Article

PILOT came with promises by developer

Some last-minute wheeling and dealing paved the way for the 8-7 vote by the Jefferson County Board of Legislators passing the Galloo Island Wind Farm payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement. Galloo Island Wind Farm developer Upstate NY Power Corp agreed to put $3 million in a community grant fund and $500,000 in a scholarship fund, made job guarantees.

Some last-minute wheeling and dealing paved the way for the 8-7 vote by the Jefferson County Board of Legislators passing the Galloo Island Wind Farm payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement.

Galloo Island Wind Farm developer Upstate NY Power Corp agreed to put $3 million in a community grant fund and $500,000 in a scholarship fund, made job guarantees and agreed to look at an alternative route for the project's transmission line.

"It's not new money," Board Chairman Kenneth D. Blankenbush, R-Black River, said Tuesday night. "It's money the developer said it would use all along. But since some legislators said they were not happy with just verbal comments, we asked them to put it in writing."

The agreements were firmed up over the weekend and Mr. Blankenbush sent the legislators a memo at 3:20 p.m., outlining the promises.

Legislator Scott A. Gray, R-Watertown, called the memo "political gamesmanship" and said it was an attempt to draw a few more votes to support the PILOT.

"It's moving in the right direction, but why do they have to wait until three hours before a vote to send it out?" Mr. Gray asked. "It's like before the last vote, when they offered to go to an 18-year PILOT."

In... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Some last-minute wheeling and dealing paved the way for the 8-7 vote by the Jefferson County Board of Legislators passing the Galloo Island Wind Farm payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement.

Galloo Island Wind Farm developer Upstate NY Power Corp agreed to put $3 million in a community grant fund and $500,000 in a scholarship fund, made job guarantees and agreed to look at an alternative route for the project's transmission line.

"It's not new money," Board Chairman Kenneth D. Blankenbush, R-Black River, said Tuesday night. "It's money the developer said it would use all along. But since some legislators said they were not happy with just verbal comments, we asked them to put it in writing."

The agreements were firmed up over the weekend and Mr. Blankenbush sent the legislators a memo at 3:20 p.m., outlining the promises.

Legislator Scott A. Gray, R-Watertown, called the memo "political gamesmanship" and said it was an attempt to draw a few more votes to support the PILOT.

"It's moving in the right direction, but why do they have to wait until three hours before a vote to send it out?" Mr. Gray asked. "It's like before the last vote, when they offered to go to an 18-year PILOT."

In the end, the PILOT squeaked through by the 8-7 decision.

In his memo, Mr. Blankenbush wrote that the developer had made a "formal commitment" to donate $3 million over 20 years to a community fund to benefit residents of the county through youth and civic groups, nonprofits, educational organizations and other charitable organizations.

He said Tuesday night that a community organization will collect applications for grants and control the fund. That organization is not yet known.

The developer will put $500,000 into a scholarship fund for high school seniors who will study sciences and renewable energy.

On jobs, the developer will agree to bring half of the labor from local trade unions through a project labor agreement. One-quarter of the jobs will come from outside the region. The final quarter must come from Jefferson County. But if that does not happen, for every percentage point that does not come from the county, the developer will pay $25,000 to a local vocational or educational program.

The county's counsel on wind power negotiations, Kevin R. McAuliffe, of Green & Seifter, Syracuse, said the promises will be finalized in a project development agreement between the developer and Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency.

"It will be enforceable over the life of the project because the IDA has great enforcement powers in its relationships," he said.

In his memo, Mr. Blankenbush said the developer had agreed to push for a new alternative route for the transmission line, this time to the Coffeen Street substation.

The proposed route that makes landfall in Henderson then turns south through Ellisburg to a substation in the town of Mexico has met with stiff resistance in southern Jefferson and Oswego counties.

The county board passed a resolution promoting the route to the Coffeen Street substation on Tuesday night by a 13-0 vote. In December, the board supported an all-underwater route from Galloo Island to Scriba.

The developer's representative, Robert W. Burgdorf of Nixon Peabody, Rochester, said the alternative route has no set landfall yet, but is a high priority for review with the Public Service Commission.

Legislator Barry M. Ormsby, R-Belleville, said, "There is a willingness from Hounsfield to house the line. If the developer follows the existing path of electric lines, it will not be intrusive for new property owners and it will have the most broad acceptance."


Source: http://www.watertowndailyti...

FEB 3 2010
http://www.windaction.org/posts/24445-pilot-came-with-promises-by-developer
back to top