BELLMONT – In a special meeting that lasted less than four minutes, the Town Board voted 3-0 Thursday to approve a document outlining the details of the payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement with the developers of the Jericho Rise wind farm project.
The vote came a little more than a week after a resolution to formally approve the agreement – commonly called a PILOT – died for lack of second.
The board had been scheduled to approve the PILOT at its regular monthly meeting on Sept. 19. But when town Supervisor H. Bruce Russell made a motion to accept the agreement, neither of the two town councilmen in attendance seconded the move.
Councilman Mark Secore, who had previously expressed doubts about the project, said at the time he was uncomfortable acting on the PILOT.
Councilman Wayne Rogers said he did not want to second the motion because the board had already approved a less-detailed version and he felt the revised agreement was redundant.
With Councilman Greg Langdon absent and Councilman Harley Titus having removed himself from any actions or discussions related to the wind farm because of a conflict of interest, Russell’s motion died.
On Thursday, with Langdon in attendance and Secore absent, the measure was approved. Rogers voted in favor of the agreement.
The Franklin County Legislature, the Chateaugay Town Board and the Chateaugay Central School District Board of Education had previously signed off on the more-detailed agreement. The project calls for the construction of 37 wind turbine towers – 29 in Chateaugay and eight in Bellmont. All of the towers would be in the Chateaugay school district.
The PILOT calls for wind farm developer EDP Renewables to pay $4,000 per megawatt per year – approximately $310,000 – to the county, school district and the two towns. The school district will receive the lion’s share of the PILOT money – 59 percent or about $183,000 – with the county receiving 13 percent – about $40,000 – and the towns splitting the remaining 28 percent, which equals about $87,000.
The towns will also jointly receive about $389,000 per year through Host Community Agreements, which are separate from the PILOT.
Bellmont’s delay in acting on the PILOT agreement had no effect on the project. Many of the towers were already under construction, and Russell noted Thursday that lighting was being installed on one of the towers that same night.
“We have two done and six to go,” he said.
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