HANCOCK – The town and the developer of the Berkshire Wind Power Project have agreed on a $156,600 payment in lieu of taxes for the property that’s home to 10, 1.5-megawatt wind turbines.
The Selectmen signed an agreement with the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Co. on Monday night, giving the town $156,600 per year for the next three years for the property along the Brodie Mountain ridge line.
“All towns are struggling with the state cutting back on what it sends for reimbursements for state-owned land,” Sherman Derby Sr., chairman of the Selectmen, said Tuesday. “This will help us out with infrastructure expenses and other costs connected with the town.”
The payment in lieu of taxes was determined by the value of the project – $45 million – divided by the $1,000 property valuation, and then multiplied by the town’s tax rate of $3.48, he said.
The Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Co. is a group of 14 cities and towns in eastern and central Massachusetts that collaborated to form the Berkshire Wind Power Cooperative Corp. The cooperative is the developer of the project.
After three years, the project will be reappraised, and a new payment in lieu of taxes will be set, Derby said.
Town officials and representatives from the cooperative began meeting in November to negotiate a payment in lieu of taxes on the tax-exempt property. Initially, the
cooperative had offered to pay the town up to $109,000 a year.
The signing of the agreement during a special Selectmen’s meeting, which followed town meeting Monday, comes just days before the Berkshire Wind Power Project is dedicated during an invitation-only event Thursday.
“Before they started the wind turbines, they had to have the PILOT [payment in lieu of taxes] program in place. We wanted to be able to accommodate them,” Derby said.
Construction of the wind turbines, which will provide clean energy to the communities of the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Co., began in September 2009. Work was stopped a month later after the state Land Court issued an injunction following a lawsuit filled against the project by Silverleaf Resorts. The Dallas-based company owns property on the New Ashford side of Brodie Mountain abutting the project.
The project started up again in October 2010 after the cooperative and Silverleaf reached a settlement.
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