YATES – New officials, new year, new purpose.
Newly elected officials Jim Simon, town supervisor, and John Riggi, town councilman, are diving right into the windmill issue.
“Every indicator we have, the majority of the people are against it,” says Simon. “It’s a town board vote, so that’s the next step.”
Although the town has to vote on the project, the state ultimately makes the decision, which puts a twist on an already complex local issue.
“This is the first real test case where the state makes the decision,” Simon said.
In December a survey was done and 66 percent of people surveyed came out against it, with 30 percent for and the rest having no opinion.
Although the turbine issue is what initially drew Riggi and Simon to get more involved, they quickly saw that there was more to be done.
“There is so much more that we can do for the town of Yates in terms of serving the people and protecting the people,” Riggi said. “Protecting the town and the resources and what makes us Yates.”
One of the opportunities Riggi and Simon believe would be more beneficial for the town is the Science Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park, which already has an anchor company that will be manufacturing circuit boards for solar panels and creating 1,000 jobs.
“That’s the kind of economic development we need, we can attract those residents to this town, fill up the school,” Riggi said. “Let’s say we get 3 percent of those 1,000 jobs, that’s 30 families with kids buying houses and services and maybe then the town could afford a small grocery store or a restaurant or drugstore.”
Power from the turbines would be dumped into the grid, providing no decrease in energy prices for local residents.
“Instead of laying waste to the beautiful vista of not just the lakeshore but this whole area,” said Riggi. “Why destroy that with wind turbines when we could just as easily get long term economic development for the town?”
Despite the previous board’s last minute attempts in December to slow down opposition to the project, Riggi said they will keep fighting.
“It didn’t stop us, it’s not going to stop us,” he said. “We got to take care of this turbine issue and then move on to the economic development.”
The next Town of Yates board meeting will be held Jan. 14 at the town hall.
The deadline to submit comments to the wind turbine project is Jan. 12.
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