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Florida Voters approve tax deal

FLORIDA — Voters authorized the town to negotiate a payment in lieu of taxes with PPM Energy, which has permits to build 20 wind turbines on Bakke Mountain and Crum Hill here and in Monroe.

The tax deal was approved during a special town meeting last night.

A long-term tax agreement would provide certainty about the town's revenue and the company's obligations and would avoid a costly reassessment dispute every three years, said James B. Art, special counsel for both towns.

"This might be advantageous to the town," said Raymond W. Burdick, chairman of the Board of Selectmen. "Maybe for them, too."

If the state Legislature provides a special permit, officials from both towns, including the selectmen and assessors, PPM Energy, attorneys and expert appraisers, will develop an agreement that would need approval from voters at a town meeting and from the state Department of Revenue. Voters in Monroe have already authorized the town to start negotiations.

Art said an agreement would determine the "full and fair tax value" of the property for a certain number of years, possibly for decades, the payments being either a fixed number or the result of a formula. The deal wouldn't necessarily increase tax revenues from the property, he said, but would reduce the town's revaluation costs and benefit long-range financial planning.

PPM Energy purchased the $40 million Hoosac Wind LLC in January from enXco. The... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The tax deal was approved during a special town meeting last night.
 
A long-term tax agreement would provide certainty about the town's revenue and the company's obligations and would avoid a costly reassessment dispute every three years, said James B. Art, special counsel for both towns.
 
"This might be advantageous to the town," said Raymond W. Burdick, chairman of the Board of Selectmen. "Maybe for them, too."
 
If the state Legislature provides a special permit, officials from both towns, including the selectmen and assessors, PPM Energy, attorneys and expert appraisers, will develop an agreement that would need approval from voters at a town meeting and from the state Department of Revenue. Voters in Monroe have already authorized the town to start negotiations.
 
Art said an agreement would determine the "full and fair tax value" of the property for a certain number of years, possibly for decades, the payments being either a fixed number or the result of a formula. The deal wouldn't necessarily increase tax revenues from the property, he said, but would reduce the town's revaluation costs and benefit long-range financial planning.
 
PPM Energy purchased the $40 million Hoosac Wind LLC in January from enXco. The proposed wind turbines, which would generate an estimated 30 megawatts of power, are expected to start operating in 2007.
 
The state Division of Administrative Law Appeals has been considering an appeal filed by Green Berkshires, a group that opposes the project, over the permit for the wind turbines issued by the Department of Environmental Protection in November 2004.
 
The unanimous vote to authorize negotiations in Florida might indicate an increasing acceptance of wind energy proposals in North Berkshire. During Hancock's annual town meeting Tuesday, a zoning bylaw that would have restricted the height of wind turbines didn't receive the necessary two-thirds majority.
 
Florida's annual town meeting hasn't been scheduled; the Selectmen will choose a date on Monday. On May 1, voters re-elected Burdick, Moderator Steven W. Brown and Town Clerk Lisa H. Brown, among other town officials.
 


Source: http://www.berkshireeagle....

MAY 6 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/2476-florida-voters-approve-tax-deal
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