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Ecogen properties up for taxes in Steuben County

Bath, NY – Wind developer Ecogen is now in a long list of Steuben County property owners who failed to pay their taxes this year.

According to a notice of pendency filed Thursday, Ecogen owes more than $32,000 in unpaid taxes on the 18 parcels it owns in the Town of Prattsburgh.

The notice is part of Steuben’s foreclosure process which could take up to 2.5 years, according to county Treasurer Pat Donnelly.

Donnelly said in early June his sent out nearly 5,000 letters to businesses and individuals, notifying them they had defaulted on their 2012 tax payments for specific parcels. In Ecogen’s case the county would have sent 18 notices on properties ranging from vacant parcels to manufactured housing.

Ecogen now has the option of contacting the county and setting a monthly installment plan to pay back the amount owed, Donnelly said.

As part of taking over the liens, Steuben will pay the town and school their portion of the tax bill, and look to recover the total outstanding tax, he said.

Steuben County Industrial Development Agency Executive Director Jamie Johnson said his agency had not signed a proposes tax incentive for Ecogen, which hopes to set up 18 turbines in the town.

Johnson said Ecogen officials did contact him about three weeks ago, telling him they still intend to build the Prattsburgh windfarm.

Johnson said the county does not offer tax breaks to businesses where there is a lien against the property.

SCIDA also investigates the credit history of businesses and would expect Ecogen to explain why the taxes are unpaid, Johnson said.

Ecogen has been locked in a long dispute with residents and many town officials who object to developer’s plan to build a wind farm in the area.

Opponents say the plans would put turbines too close to homes and endangers the environment and people.

Supporters say the project would bring the town revenues and provide renewable energy.