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Officials say wind farms could bring windfall to towns  

Although details are still being worked out and completion of area wind farms isn’t expected untill sometime in 2008, some local officials are looking forward to the economic benefits that these farms could bring to their towns.

Rick Bronner, supervisor of the town of Stark, said that county officials are still working out the numbers for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes arrangement, but as of now the towns of Stark and Warren would both receive $97,000 a year in annual payments for the next 15 years for the 68 two megawatt towers that will be built in that area.

Also, the Stark and Warren school districts both would receive $340,000 a year, and the county would receive $432,000 a year.

Bronner said that the town of Stark could do many things with that money, including lower taxes, enhance and add additions to the highway department, support more community programs, build a new fire department, work on local parks and invest for the future.

“We could provide a better quality of life to our residents and provide things to them that they have had to go without in the past,” said Bronner.

Tim Parisi, supervisor of the town of Manheim, said he wasn’t sure what the current numbers were for the town of Manheim, but that the numbers would be significant.

Parisi said that the payments they receive from the wind farms would help stabilize the town’s tax base, as well as helping out the school district and the county’s revenues.

“For the county, it could help stabilize the jail,” said Parisi, jokingly.

Parisi added that although the town has been approached by a developer, he hasn’t received any applications yet, but expects one sometime in the future. There are approximately 40 towers that are planned to be built in the Manheim and Little Falls area.

It was reported recently that Lewis County received $5.58 million from a wind project, with the Lowville Academy and Central School District receiving $2.63 million of the sum.

Frank Matthews, supervisor of the town of Fairfield, said that the money coming into Herkimer County won’t be that much, but will still be significant. He added the reason that Lewis County’s payments will be higher is because they are part of the Empire Zone program, and the state will reimburse the company for those payments.

Matthews said that approximately 60 towers will be built in the Fairfield, Norway area.

James Wallace, county administrator, said that negotiating is still on-going for the three wind projects and that the Manheim/Little Falls project is about a year behind the other two.

“They all depend on what people are willing to pay, but we are right in the middle of all of them right now,” said Wallace.

By Eric Monnat
Telegram Staff Writer

herkimertelegram.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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