05.10.11

SCHUMER: WYOMING COUNTY RESIDENTS BEING SHORTCHANGED ON TAX REVENUE FROM WIND FARM URGES PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISION TO TRANSFER OWNERSHIP OF FACILITY TO NYSEG, INCREASING TAX REVENUE FOR RESIDENTS

NYS Public Service Commission Must Finalize Transfer of Electrical Transmission Facility to Private Ownership; Transfer Would Provide Return on Investment for Local Community in Property TaxesTransfer of $5 Million Electrical Facility Already Approved by Federal Energy Regulatory CommissionSchumer: Bureaucratic Roadblocks at PSC Must Be Resolved, Wyoming County Residents Deserve to Reap Benefits of Investment in Clean Energy

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer urged the NYS Public Service Commission (PSC) to approve the ownership transfer of a $5 million electrical transmission facility in Orangeville, from the Wyoming County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) to the New York State Electric & Gas Corporation (NYSEG). In his letter, Schumer notes that the Joint Petition for the transfer of this property was filed on April 8, 2010, and asks that this longoverdue transfer be resolved by PSC's upcoming meeting on May 19, 2011. Schumer states that this $5 million facility should be added to the local tax base immediately, so that Orangeville and Wyoming County residents can begin receiving the increased tax revenues for their community's investments that they deserve.

"Each day that passes without Wyoming County residents benefitting from this long overdue property tax revenue is completely unacceptable," said Schumer. "I urge the NYS Public Service Commission to break through any bureaucratic roadblocks that stand in the way of completing this yearold ownership transfer, so that Wyoming County taxpayers can experience muchdeserved increases in tax revenue, and benefit from their clean energy investments." 

In 2008, this transmission facility in Orangeville was constructed, and has been initially owned by the Wyoming County Industrial Development Agency as part of a larger publicprivate project that created a multimillion dollar 126 megawatt wind farm in Wyoming County.  A requirement of this project included the transfer of this transmission facility to private ownership in order to provide a return on investment to the local community in the form of property taxes. Schumer states that the Joint Petition for the transfer of this property was filed on April 8, 2010, and it is critical for this exchange to occur swiftly, so that local communities can directly benefit from cleanenergy investments in their communities and residents can avoid shouldering an excessive property tax burden.

In 2010, the NYSEG began the process to transfer ownership, in conjunction with Wyoming County IDA and Noble Power. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the transfer, and it is currently bottled up at the NYS Public Service Commission due to a variety of bureaucratic roadblocks. Schumer urges the PSC to resolve these issues swiftly and make the longoverdue transfer a reality, especially considering that it has already been approved by the FERC. The Public Service Commission can accomplish this by either approving the ownership transfer outright, or simply by determining that it does not have concurrent jurisdiction with FERC over the matter.

Schumer argues that the transfer of this transmission facility must take place as soon as possible, as it will add to the local tax base and begin allowing increased tax revenues for residents. Each day that passes, the local community is losing out on important property tax revenue, which is especially meaningful in smaller towns like Orangeville. 

A copy of Senator Schumer's letter to Jaclyn Brilling, Secretary of the NYSP Service Commission, appears below:

Ms. Jaclyn A Brilling

Secretary to the Commission

New York State Public Service Commission

New York State Department of Public Service

3 Empire State Plaza

Albany, New York 122231350

RE: Case 10M0158

Dear Ms. Brilling,

I write in support of the Wyoming County, New York Industrial Development Agency (IDA) and local property tax payers in Wyoming County and the Town of Orangeville to request the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) expeditiously act on the Joint Petition filed on April 8, 2010 with the PSC to transfer ownership of an Electrical Transmission facility to New York State Electric & Gas Corporation (NYSEG). 

Transfer of this facility's ownership to NYSEG will ensure that this facility, assessed at over $5 million, will be added to the local property tax rolls.  This matter has already been pending for over a year and with every day that goes by Wyoming County and the Town of Orangeville are losing important property tax revenue leaving current tax payers to make up the difference. 

Indeed, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has already exercised its authority and has approved the transfer of the facilities to NYSEG.  However, the PSC has not yet acted.   Whether the PSC simply approves the ownership transfer outright or rather affirms it does not have concurrent jurisdiction with FERC over the transfer, I ask that the PSC act during its upcoming May 19th meeting to complete the transfer. 

This transmission facility is currently owned by the County's IDA as part of a larger public/private project that created a multimillion dollar 126 megawatt wind farm in Wyoming County.  However, a requirement of this project included the eventual transfer of this transmission facility to private ownership in order to provide a return on investment to the local community in the form of property taxes.  This transfer is part my efforts to ensure that local communities directly benefit from cleanenergy investments in their communities and to help local residents avoid shouldering an excessive property tax burden. 

I sincerely appreciate your consideration of my concerns and urge you to address this matter during your upcoming May 19th 2011 meeting. 

Sincerely,

Charles E. Schumer

United States Senator 



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