According to Herkimer County Legislature’s Finance Committee chairman, Dennis Korce, the county legislature has voted to offer Community Energy a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement of $8,000 per megawatt.
The payment is structured as $6,000 per megawatt plus one percent of gross receipts. Since the turbines planned for the Jordanville
Wind Project are two megawatt turbines, the taxation rate will be $16,000 per turbine.
The county’s consultant determined that the full taxation rate per turbine would be $40,000 per megawatt. Therefore, the county’s offer represents an 80 percent tax exemption.
This rate of exemption will apply to all wind projects in Herkimer County.
The Jordanville Wind project will bring “six to 12 jobs” to the county, according to the Jordanville Wind Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement.
By comparison, Wal-Mart brought over 200 jobs and generates over $1 million a year in sales-tax revenues at its distribution center in Schoharie County, which employs many Herkimer County residents.
And the environmental impacts are negligible, compared with what a 68-turbine factory will do to our towns and the vista from neighboring towns.
If we may judge from experience at the Maple Ridge project in Lowville (Tug Hill), very few of the construction-phase jobs will be filled locally. Almost all the construction crews come from elsewhere, providing no additional jobs to the local area.
If Community Energy builds all 68 turbines, this will provide $1,088,000 in annual tax revenues. The split is 22 percent to the county, 14 percent to the two towns (prorated by turbines per town), and 64 percent to the school.
Both the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and the Supplement that followed are very vague on funding mechanisms for dismantling the 400-foot turbines once their productive life ends. In effect, no “decommissioning plan” is in place.
The towns of Warren and Stark should insist upon detailed plans and full funding for dismantling the turbines, before accepting the Final Environmental Impact Statement.
The cost of removing the 303-ton turbines will be enormous, and transporting them out of the towns will almost certainly cause severe damage to roads, as well as other environmental impacts.
At that point in time, with no profits ahead, the project owner will have no incentive to compensate the towns for these damages, which may extend well beyond the towns of Stark and Warren.
Dismantling includes environmental impacts. Therefore, it should be negotiated and funded before the SEQR process ends. If the towns wait until they are no longer under the protection of SEQR, they may find themselves in a weakened negotiating position.
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