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VN 10/23 - Money Matters

A major factor that members of the Cohocton YES Wind Power group point to when they proclaim that supporting UPC's project is a "no-brainer" is how much money they and the Town have been promised by the developer. Two kinds of money are promised: leasehold payments (private) and PILOT or Payments In Lieu Of Taxes to the Town (public). The project proposed 1.5 MW turbines when leases were first signed, then 2.0 MW turbines last year, and now 2.5 MW turbines. UPC Wind stands to make 67% more money from each of the larger turbines. Is this increase being shared with leaseholders? Each leaseholder knows the deal they got, leaving the rest of us in the dark.

But what about the proposed public PILOT money?
- First, even though we have a preliminary "Host Agreement" in place, the PILOT agreement apparently remains unfinished, so we really don't have anything but words in the air.
- Has anyone in our current Town administration even thought about computing how much UPC Wind would pay if they were taxed straight out as an electric utility? How can we judge any proposed PILOT without knowing what to compare it with?
- The school tax problem: we've just gotten a report from UPC's project in Mars Hill, Maine, indicating that half of their PILOT money has been lost through reductions in school tax subsidy. Have we computed this loss locally?
- The City Council in Lackawanna (Buffalo) has just discovered that it can tax future “phases” of UPC Wind's "Steel Winds" turbine project at the full rate, and last week they unanimously passed a law that would authorize them to do so.

In two weeks Cohocton voters will have the opportunity to elect a team of leaders who haven't been dazzled by UPC Wind's sales pitch, a group of men and women who are prepared to ask UPC the tough questions and negotiate a deal that makes better sense for all of us. Browse our Updates, visit our main site, review the Reform Cohocton platform and slate of candidates, and come out on November 6 to vote for leaders that count.

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