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IDA approves PILOT for wind farm project

A payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) application for a 126 megawatt Cassadaga wind farm project has been approved by the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency.

The final resolution regarding the PILOT for the project was approved unanimously by the board of directors on Tuesday morning. Richard Dixon, CCIDA chief financial officer and interim chief executive officer, said the project will include the installation of up to 48 wind turbine generators in Charlotte, Cherry Creek, Arkwright and Stockton.

“It’s a green energy, it reduces emissions and we are very pleased we were able to move this project forward,” Dixon said.

An annual PILOT payment of $504,000 will be divided between the taxing entities involved, including the Cassadaga Valley Central School District, the Forestville Central School District, Chautauqua County and the various towns. An annual escalator will increase each subsequent PILOT payment by the New York State property tax cap allowable levy growth factor, which is the lesser of the Consumer Price Index or 2 percent.

Dixon said the landowner payments will be in excess of $1 million. About seven to 10 permanent jobs will be created as a result of the wind farms, with about 100 jobs during the construction phase.

The Cassadaga project went through the Article 10 process under the new regulations that were established with the Power NY Act of 2011 and created a process for the siting of electric generating facilities and re-powering projects. A multi-agency siting board was put in charge of streamlining the permitting process for power plants of 25 megawatts or greater.

Dixon said no one spoke against the project during Tuesday’s meeting. Charles Leichner, Cassadaga Valley Central School District superintendent, and Debra A. McAvoy, business official, were present and spoke in favor of the project.