They’re huge projects, but not much of the money from wind power stays local.
That’s according to the chair of the Jefferson County’s Legislature.
“Sure, they add some wealth to the community, but it is not commensurate with the tax break they are looking for,” said Scott Gray.
He says Apex Clean Energy wants a 75 percent tax break for its proposed project on Galloo Island in Hounsfield.
Now, county lawmakers are on the verge of a policy that says no tax deals at all for Apex or any other big wind or solar developer.
“Unfortunately they want to come in and tell you what they want to pay. And that’s not their role, frankly. We’re basically telling them that’s our role and this is what we expect,” said Gray.
But Hounsfield’s town supervisor says what the county may consider a small economic benefit is quite significant to the town.
The project, with a tax deal, might bring $1.5 million to the town over 20 years.
“As our school administrator indicated, he’d rather have 50 percent of a $100 than 100 percent of nothing,” said Hounsfield Supervisor Tim Scee.
The town and the school district can still strike their own tax deals with the developer.
But with the county demanding full payment, will that put wind power in Jefferson County’s rear view mirror?
The town supervisor hopes not, but…
“I’m a little disappointed the county legislature has taken this measure to put restrictive regulations on wind and solar,” said Scee.
Apex Clean Energy issued the following statement:
“Galloo Island Wind has not seen the resolution, but we were encouraged by discussions at our presentation to the legislature on June 7 where a number of good and thoughtful questions were raised. Chairman Gray indicated in an interview that more discussion was needed, and we trust he will make good on that statement. Why the legislature would move to pass a resolution preempting any PILOT application or meaningful discussion on the topic is puzzling and we are of course interested to review the resolution and better understand the motivation. We look forward to continued discussion.”
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