The benefits that wind-farm operations could bring to Franklin County will be shared next week during talks on whether property taxes will be waived in favor of negotiated payments.
The Franklin County Industrial Development Agency is bringing together the parties impacted by the wind-farm projects in the eastern portion of the county, called Noble Chateaugay Wind Park LLC and Noble Bellmont Wind Park LLC.
The meeting, set for Wednesday at the IDA Office on Elm Street, will include the developer, Noble Environmental Power of Connecticut, and representatives from the Town of Bellmont, the Town of Chateaugay, Chateaugay Central School and IDA Executive Director Brad Jackson.
Noble plans to build 72 towers in Chateaugay and 14 more in Bellmont on 8,623 acres south of Route 11 and east of Route 374.
The areas involved include Sancombe Road, Cassidy Road, Seymore Road, County Line Road, No. 5 Road and Tourville Road.
Each tower will be 290 feet tall, with a trio of rotating fiberglass blades that are 270 feet across.
Jackson told county legislators Thursday that a cost-benefit analysis has been completed that determines the projected impact the wind farms would have as far as direct benefits, indirect benefits and induced benefits.
But the results will not be shared openly until either late July or late August when the consultant who performed the work can get to Malone to explain it.
That didn’t go over well with Saranac Lake-area Legislator Timothy Burpoe, who said some of that information needs to be known before talks can begin about possible payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreements.
Jackson agreed some of it can be shared in the closed meeting but said full disclosure will not be made for several weeks.
At the same time, Jackson urged the legislators to encourage Franklin County townships to opt out of a state law that automatically exempts wind-farm and methane-digester projects from paying property taxes.
He said Bellmont and Chateaugay passed resolutions disallowing those exemptions, so compensation will now be part of the upcoming negotiations.
Jackson said he wants the project on the fast track and hopes the entire package can be ready by September or October.
Burpoe (D-Saranac Lake) said he doesn’t think wind-farm operations should get exemptions.
The wind-energy companies scouted this area and targeted development here because of its favorable wind conditions, he said, so it’s not like they are now going to pick up their operation and move elsewhere if exemptions and tax breaks aren’t granted.
By Denise A. Raymo
21 June 2007
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