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Residents, county lawmakers discuss windmill projects

HERKIMER — In what has become a monthly occurrence at Herkimer County Legislature meetings, residents from the towns of Stark and Warren pleaded with the local lawmakers Wednesday to share information regarding the proposed windmill projects in Herkimer County.

“It is getting harder and harder to come up here. I am running out of arguments,” Les Miller of Warren said. “These windmill projects will promote the county, yet we are fighting an uphill battle here. We need to get the projects moved out of the finance committee.”

Last month, Miller pleaded with the legislature to move the windmill projects out of the finance committee and to another committee that would act on them as he said time was of the essence. “These projects are almost like a grant. They do not require any investment from the county, but they will increase tourism, they will improve our roads and they will create jobs to maintain them after they are built,” he said Wednesday.

“It is to the point where I am repeating myself,” Stark Town Supervisor Richard Bronner said. “We want to be included in the negotiating process with these companies. We want to come to the proceedings and share information. But we never get a phone call. It is always the case of where we get a call back after we initiate communication. It should not be like that. The county would not be happy if the roles were reversed.”

Bronner said he feels as though the small towns are being put on the preverbal back... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
“It is getting harder and harder to come up here. I am running out of arguments,” Les Miller of Warren said. “These windmill projects will promote the county, yet we are fighting an uphill battle here. We need to get the projects moved out of the finance committee.”

Last month, Miller pleaded with the legislature to move the windmill projects out of the finance committee and to another committee that would act on them as he said time was of the essence. “These projects are almost like a grant. They do not require any investment from the county, but they will increase tourism, they will improve our roads and they will create jobs to maintain them after they are built,” he said Wednesday.

“It is to the point where I am repeating myself,” Stark Town Supervisor Richard Bronner said. “We want to be included in the negotiating process with these companies. We want to come to the proceedings and share information. But we never get a phone call. It is always the case of where we get a call back after we initiate communication. It should not be like that. The county would not be happy if the roles were reversed.”

Bronner said he feels as though the small towns are being put on the preverbal back burner, when in actuality they should be at the forefront.

“Our towns do not have much to offer other than agricultural land. So let us offer that. These projects will have no impact on the county. The county won’t have to build the roads, the county doesn’t have to be the lead agency. Other counties have jumped on these projects and I suggest that we follow their lead. But first we need more cooperation, because no one is coming together to discuss these projects.”

“I don’t understand what is going on here,” Warren Town Supervisor Richard Jack said. “It doesn’t matter if we are talking about 50 towers, 100 towers, 500 towers, 1,000 towers or 10,000 towers because 90 percent of the population of this county is never going to see them nor are they going to be affected by them. These towers are found money and I can not believe that the county is walking away from a $5 bill because it is not a $50 bill. I just don’t understand. There needs to be more give and take. The county should be chasing after every nickel it finds.”

“The county has never said that it is opposed to these projects, nor is it trying to kill these projects,” District 14 Legislator Dennis Korce, chairman of the finance committee, said. “We are trying to determine each company’s ability to pay their fair share. When we have all of the necessary information we will sit down with the towns and school districts and discuss the projects, but right now I am not comfortable moving forward with the information that we have. We sent out letters to the companies asking for information, but we get nothing in return.”

Korce shared the timeline of discussions between the companies — PPM Atlantic Renewables, Tammarack Energy, Inc. and Community Energy — and the county, as well as letters sent from the legislature to company officials requesting information. “We hired a consultant so we could educate ourselves about the industry, but we have not received the level of cooperation we would like from the companies. We have had some good discussions, but we send out requests for information and we do not get anything in return. We are trying to get information,” he said.

“The legislature is taking this issue seriously,” County Administrator James Wallace said. “We are trying to do it right the first time. Believe me no one ever thought that it would take over a year to get information. We have been chasing numbers for a very long time.”

Korce said that the next step in the process, when all of the information is gathered and prepared, is to schedule meetings with the impacted townships and school districts to discuss the wind energy projects. “We do not want to work off of assumptions,” he said.

 

Source: http://www.littlefallstimes...

FEB 16 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/1346-residents-county-lawmakers-discuss-windmill-projects
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