Articles filed under Taxes & Subsidies from New Hampshire
The higher valuation for the wind park has driven up the total equalized valuations for Millsfield and Dixville, which contain the majority of the wind park. Millsfield's equalized valuation went from $6.4 million to $180 million while Dixville's went from $16.7 million to $54.4 million. Millsfield residents have said they fear the tax rate there will jump as high as $60 per thousand.
The equalized valuation figures stem from the appraised value of the 33-turbine Granite Reliable wind park, which, in 2012, the DRA appraised at $217 million. But that figure, the commissioners argue, is essentially twice the value of $113 million a DRA appraiser gave them in 2007, when they entered into an annual payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) agreement with the wind park owner based on that figure.
When county administrator Jennifer Fish was asked whether she had calculated the dollar amounts of property tax bills that would have to be sent out in Millsfield and Dixville under the DRA's equalized valuations, she replied that she had not done the math but believed they would be exponentially higher. A DRA witness pointed out that the press had widely reported that the capital investment in the Granite Reliable Wind Farm would be in the range of $250 to $275 million.
Residents took the selectmen to court earlier this year challenging the PILOT agreement on the grounds it was crafted at illegal non-public hearings. ...The tax agreement would cut the potential tax revenue by approximately half, but raise the town's assessed value. In a town with a cooperative school district partially based on the town's assessed value, it could end up costing the town more, Allen has argued.
A group of residents asked the Select Board on Monday to allow voters to decide whether the town should hold an easement for Antrim Wind Energy, whose stalled project is weeks away from a critical hearing with the state's Site Evaluation Committee. The Select Board also agreed Monday to hold public deliberations on Thursday regarding a new proposed payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT, agreement with the wind developer.
Residents here continue to question the advantages of a proposed payment agreement between the town and a wind energy developer after a similar agreement was voided by a judge last month. Selectmen signed a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement last year with Antrim Wind Energy LLC, ...but last month that agreement was voided by Hillsborough Superior Court North Judge David A. Garfunkel.
After Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge David Garfunkel ruled that the town's original PILOT, or payment in lieu of taxes, agreement with Antrim Wind Energy for a proposed wind farm is null and void on May 20, town officials met with members of Antrim Wind Monday night to discuss terms for a revised PILOT, which was drafted by the wind developer.
At the end of an almost two hour informational meeting on a proposed payment-in-lieu-of taxes agreement with Granite Reliable Power, selectmen asked how many in the crowd of about 30 support that approach. Only three people raised their hands. The majority said they favored the town annually appraising the wind farm property based on its ad valorem or fair market value.
However, some members wanted to see the program repealed, including House Republican Alliance co-chair Rep Pam Tucker, R-Greenland. ...Over the past two years, the House voted to repeal RGGI, while the Senate wanted to modify the program. Two years ago, the bill died when the Senate failed to override former Gov. John Lynch's veto.
Grant Bosse, the editor of New Hampshire Watchdog, said the move by RGGI has little to do with lowering carbon emissions. He said the economic collapse and slow recovery meant fewer emissions, fewer producers purchasing permits, which meant a loss of projected revenue for the nine states. "This has everything to do with revenues and nothing to do with the environment. This is driven by a desire for more state revenue."
County administrator Jennifer Fish gave the news to the Coös Delegation, which gathered for its quarterly meeting in Lancaster on Monday. The full PILOT agreement was for $495,000, and as of January 31, Brookfield Renewable Power had paid only $249,175, or about half of the total payment.
In a reversal of its earlier position, Brookfield Renewable Energy Group last Thursday paid Coos County the balance of its 2013 payment in lieu of taxes for its 99-megawatt wind park in the unincorporated places of Dixville and Millsfield.
County administrator Jennifer Fish said a payment of $495,000 is due, and Brookfield has paid $249,175, with a deadline of February 1 to pay the remainder. "Brookfield notified the county on December 3 that the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) should be $249,175, based on the amount of megawatts that they were allowed to generate," she said.
Dalton selectmen were told by a Public Service of N.H. official that the utility feels it has a favorable legislature and court system and most communities are too financially stressed to be able to put up a credible defense. The message being put out by utilities is the communities do not have the resources to withstand the "onslaught and should settle for whatever terms are offered".
But Brookfield is arguing the PILOT payment is based on what Granite Reliable Power is permitted to produce. The company said ISO-New England, which manages the power grid, curtailed its output to 45.835 megawatts. At $5,000 per megawatt, Brookfield said it owes the county $249,175 for its 2013 PILOT.
In 2008 three Coos County Commissioners approved a deal under which - instead of taxes - the county expected to get payments of about $495,000 each year for a decade. But now Brookfield says it only owes the county half of that, says Jennifer Fish, the Coos County Administrator.
A disagreement has broken out between the Coos County Commissioners and Brookfield Power-which owns the Granite Reliable Windpark--over what was expected for that payment. The County was expecting a payment of $495,000, while the windpark only submitted $249,175.
In averting the "fiscal cliff"' last week, Congress also extended tax credits for wind energy development for the next year, but while the news is good for the industry, several developers say they aren't the deciding factor when looking at New Hampshire projects.
U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said Tuesday she supports extending renewable energy credits ...However, the New Hampshire Democrat offered a caution regarding new projects. Shaheen said she favors the expanded use of renewable energy, but remains "mindful of the impact these infrastructure projects can have on communities."
The town of Lempster’s education taxes increased by $317,722 the year after the wind farm went online – although other economic variables may also have played a part in the increase. That cost, in addition to the $186,137 the town paid in additional county taxes after the wind farm arrived, means that Lempster residents have not experienced the windfall they may have hoped for. Richards says that while the town’s tax rates decreased for one year after the wind farm opened at the end of 2008, they rose above pre-wind mill rates the following year