Economic growth to come from Willacy County turbine assembly

The giant parts have arrived and slowly making their way from the Port of Brownsville to Willacy County.

Two companies will assemble about 350 windmill turbines in east Willacy County.

County Judge John Gonzales said the project has created dozens of construction jobs so far and will create more. It's welcomed economic boost for the area, he said.

"Our restaurants are starting to be full, our hotels have high occupancy rates and you can see in our monthly sales tax (in) Raymondville, those have steadily gone up since December," Gonzales said. Some residents are concerned about the scenery or noise that the turbines could create, but Gonzales said the county could not refuse the business.

"These companies are private businesses (and) they're dealing directly with the land owners, Gonzales said. If the landowners want to cut a deal with them, government cannot tell a private business that (it) cannot open a business here."

Not only did the county not object, but it will also give the companies tax breaks for setting up shop in Willacy county, but in lieu of that, Gonzales said the companies will help fund other community projects like a Boys and Girls Club.

He said officials are in works with the companies and it seems they may have secured money to fund a Boys and Girls Club for the next 10 years.

Gonzales said Willacy County is a good fit for wind energy because it TMs one of the top three places in the nation that generates the most wind, during peak energy usage hours "or during the day.

He said this new business is also drawing interest from other companies looking to start businesses in the area.