SCRIBA – The 2019 budget for the town of Scriba was adopted by the Town Board on October 25, resulting in a 42% tax decrease from one year ago.
The $3.6 million town budget results in a town-wide tax of $1.28 per thousand compared to $2.21 per thousand in 2018.
The reduction in town taxes was driven by continued uncertainty regarding the taxes to be received by Exelon, the owner of the James A. FitzPatrick nuclear power plant, as well as an overriding need to provide residents with some real property tax relief.
“With uncertainty comes fiscal responsibility,” said Town Supervisor Rob Ramsey. “We continue to negotiate with Exelon on the appropriate amount of taxes they should be paying for FitzPatrick. Those negotiations, as well as a lawsuit filed by Exelon, will likely continue into 2019, and therefore I applaud the town board for taking a very cautious approach to this year’s budget as we look out for the interests of our 6,800 residents.,
Exelon has filed a challenge to its real property tax assessment for the 838-MW nuclear facility, which the town assessed at $550 million.
Exelon claims the plant is worth $50 million, despite paying $110 million in 2016 for FitzPatrick in a distressed sale by Entergy, who previously announced in 2015 it was closing the plant.
Exelon has reportedly invested more than $300 million into the facility since taking ownership.
The company issued the following statement in regard to the matter:
Exelon Generation is a good corporate citizen and we recognize the importance of the FItzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant to the local community in Scriba, NY. We are committed to paying our fair share of property taxes as a result of the continuing operation of the plant. We are grateful for the support of the community and look forward to working with the local taxing bodies to negotiate a mutually agreeable tax agreement that takes into account the perspective of all stakeholders.
No salary increases for town employees, other than those contractually obligated to provide, and a reduction in spending contributed to the tax decrease.
However, the town board committed to maintaining services for senior citizens, as well as the current road maintenance program for the nearly 48 miles of town roads.
“I thank the department heads for their cooperation and understanding as we navigate through these uncertain times,” Ramsey said.
Town residents will receive their tax bills in January, in combination with the county taxes, which will be set later year.