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RTW: Be skeptical of candidate claims in the town of Freedom 

Credit:  By Stephanie Milks, special to Olean Times Herald | February 5, 2021 | www.oleantimesherald.com ~~

I would like to bring some attention to the false claims that have been circulating through the town of Freedom regarding tax reductions and road repair â€“ the claims being they are entirely dependent upon the installation of wind turbines.

In fact, the certificate for the turbines to be built is in limbo as the New York State Siting Board and the developer, Invenergy, are in litigation in the 4th Appellate Court.

The Cattaraugus County town of Freedom is facing yet another critical election in 2021. Any claims by any candidate to have school or county taxes reduced or roads “improved” are false. At this time, town taxes would NOT be fully eliminated because of the wind project.

Per Exhibit 27 of the application revision Invenergy submitted to the state Department of Public Service in July 2019, Invenergy is only expected to give Pioneer Central School District $268,000 toward the district’s $58.6 million budget (2020-2021). That is only 0.4% of Pioneer’s budget.

How likely is it that the Pioneer Board of Education going to reduce taxes and how many dimes do you think it would add up to?

Per Exhibit 27 of the application revision, Invenergy would only give Cattaraugus County $360,000 toward its $250 million budget (2020), only 0.1% of the county’s budget. How is that pathetic percentage going to provide for a tax reduction for county residents?

Per the Host Community Agreement signed by Town Supervisor Randy Lester and voted for by Ron Ashworth and Ann Marie Dixon of the former Freedom Town Board, the town would receive $3,800 per megawatt generated, while Farmersville, Centerville, Rushford and Arcade all signed for $5,950 per megawatt.

This only allows for approximately $429,000 in host community payments to the town of Freedom. However, the 2021 Freedom tax levy is $522,000. There will still be town taxes to pay to have the largest turbines on land in the entire United States near our homes, which will ultimately reduce our property values and cause up to 107 hours of shadow flicker and noise above World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.

It is possible for the town of Freedom to adopt another town’s Host Community Agreement in its entirety to be able to obtain the same $5,950 per megawatt; however, Randy Lester and Dustin Bliss, who were notified on Jan. 27, 2020, that they were able to get more money for the town, failed to acknowledge the appropriate procedures to obtain that increase. Freedom’s agreement remains at $3,800 per megawatt.

You may request copies of the Host Community Agreements at each of the town clerks’ offices to verify.

There have been false claims related to Freedom receiving new roads should the wind turbines be installed. What Bliss, Lester, Art Baker and other pro-wind candidates have failed to mention is that Invenergy would only repair the small section of town road they would use to haul “to at least the condition that existed prior to the Commencement of Construction.”

When will Invenergy consider the beginning of “Commencement of Construction”?

“The uses of town roads by the following vehicles shall not trigger the Commencement of Construction: pickup trucks or similar light duty vehicles, drilling rigs used for geotechnical inspections, trucks delivering excavators or other earthmoving equipment.”

If you have five potholes in your road and then Invenergy causes there to be 10 potholes after they truck in “excavators and other earthmoving equipment,” Invenergy can choose to leave 10 potholes in your road when they are done because the Road Use Agreement contract signed by Lester will only “repair and reconstruct the Haul Roads … to at least the condition that existed prior to the Commencement of Construction.”

The only road repairs would be to about 14 miles of Freedom town roads out of the 49 centerline miles of Freedom town roads, per the state Department of Transportation. You may request a copy of the Road Use Agreement from the Freedom town clerk’s office to verify.

Anyone with further questions or concerns may contact me at freedomandjustice1776@gmail.com.

(Stephanie Milks lives in the town of Freedom.)

Source:  By Stephanie Milks, special to Olean Times Herald | February 5, 2021 | www.oleantimesherald.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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