ARKWRIGHT – The Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency is contemplating granting certain financial assistance to a large-scale, wind-powered electric generating project in the north county area.
Two public hearings recently took place – one in the town of Pomfret and the other in the town of Arkwright (where a majority of the project would be located) – to gather community input on such a move.
The financial assistance, as applied for by Arkwright Summit Wind Farm LLC, could include potential exemptions or partial exemptions from sales and use taxes, mortgage recording taxes and real property taxes, according to a public hearing notice.
“Our involvement is strictly limited to an application for financial assistance that the board of directors is contemplating,” stated Kristine Morabito, CCIDA business development manager. “So, now that the public hearing has been held, at some point in time, there will be a CCIDA board meeting where the board will review the application for financial assistance; we’ll review the comments made by the public and make a decision whether or not to provide the assistance.”
At the public hearing in Arkwright, Tim Mantai spoke against the use of taxpayer money to assist in the renewable energy project. Arkwright Supervisor Frederic “Nick” Norton pointed out town officials have negotiated a larger $350,000 host agreement, which would more than offset any loss in tax revenues. Another person expressed skepticism about the need for the power generated from the wind project after a recent study revealed the mothballing of the NRG Energy Inc. plant in Dunkirk would have no adverse impact on the reliability of the state’s electric transmission system.
Morabito noted about seven to 10 people spoke during the public hearing in Pomfret. She recalled two participants spoke in favor of the project, while others relayed questions that did not relate to the CCIDA’s involvement with the project.
The proposed wind project would result in the acquisition of an interest in approximately 36 parcels of land in Arkwright and Pomfret to build up to 36 wind turbines with a maximum capacity of 79.8 megawatts, in addition to supplementary equipment, facilities and fixtures, as stated in the public hearing notice.
The CCIDA board is scheduled to meet today at 10 a.m. at the SUNY Fredonia Technology Incubator on Central Avenue in Dunkirk. The board may discuss project financing at that time.
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