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Supervisors want host agreements for wind farms  

Supervisors from towns with wind projects want to see host community agreements in their towns as a part of any tax breaks for wind power developers.

The Jefferson County Board of Legislators heard from the county’s counsel on negotiations, Kevin R. McAuliffe, Tuesday night. He advocated negotiating only payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreements.

But the supervisors want to see PILOT and host community agreements.

“We think it’s only fair,” Hounsfield Supervisor Jean H. Derouin said. “We have the legal expertise to make it a binding contract. … We’ll make sure it’ll be enforceable and we’ll be happy with it.” Galloo Island, where Upstate NY Power Corp. plans a 77-turbine project, is in the town of Hounsfield.

Host community agreements would be negotiated by developers and towns that have the project, to the exclusion of the county and school board. PILOT negotiations include all involved taxing jurisdictions. The Development Authority of the North Country entered into a host community agreement with the town of Rodman for DANC’s Route 177 landfill.

The four other involved supervisors agreed. “There is value to host community agreements,” Clayton Supervisor Justin A. Taylor said. “I think if an HCA is properly prepared, it’s very defensible.”

Lyme Supervisor Scott G. Aubertine, who was not able to attend Tuesday night’s session, said he wants to do more research into the differences between the two approaches.

But, he said, “It seems that the towns are doing the majority of the work and taking the majority of the grief, so they should be getting the majority of the money.”

Cape Vincent Supervisor Thomas K. Rienbeck echoed that statement. “We’ve put all the time and effort into the project,” he said. “We intend to reap the rewards.”

PPM Atlantic Renewable’s 62-turbine Horse Creek Wind Farm is planned for Clayton and Orleans. In November, the developer offered a $5,000 per megawatt PILOT agreement and a separate $3,000 per megawatt host community agreement to the two towns.

On Tuesday night after the presentation, Mr. Taylor told legislators, “There are other sides to the picture besides what Mr. McAuliffe has presented to you.”

Orleans Supervisor Donna J. Chatterton said Mr. Taylor’s comments reflected the feelings of both Clayton and Orleans.

“We’ll continue to work to get an agreement that’s hopefully beneficial to everyone,” she said.

Mr. Rienbeck agreed with Mr. McAuliffe’s statements on the possible longevity of the projects. While any financial agreements would last 15 or 20 years, improvements in technology could allow turbine heads to be replaced.

“There wouldn’t be a problem with upgrading or selling them,” Mr. Rienbeck said.

Mr. McAuliffe’s encouragement of a discussion on handling wind power projects was more welcomed.

“I like the idea of bringing everyone together on an ad hoc committee,” Mr. Derouin said. “Yes, we would want to be on that committee.”

Mr. Taylor said that the county has been involved in discussions for the financial agreement for Horse Creek Wind Farm.

He agreed that it is good that the county educates itself on wind development, but said he was disappointed that Tuesday’s presentation focused solely on finances. He said Mr. McAuliffe gave one perspective, but, “There is other information out there to give a broader perspective of wind development.”

Times staff writer Jude Seymour contributed to this report.

By Nancy Madsen
Times Staff Writer

Watertown Daily Times

11 February 2008

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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