Town of Eagle Supervisor Brett Hastings recently asked board members for permission to write a letter to the state on behalf of Noble Energy, the company that owns the wind farm in the town. Noble reached out to Hastings requesting that he write a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo asking to reinstate a portion of legislation that had been initially proposed as a part of Cuomo’s push to expand renewable, green energy.
The original legislation included a 10-year contract extension to current renewable energy companies, such as Noble Energy. However, this portion was cut out of the legislation and could cut down the amount of income Noble receives. Some of Noble’s income is from NYSERDA, and the contract agreement with them runs out next year.
If NYSERDA stops paying Noble incentives, Noble’s income will decrease and could directly affect the Town of Eagle. The funding that Eagle receives annually from Noble as a part of the host agreement is percentage based, so if Noble loses income, so will Eagle and the residents of Eagle with turbines on their properties.
In the long term, Eagle could lose income and Noble and Eagle may be forced to renegotiate the host town agreement. In order to prevent this, Noble has reached out to host towns and residents asking them to write to the state and request that the extension be reinstated into the legislation.
Board members unanimously approved the motion to have Hastings write the letter to the state in support of Noble and the 10-year extension. The town of Eagle has benefitted from the income received from Noble annually.
The town’s current tax rate is 0 and the town has been able to put at least $150,000 in a tax relief fund for the past few years; at the end of 2015, the town, with the support of Senator Patrick Gallivan, was able to get legislation passed allowing the town to set up a fund that is earmarked for tax relief. If the town ever finds that the income from Noble is no longer able to support the town or if the income from the wind turbine company dries up all together, the town has the fund that cannot be touched for any other purpose than to keep tax rates down.
Hastings reported to the board that last month he was able to add this year’s $150,000 into the tax relief fund.
Also during the meeting:
• Highway Superintendent Randy Williams reported that the new truck is in and the accessories are being installed. Williams hopes to have the truck in the town’s possession next month. Williams also reported that he is continuing to work on Washburn Road. A wet summer set the work back, so Williams is unsure that it will be completed this year; he has 5,000 gallons of oil that the town can receive on warrantee from Midland. At this point in the year, it is getting too late to add oil and stone to Washburn so Williams plans to see if the oil on warrantee can be held over until next year.
• The board approved the 2018 tentative budget for review. The budget will be worked on further at a work session later this year.