What if an 800 megawatt coal plant came to Taylor County? A new $30,000 survey may help answer that question. It looks at the plant's possible economic, social, and health impacts on the county.
Alphie Beach, a Taylor County resident, said, "I think we have enough chemicals floating in the air in Perry without having any more plants here in Taylor County. I just can't see other people getting sick."
The study showed that Taylor Countians are more likely to smoke and be obese than the state average.
Twenty eight percent of residents do not have health insurance.
Linda Shipp, a Taylor County resident, said, "I couldn't ask for better insurance. Over five years ago I had breast cancer, they covered 90 percent of it. I can't complain a bit."
The results also show 70 percent of Taylor County residents 25 and older have a high school diploma, compared to 80 percent statewide.
Mary Curran, a Taylor County High School student, said, "You have to get a high school diploma to even be able to dig ditches."
The coal plant would offer employees a full benefits package and bring about 180 jobs to a county where the median income level is $30,000 compared to the state's $39,000.
Kelvy Williams, a Taylor County resident, said, "I think they need to get the income level up in Perry, that way residents of Perry will have a better way of life."
Development Authority officials say they realize the study will show the positive and negative aspects of the coal plant coming to the area, but say it allows the two local governments to make the best decisions for citizens that accentuate the positives.
Two more phases of the study will be conducted.
For the full report of phase one, go to www.tcda-fl.org.
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