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Howard wind development wrapping up planning stage

The proposed 25-turbine wind project slated for the Town of Howard dominated the town board’s Wednesday night meeting.

The board heard an update from the town planning board following that group’s meeting June 5, according to town board member Bill Hatch.

According to Jim Fodges, the acting chairman of the planning board, the board is finishing up its State Environmental Quality Review of the project and signing off on several additional agreements with EverPower Renewables, the company proposing the project.

“We’ve got a few more points to work on,” he said last week. “I think our plan is to have our findings statement ready by our next meeting.”

The next planning board meeting is at 7 p.m. tonight.

Along with the planning board update, the board authorized town Supervisor Don Evia to create an escrow account to hold money paid by EverPower to a town-hired engineer to oversee remediation work, Hatch said.

“Basically, we pay the engineering companies and we are reimbursed,” he said.

The board also heard that the Payment In Lieu of Taxes agreement between EverPower and the Steuben County Industrial Development Agency is almost complete. According to Hatch, a few minor points need to be ironed out.

“It’s not that different from the other ones,” he said, adding the agreement will likely be similar to those offered to First Wind for its projects in Cohocton and Prattsburgh.

In other business, the board is looking for answers as to why the town’s court revenues are decreasing. According to Hatch, the town collected around $16,000 last month, but brought in only $5,000 this month.

Hatch said no explanation was offered at the meeting, but there must be some reason for the decrease.

“We certainly want to find out,” he said.

The next town board meeting is at 7 p.m. July 9 in the Howard Town Hall.

By Bob Clark

Hornell Evening Tribune

12 June 2008