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Greene lawmakers okay tax break for Cairo solar farm

Oct 22, 2020 6:00 am
Sarah Trafton is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media Greene County lawmakers October 19, approved a 15-year tax break for a proposed solar facility to be built in Cairo. The proposal, submitted by Con Edison Clean Energy Businesses, Inc., of Valhalla, calls for the construction of a 2-megawatt solar farm on Old Route 23 in Acra. The project will use about 20 acres of a 95-acre parcel. Republican Thomas Hobart, of Coxsackie, said of the payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT, agreement, “I think we’re going down a slippery slope. This opens a can of worms.” Using a PILOT allows a municipality to collect taxes from a solar facility that would otherwise be exempt. With the Cairo project taxes will be collected on the land and residence on the property, only the solar facility is tax-exempt. The county has seen a recent increase in the number of renewable energy proposals, with Bogart Solar on Cauterskill Road in Catskill, Flint Mine Solar and Hecate in Coxsackie, and Glidepath’s battery storage facility on Route 9W in Catskill. Hobart questioned how the project would be decommissioned after exceeding its lifespan, asking who will pay for it to be taken down. These types of projects are referred to the county planning board, Legislature Chairman Patrick Linger said. “We are negotiating the best possible deal we can get and are doing very well compared to our counterparts,” Real Property Tax Director Ray Ward  said. Similar-sized counties across the state average about $6,000 per megawatt, while Greene County has been averaging about $9,000 per megawatt, Ward said. The Legislature Finance Committee approved the PILOT, with Hobart and Republican Michael Bulich of Catskill, voting against the measure. Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.