Payments promised town residents if voters OK wind project

Markets Associated Press

In this Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016 photo, a yard sign opposing an industrial wind project sits at the side of the road in Grafton, Vt. Voters in Grafton and Windham are going to cast ballots Nov. 8 on whether to go forward with a plan for 24 turbines in the two communities. Developer Iberdrola Renewables is offering residents of the two towns direct payments if the project is built. (AP Photo/Wilson Ring)

In this Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016 photo, a yard sign opposing an industrial wind project sits at the side of the road in Grafton, Vt. Voters in Grafton and Windham are going to cast ballots Nov. 8 on whether to go forward with a plan for 24 turbines in ... the two communities. Developer Iberdrola Renewables is offering residents of the two towns direct payments if the project is built. (AP Photo/Wilson Ring) (The Associated Press)

Vermont voters in two neighboring southern towns will be casting ballots Nov. 8 on whether to host a 24-turbine industrial wind farm.

Continue Reading Below

In an unusual twist, the developer is offering direct payments to residents of Grafton and Windham if they approve the project. The offer was first made public about a month ahead of the vote. Some call it a bribe.

Developer Iberdrola Renewables says the payment to full-time residents was suggested by locals as a way to spread the benefits of the project beyond property owners, who would benefit from lower property taxes.

The Vermont attorney general's office has ruled there's nothing improper about the proposed payments, but that has done little to quiet the critics.

No one is predicting which side will win.