Written by Matthew A. Piacentini Friday, 24 June 2011 00:00
The Glenwood power plant is a familiar sight to anyone driving along the water, but what might not come to mind is how much it contributes to local taxes. If a plan proposed this past week to phase out the plant goes through, North Shore Schools Board would be looking at a 10 percent loss in revenue.
“We are facing a very serious situation,” North Shore Schools Board of Education President Dr. Igor Webb told the Record Pilot. “We do not yet have a full sense of the issues that might be involved. We just received this information last week… We are just beginning to try to figure out a strategy but the numbers are scary.”
LIPA announced last week that, in an effort to “modernize and manage costs,” phasing out both the Glenwood plant and one in Far Rockaway would create a net savings of approximately $76 million through 2015. The 1950s plants provide less than 2 percent of LIPA’s total energy requirements, said a spokesperson, adding, “These plants are the oldest, most inefficient and expensive plants on Long Island.”
The LIPA Board of Directors is set to meet this week to vote on the issue, and Board of Education President Webb said that North Shore Schools has held an initial meeting with LIPA / National Grid and will meet again this week as well.
Webb said, “LIPA told us that they will continue to pay taxes to the district through May, 2013… It is estimated that the facility they are planning to demolish contributes about $14 million [in taxes to the district]. We estimate that we would lose maybe half of that, but it is not clear yet how that would go. Obviously the district would be facing a huge revenue loss, probably around 10 percent of the budget.”
North Shore Schools’ board has begun fundraising for certain projects in an effort to curtail tax increases, but with a tax cap from New York State, Nassau County turning over the cost of tax refunds, and now this cut in revenue, the board is looking at major challenges coming up.
“The timing and the underlying loss of money would be extremely serious,” Webb said. “This potentially will have an enormous impact on the district. The loss of $8 million a year is not something we could make up for with fundraising.”