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Meeting Set On Tentative Tax Agreement

OSWEGO, NY – A tentative tax agreement is reportedly in place between local school – government officials and the Nine Mile Point I nuclear facility.

It nearly triples the amount paid by the facility. Details made public  Tuesday afternoon by Oswego County and the town of Scriba show that the nuclear plant will pay $11 million in taxes this year, up from $4 million.

The agreement is for one year only.

The Scriba Town Board has scheduled a special meeting for 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Municipal Building to discuss the matter.  The details of the agreement were discussed Monday night at a special meeting in Scriba among the town, county, and Oswego City School District.

“This tentative agreement allows the parties to move forward productively with discussions during the coming year, while at the same time providing the tax jurisdictions with additional revenues to assist them in providing essential services to the public,” said Sam Belcher, a vice president at Nine Mile I, in a news release announcing the deal.

In 2001, the county enacted a local law granted nuclear power electric generating facilities in Oswego County exemptions from taxation, special ad valorem levies and special assignments until 2016.

Earlier this spring, the legislature terminated that law.

The amendment passed by the legislators changes the local law’s exemptions so that they expire with the current tax agreement, rather than 2016, explained Legislator Jack Proud.

“This changes that window from 2016 to 2010. It preserves (the taxing jurisdictions’) option of placing the facilities back on the tax rolls if we so deem it necessary, if a new fair tax agreement can’t be reached.”

Negotiations were being held to see whether the power plants would receive a new PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) agreement or be returned to the county tax rolls.

Wednesday’s meeting should be rather quick, according to Kevin C. Caraccioli, the town’s attorney.

The purpose of the meeting is to establish a date for a public hearing, likely May 19, he said.

“Any tax agreement is subject to a public hearing. And we have to give enough notice prior to the hearing,” he explained.

Then, the three boards (Scriba, county and Oswego City School District) will each vote on the proposal.

The final agreement must be in place before July; that is when the final assessment rolls are announced.

“This is a one-year deal, with Unit I, that allows for continued negotiations,” Caraccioli, said. “We are looking for a more long-term, comprehensive agreement. This deal would nearly triple Unit I’s payments from a base of about $4 million to about $11 million.”

The PILOT for Unit I expires this year; Unit II expires in 2011.

There is some interest in exploring the possibility of negotiating a comprehensive agreement that includes both units.  Discussions continue with the owners of the FitzPatrick nuclear plant, Entergy, but no deal has been reached.

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