Library filed under Taxes & Subsidies from New York
The irresponsible decision by the Jefferson County Legislature approving a tax abatement plan for the Galloo Island Wind Farm leaves unresolved several issues that will bedevil the county for years to come. A last-minute offer of another $3.5 million in community benefits by Upstate NY Power Corp. sweetened the deal sufficiently to win the eight votes needed for county approval of a 20-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes plan for the project. But that does not end the dispute.
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.
Wind turbines are exempt from sales taxes, a recent opinion by the state Department of Taxation and Finance states. It's unclear exactly how that will affect the proposed Galloo Island Wind Farm, because the developer wouldn't say how much of the estimated $253 million originally said to be eligible for sales taxes includes turbine parts.
The Jefferson County Legislature, after hearing from dozens of speakers both pro and con, approved the payment-in-lieu-of taxes agreement for the Galloo Island Wind Farm on an 8-5 vote. ...the acceptance of the 20-year agreement means that Upstate New York Power Corp. can now move forward with procuring the necessary permits for the project.
In a move that has implications for northern Oswego County, the Jefferson County Legislature's Finance and Rules Committee opted Tuesday evening to make no recommendations on a payment-in-lieu-of-tax agreement for the Galloo Island Wind Farm project. Instead, the committee sent the resolution to the full floor of its legislature.
A minor firestorm has flared after the attorney representing Upstate NY Power Corp., developer of the proposed Galloo Island Wind Farm, claimed Thursday the developer never offered an 18-year PILOT to ease legislators' concerns about a proposed 20-year agreement.
The Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency must now accomplish what it was asked to do in the first place: draft a uniform policy for payments in lieu of taxes by wind developers. That was the directive originally given by the county Legislature. Instead the JCIDA presented a proposed PILOT on behalf of Upstate NY Power Corp. to accommodate construction of its wind farm on Galloo Island.
The Watertown City Council, and more specifically Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham, has big issues with the economic benefits being offered to the developers of the Galloo Island Wind Farm project. The mayor has lashed out on his WATN 1240-AM radio show, his blog and Monday night at the City Council meeting against the proposed payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement because, he says, it will minimize the amount of sales tax that flows to the city.
The Jefferson County Board of Legislators did not vote on the agreement Tuesday night as planned. Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency surprised the legislators by asking that the resolutions dealing with the PILOT be deleted from the agenda.
Flat Rock Windpower, the company under which the 195-turbine wind farm was developed, also is seeking court approval of a proposed escrow agreement that local taxing jurisdictions recently rejected - and the possible repayment of millions of dollars already sent to the county, towns and school districts. Based on a 15-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes plan, the county billed Flat Rock for $8.99 million but received a payment of only $2.29 million.
Once these wind farms are established, they will forever change the Great Lakes, and not for the better. The minimal amount of power produced will go downstate, or haven't you noticed all the major power lines go south. The millions of taxpayer stimulus money will go to foreign investors like Iberdola. There is excess hydropower already in NNY, and more research should be done to improve existing hydro. We should be looking at all other types of renewable energy.
Lewis County lawmakers are telling the people who run the wind farm to pay up. The county and the Maple Ridge Wind Farm had an agreement. The wind farm was supposed to pay the county about $9 million in December.
Before using rural taxpayer dollars to help Wall Street bankers, the county and JCIDA need to do more work. At a minimum we must ensure 1)that we get the best economic deal possible; 2)that the project complies with the law; 3)that the developer won't use eminent domain to seize our neighbors' property; 4)that we minimize the negative impacts to property values and waterfront communities, and 5)that we consider the alternatives to this type of industrial development.
The fine print of the novel payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement proposed for Galloo Island Wind Farm gives the developer stability in tax payments over 20 years, making it easier to attract investors. But the bottom line means about $5.3 million less in taxes for the coffers of the town of Hounsfield, Sackets Harbor Central School District and Jefferson County.
The county Board of Legislators is probably most noted for what it did not do in its final session of 2009: vote on the proposed payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement for Galloo Island Wind Farm. Project developer Upstate NY Power Corp. has told the county it needs a PILOT passed by Dec. 31 to allow it time to get financing in order and start construction in 2010.
The Herkimer County Industrial Development Agency on Thursday passed a resolution beginning its involvement in ongoing negotiations related to bringing a wind energy project to the towns of Fairfield, Norway and Little Falls. The project consists of 37 wind turbines, 14 miles of gravel access road, 20 miles of buried electrical lines and an operation facility, the resolution states.
In a mailing dated Tuesday, Upstate NY Power Corp. again painted a rosy picture of the proposed Galloo Island Wind Farm for Jefferson County legislators. ...Upstate NY Power Corp. plans to build an 84-turbine, 252-megawatt generation facility on Galloo Island. At the Nov. 24 meeting, nearly 40 people voiced strong opinions in favor of and opposed to the project.
A state board in mid-December will begin reviewing documentation from 369 businesses - including Maple Ridge Wind Farm and 10 others in the north country - that are appealing their proposed decertification from the state Empire Zone program. ...Based on a 15-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes plan, the 195-turbine wind farm in December made $8.6 million in payments to local taxing jurisdictions, with about $7 million of that to be reimbursed through the Empire Zone program.
The Jefferson County Board of Legislators will take its time in considering a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement for the proposed Galloo Island Wind Farm. That pace is at odds with the project developer, which has requested the PILOT be approved by the end of the year so the project will qualify for a 30 percent rebate from the federal government through stimulus funding.
The momentum to ram through a property tax break for the developers of the Galloo Island Wind Farm has slowed down to allow for more public consideration and a broader understanding of what is at stake in the proposed giveaway of tens of millions of dollars. ...The school district and town without raising any questions unanimously agreed to a plan that ...is less than half of what they could expect annually for the next 20 years if the project were fully assessed.