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Judge dismisses lawsuit against tax break for power plant

Feb 27, 2024 12:55 am

Cassie Abel reports at HudsonValley360.com that Judge David Gandin of the Supreme Court in Ulster County on Feb. 15 dismissed the Article 78 petition former Athens county legislator and town supervisor Lee Palmateer filed seeking the nullification of the Greene County Industrial Development Agency’s approval last year of an application by New Athens Generating Company for a tax break. Palmateer had alleged that the Greene County Industrial Development Agency traded interests of the public to better themselves and its paying client. The lawsuit was also filed against New Athens Generating Company, Greene County, Catskill Central School District, and Town of Athens. Palmateer said, “The Court did not reach the merits of my claims, namely that the tax exemptions were improper.... I commend the Court and Judge Gandin for issuing a prompt decision. I have complete respect for the Court and see the wisdom of not spending judicial resources on the merits, having first concluded that I lacked standing.” The Greene County IDA gave the power plant a second tax exemption when it has been in Athens for years and was not likely to leave. The judge in the case wrote, “Petitioner’s [Palmateer] contention that he is harmed by the payment in lieu of taxes agreement because he will incur higher taxes to offset the resulting loss of annual property tax revenue to the town does not constitute an injury.... The Petitioner’s assertion that he has standing based on his common law taxpayer status also lacks merit.” Palmateer said he is considering an appeal.