The Hounsfield Town Council hasn’t decided whether it will help pay for the meals and transportation, said [Supervisor Timothy W.] Scee, who also described the mutual effort as “last minute.” The town, he said, still has to research whether spending taxpayer money on the rallies would be legal or ethical.
SACKETS HARBOR – Hounsfield town officials and the developer behind the Galloo Island Wind project have teamed up to host support rallies Tuesday before state information and public statement forums.
The town has sent out fliers and emails to residents and business owners inviting them to “support the Galloo Island Wind project” by attending either a free luncheon at noon or dinner at 4 p.m. at the Anchor Restaurant, 210 W. Main St. Apex Clean Energy will provide information about its 108.9 megawatt project during the meals.
A shuttle bus service will also be provided to the forums held by the Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment, which reviews large-scale energy projects, at the Henderson Fire District building, 8939 Route 178. The shuttle service will depart at 1:20 p.m. after lunch and 5:20 p.m. after dinner.
“We know how opposed some people are in Henderson and we just wanted to have – we wanted to have representatives there as well,” Supervisor Timothy W. Scee said, adding that he supported the wind farm because of “economic development in the community. Jobs. Alternative energy development.”
While Galloo Island lies in the town of Hounsfield, several Henderson residents, including Town Supervisor John J. Culkin, have opposed the project in fear that it could lead to a $40 million property value loss, among other issues.
The Hounsfield Town Council hasn’t decided whether it will help pay for the meals and transportation, said Mr. Scee, who also described the mutual effort as “last minute.”
The town, he said, still has to research whether spending taxpayer money on the rallies would be legal or ethical.
While he could not comment on the Hounsfield’s efforts specifically, Jefferson County Attorney David J. Paulsen said municipalities typically cannot provide gifts in the form of funds or credit to private entities, but could finance certain endeavors if a public purpose can be identified.
“You want to be careful to avoid getting involved in any type of situation where you advocate one point of view over another,” he said.
Mr. Culkin said he had no qualms about Hounsfield’s efforts as long as they do not violate town law or ethics.
“It certainly appears as if they’re trying to buy support,” he said.
The two informational forums to discuss the state Article 10 law review and for Apex to present an overview of its project will start at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. People will then have an opportunity to voice comments and concerns during the public statement hearings at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Examiners helping to oversee the review will then host a procedural conference to discuss the next steps in the process at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 15 at the Henderson Fire Hall. They will determine which interested stakeholders will become parties and who will have an opportunity to receive intervenor funding to assess the project; discuss the application review schedule; ask Apex questions, and possibly make rulings on funding requests.
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