Friday, 13 July 2012 00:00
As the State Legislative Session ended, several pieces of legislation emerged to help the North Shore School District and other local municipalities address issues relating to the ramp down at the Glenwood Landing power plant. The bills were sponsored by local officials as well as the chair of the Senate Energy Committee.
The state has taken the initial steps to respond to the community’s concerns regarding the closure of the power plant.
“This is the function of state government; to protect property taxpayers in these types of situations. It is in state government’s power to affect tax policy on this issue since LIPA is a state authority,” said North Shore School Board President Carolyn Mazzu Genovesi. “While these bills have not yet become a law, we are encouraged by the legislation that was introduced this session, which seeks to permit the establishment of a fund to address the significant tax burden that our district and other local municipalities face with the closing of the power plant.”
The bills proposed in this year’s legislative session (senate bill numbers, S.7784 and S.7789) aim at establishing a dedicated fund to accept excess proceeds from existing energy emission programs or from the sale of mothballed power generating facilities in or around New York City, and to direct that those funds be used for local property tax mitigation. The bill (S.7789) that relates to establishing the repowering and local mitigation fund for payments to certain electric generating facilities passed in the senate, but not in the assembly.
Power plants throughout New York often represent a significant portion of the tax base for the local municipality. In the event that power plants close or downsize, these bills work so that funds would be made available to these municipalities as they transition away from being so reliant on the power plant taxes.
“It is my understanding that these bills acknowledge that there needs to be a glide path for our district when the power plant that our community has hosted for over 100 years finally shuts down,” said Genovesi. “Providing for a fund that would be used to ease the significant burden over a period of time, rather than all at once, will help the district to plan and make contingencies during this period of significant tax loss. “
Genovesi stressed that the next steps for the district are to “continue to work with our Albany representatives throughout the summer and fall in the hope that the state will have a solution to address the impending tax burden before the board needs to plan for the next year’s school budget.”
She said the board of education will also continue to work with the Legislative Action Committee, the local villages and all the community organizations that remain concerned about the impact of the closure of the plant.
“The school district is very grateful to our local Albany representatives, Senator Marcellino, Senator Martins, Assemblyman Lavine and Assemblyman Montesano for working hard to help craft a solution to this serious issue for their constituents,” said Genovesi.