ALBANY – The enacted state budget will include greater aid for communities that suffer property tax losses due to the closure or repowering of a power plant, according to Senator Catharine Young (R,C,I- 57th District).
The newly adopted budget includes $45 million for the power plant mitigation fund established last year by Senator Young, and calls for the mitigation fund to be extended from five years to seven. She said she will work directly with the Governor to secure the necessary amount from the fund to make the city, school and county whole.
“This funding is a win for Dunkirk’s school and city taxpayer, and Chautauqua County. We have averted devastating budget cuts that would have resulted if the state did not make up the difference from the reduction in the payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) from the NRG plant. The extension of the time period for aid is also a victory, because it will be a stable funding mechanism that will provide budgeting consistency for local officials until the plant comes back on line,” Senator Young said.
Chautauqua County, the City of Dunkirk and the School District had estimated an $8 million loss of revenues in 2017 without the state aid available through the mitigation fund.
“Our hardworking taxpayers could not afford to cover the substantial holes that would be created if this mitigation funding did not exist. It would have been terrible for our children, the elderly and all who rely on city and county services. If the mitigation funds were not there, we would face serious reductions of vital services, such as police and fire protection. The state aid will offset a sizeable portion of the lost revenue and protect our community and school district,” Senator Young said.
Progress toward repowering continues, and Senator Young said she believes work will start soon so that the plant can restart as an environmentally friendly, clean, natural gas facility.