“Accepting this project here could move us to another level,” James Dunn, a member of the Tunica County Board of Supervisors, told NBC News.
The project, however, does have its opponents. Many of those who are against the project pointed out that, while AES will need 300 workers to complete the wind farm, it will only hire between seven and ten people to maintain and operate it.
Others believe that Mississippi’s more than $1 trillion in renewable energy investments has led to localities fighting over the projects and, as a result, many are offering big tax breaks to lure energy companies.
“We gave away too much,” Joe Eddie Hawkins, the county’s former road manager told NBC.
Hawkins added that he supports renewable energy projects to fight climate change, but disapproved of the decade-long tax break the county gave AES, under which it will pay only a third of the property taxes it would normally owe.
Tunica County residents are familiar with how tax breaks can change their area. The county was one of the poorest in the U.S. until the early 1990s, when it became one of the busiest gambling areas in the south. The gambling brought millions in revenue to an area that was known for poor housing and underperforming schools.
However, in recent years, gambling has decreased and three casinos have closed as other southern states have embraced casinos. The county still has its issues today. For starters, the county doesn’t have a hospital and most of its residents still live under the poverty line.