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Wind PILOTs: Too much given away to developers

A payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement being developed by the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency will give away tens of millions of dollars in taxes with minimal return for the price being paid by county taxpayers. A uniform policy plan being prepared by the agency will collect $2.5 million from developers of the proposed Galloo Island Wind Farm in its first year of operation. That represents about 15 percent to 20 percent of what would be collected if the project paid full taxes.

Apayment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement being developed by the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency will give away tens of millions of dollars in taxes with minimal return for the price being paid by county taxpayers.

A uniform policy plan being prepared by the agency will collect $2.5 million from developers of the proposed Galloo Island Wind Farm in its first year of operation. That represents about 15 percent to 20 percent of what would be collected if the project paid full taxes.

In the first year alone, the county, school districts and other municipalities will lose out on almost $10 million that could be used to reduce property taxes, build roads or hire new teachers.

Future payments may be adjusted based on energy prices but projected out over a 15-year pilot the developer will reap a windfall worth millions of dollars.

And what will Jefferson County residents get in return?

Will we get jobs? Maybe a handful.

Will we get lower-cost electricity? No.

Will we get a better environment? No.

What other manufacturer or business receives an 85 percent tax break for something that does not yield a significant number of new jobs?

The JCIDA needs to slow down and... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

A payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement being developed by the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency will give away tens of millions of dollars in taxes with minimal return for the price being paid by county taxpayers.

A uniform policy plan being prepared by the agency will collect $2.5 million from developers of the proposed Galloo Island Wind Farm in its first year of operation. That represents about 15 percent to 20 percent of what would be collected if the project paid full taxes.

In the first year alone, the county, school districts and other municipalities will lose out on almost $10 million that could be used to reduce property taxes, build roads or hire new teachers.

Future payments may be adjusted based on energy prices but projected out over a 15-year pilot the developer will reap a windfall worth millions of dollars.

And what will Jefferson County residents get in return?

Will we get jobs? Maybe a handful.

Will we get lower-cost electricity? No.

Will we get a better environment? No.

What other manufacturer or business receives an 85 percent tax break for something that does not yield a significant number of new jobs?

The JCIDA needs to slow down and re-evaluate this ill-conceived plan. The JCIDA is responsible to ensure a greater economic benefit to county residents. Projects without meaningful numbers of jobs should not benefit from lower property taxes.

And JCIDA must require additional conditions on wind turbine developers.

To benefit from any JCIDA program the developers must be required to sign Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo's code of ethics. The process of permitting wind developments has been fraught with conflicts of interests. Some local government officials deciding zoning and safety codes are the same people who have signed agreements with developers to site turbines on their personal property.

Additionally the developers must provide adequate upfront funds under control of local municipalities to remove the turbines once their useful life expires or the operators go out of business.

The JCIDA has undertaken an enormous task which will affect generations of Jefferson County residents, and they are doing it without public discussion and debate. The time has come for a serious discussion of the value of property tax breaks.


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

JUL 25 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/21393-wind-pilots-too-much-given-away-to-developers
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