LANESBOROUGH, Mass. – The town has agreed to a new payment in lieu of taxes agreement with the Berkshire Wind Power Cooperative Corp.
The new agreement replaces the three-year agreement the town entered with the proprietors in 2011. According to Jeff Blake, an attorney from Kopelman & Paige representing the town, the agreement is a “better agreement” because it outlines the deal more clearly.
However, Blake said there is still some difference of opinion on the depreciation of the materials at the wind farm. The company has a schedule of depreciation over 33 years, which they say is industry standard.
But, Blake is handing that schedule over to the town’s consultants on the project for their opinion first.
“The agreement itself won’t change. The only thing that will is change is this schedule,” Blake said.
The attorney said he believes it should be a 20-year schedule. By condensing the time, the town would be in line to see $4,361 more each year. The company has already provided an itemized list of assets.
Berkshire Wind is a non-profit organization so is free from taxes. However, it is required to provide a PILOT. The agreement with Lanesborough assesses the personal property at $1.8 million and the town will tax that accordingly.
The Board of Selectmen approved the contract pending an agreement on the depreciation schedule.
The agreement helps to avoid the situation Hancock found itself in with the company. After the PILOT agreement there expired, the two sides were seeking a new deal but not quick enough. Hancock filed a lawsuit against the company for PILOT fees not paid while the two sides were hashing out an agreement. The company ultimately made the payment to Hancock.
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