WEST CARTHAGE – Following the public hearing at its May meeting, the town of Champion board decided to opt out of a tax exemption for a solar or wind energy system or farm waste energy system as defined in state Real Property Tax Law.
The action stems from a discussion of an outline of understanding with the Copenhagen Wind Farm presented at the April 4 town board meeting.
The proposed wind farm project would include a transmission line running through a section of the town.
According to Town Attorney Timothy A. Farley, Real Property Tax Law allows the town to negotiate a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) agreement and opting out would require industrial development authority ownership to negotiate an exemption.
Town Supervisor Bruce R. Ferguson said the Carthage, Indian River and Copenhagen school districts had opted out, as did several other towns.
“We can work with either one,” said Mr. Farley. “This way, we are on the same playing field with the others who opted out.”
The board also agreed to a revised outline of understanding from Copenhagen Wind Farm LLC.
Last month the Town Council turned down the proposal because of the stipulations about the exemption. In addition, the board questioned the assessed value for the transmission line on which taxes would be calculated.
“They call it a feeder line,” councilman Thomas Stewart said. “It’s not; it’s a transmission line, and should be taxed as one. A feeder line would be from the wind tower to a substation. A transmission line is from station to station.”
“It’s hard to come up with good numbers for a cost of replacement,” said town assessor William Vargulick.
The town attorney advised the board to approve the outline of understanding and “see what it looks like in the end.”
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