I am writing in response to “40-turbine Wind Farm Project Moving Forward” which appeared on the front page of the June 22-28 issue of North Country This Week.
As a friend of several parents in the Parishville-Hopkinton school district, I am encouraging their school board to opt out of the NYS tax exemption #487. This exemption lets private, for-profit solar, wind and biomass corporations function completely tax free for 15 years.
By opting out with a simple board resolution, the school district will be able to review all energy plans- whether it be a solar array, a bio digester, or a wind farm. You can research the company, the size of the operation, the potential earnings and employment of the project, and decide for yourselves if the project should be granted any exemption in taxation, or a payment in lieu of tax. Residential operations can also be researched, as some small solar grids area actually making a decent profit.
The tax rate increased 5% this past budget cycle at PHCS. Administrators must realize this opting-out can be the best tool for increasing revenues and the tax base. It is completely justifiable when these corporations are from outside the area, (Iberdrola is from Spain, and is the 4th largest energy company in the world) and are also being subsidized by our own tax dollars.
Indian River, Harrisville and Tupper Lake are the only three districts in SLC to have opted out of this unfair exemption, and it is due to the fact they are partially in other counties. All New York State towns, cities and counties can opt out as well, by filing a local law.
Potsdam Central School could be seeing an additional $60,000 per year if they had opted out before the 12-acre solar array came to town and was given this exemption.
Don’t let private corporations set up shop in our communities without demanding they contribute to our public schools and services. All elected boards should be having this conversation.