The Evans Town Board has delayed discussion on three wind energy laws that would regulate both commercial and noncommercial facilities.
Board members will pick up discussion when they meet again Aug. 20. The board held public hearings on the laws Wednesday night.
Although the board received communications from the town Planning Board indicating strong support of the proposed laws, two residents voiced concerns over their language.
William Henry of Pontiac Road asked the town to review the proposals, voicing concerns that a provision could cause town residents to be taxed for renewable energy sources other than wind.
The proposed law states that the town can accept payment in lieu of taxes as a form of exemption and that the town reserves the right to opt in or out of such an agreement with wind companies.
However, Henry argued that state law mandates that the town cannot choose to return to a payment in lieu of taxes agreement after opting out, citing state Real Property Tax Law Section 487.
He also said that the law could potentially tax other forms of renewable energy, including solar energy. Henry uses solar energy units at his residence.
Frank Hotchkiss of Waterman Road supported Henry, saying that ambiguity in the law’s language could deter wind energy manufacturers from doing business in Evans.
Supervisor Francis J. Pordum moved to postpone further discussion until the next regular board meeting, stating that the board would review the proposed local laws in light of the concerns raised.
Councilman Paul Cooper was positive about the criticism.
“This proves that government works,” he said. “We hold these public hearings so we can get valuable input such as this from residents.”
In other business, the board:
• Heard public comments arguing against property assessments.
Patricia Mackert of Putnam Drive, Derby, urged the board to review the assessment process being conducted within the town. Mackert argued that her house, originally assessed at $50,000, is not worth the $130,000 it was given in the most recent assessment.
“Not a single house on Putnam Drive has sold for [$100,000] in 10 years,“ she told the board.
Her daughter, Tracy Takavoli, a managing partner at the real estate firm Lakecrest Associates, reiterated her mother’s comments. She stated that, even with a reduction in the assessment of $30,000 awarded by the assessor’s office, “there’s no way that this property is worth $100,000.”
Both mother and daughter asked the town to review the assessment process and to annul it if the assessments weren’t full market value.
By Steve Brachmann
19 July 2008
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