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Wind farm PILOT agreement OK’d by Franklin Co.

BELLMONT – The Franklin County Legislature agreed Thursday to forgo taxes on the Jericho Rise Wind Farm project in exchange for shared payments based on the number of megawatts produced.

As taxing jurisdictions in the proposed development area, the county, as well as the towns of Bellmont and Chateaugay, will divide 75 percent of the real-property tax amount each would have received had the project not been tax exempt.

The remaining 25 percent would go to Chateaugay Central School District.

The shares are based on payments of $4,000 per megawatt generated at the facility, which is proposed to have eight towers in Bellmont and 29 towers in Chateaugay.

DEVELOPMENT FUND

Also as part of the agreement, the county will also be paid a separate $1,000 per megawatt for the first five years of the wind farm’s operation for an economic-development fund.

The money can be used at the county’s discretion, according to the terms of the contract put forth for Jericho Rise by its parent company, EDP Renewables North America LLC.

Chateaugay signed a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement in May, and Bellmont officials are to take up the issue at their next meeting at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19.

RECUSED

County Legislature Chair Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay) recused himself from the vote Thursday because the proposed facility is near his home.

He had received a letter with a good-neighbor agreement from developers that typically goes to nonparticipating landowners, advising them they could be compensated for certain problems that arise at an operational wind farm so they won’t sue the company.

Jones said he disclosed his position with the County Legislature in the response documents to Jericho Rise, “and I have not heard back from them.”

The measure was passed by a vote of 5 to 0, with Legislator Carl Sherwin (D-Malone) excused from the meeting.