been relatively silent during months of highly-attended public meetings with county planners, Doster has been in attendance.The company has signed up numerous landowners to lease agreements for either the installation of meterological towers for measuring wind or for advanced permission to install wind turbines on the landowners’ property should a wind farm project become a reality.The council meeting will also include a request for tax abatement by the Whitley County Economic Development Corporation for a company called Imaging Office System.According to McGuire, the company is requesting a 10-year tax abatement of $350,000 for machinery and equipment. The company plans to add six additional employees.