CLINTON — The East Feliciana Parish Police Jury approved a property tax exemption Monday for a proposed solar farm in the southeast corner of the parish.

The jury’s action will give the San Francisco firm Ecoplexus an 80% reduction in property taxes for 10 years.

The venture, known as Willis Pond PV1 LLC, would cost $308 million, which a representative of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber said would represent the largest industrial investment East Feliciana Parish has ever seen.

With the 80% tax break, the project would eventually pay $15.4 million in taxes over the 10-year period, BRAC official Jayson Newell said. The parish would receive approximately $412,000 in sales taxes from the construction that are not subject to the industrial tax exemption.

Jurors pushed company representatives to hire local people for the construction work.

A company representative said it would hire as many local people as possible, but the ability to hire them depends on the applicants’ skill sets.

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Juror Richard Oliveaux tried unsuccessfully to get the jury to table the request.

“We need to talk about it. That’s just my opinion,” Oliveaux said, noting that the state Board of Commerce and Industry just approved the application on Friday.

The company is bidding on a contract to sell the power the solar array generates to Entergy Corp.

On another matter, the jury approved a contract with Lafayette Parish demographer Mike Hefner to develop a reapportionment plan for the Police Jury’s nine districts once the U.S. Census Bureau releases results of the 2020 census, which was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic and other factors.

The bureau may release Louisiana’s population figures in May, but Hefner said he would like to have his preliminary work done to present a proposal by June.

He said he also hopes to work with the School Board and would plan to use as few voting precincts as possible between the two entities.