Panepinto: "Our taxpayers cannot be left to shoulder such a debilitating financial burden."
New York State Sen. Marc Panepinto stood Monday with Tonawanda Town Supervisor Anthony Caruana and Town Board members as he unveiled legislation (S.6015A) to tackle the financial fallout created by the potential shuttering of the Huntley Station Power Plant. Following an initial announcement by NRG in August, the New York System Operator deemed the plant unnecessary on Oct. 30.
In the event of such closures, Senate bill S.6012 established a fund of up to $19 million to aid municipalities and school districts facing revenue loss following a closure of a fossil fuel electric generating facility in the community. Panepinto recently introduced legislation S.6015A to expand access to this fund, providing eligibility for financial relief to municipalities and school districts facing revenue loss in the community, as in the Town of Tonawanda.
Panepinto called on his colleagues in the Senate to prioritize the bill come the 2016 legislative session.
"Our taxpayers cannot be left to shoulder such a debilitating financial burden," Panepinto said. "With millions of dollars and jobs at stake, it is more crucial than ever that we provide an appropriate solution. I am calling on my fellow lawmakers to prioritize this sensible piece of legislation as we enter the 2016 legislative session to ensure quality of life for all."
Already faced with financial strain as a result of diminished PILOT payments over time, the Town of Tonawanda stands to lose close to $6 million annually, should the Huntley Power Station cease operations.
"We the taxing jurisdictions, the Town of Tonawanda, KenTon School District, Erie County, the ECIDA, thank you, Sen. Panepinto, for your efforts to clear up the 'vague' language in the Senate bill in just transition," Caruana said. "By clarifying the PILOT payments impact and eliminating restrictive language, it will provide us a better chance of receiving the funding to offset the losses expected to occur. Concerns including not only tax revenue for taxpayers and businesses, but also the loss of good paying jobs, the potential to weaken power distribution to our area in the event of massive power outages and the potential impact to our homeland and hometown security.
"Senator, we hope you will continue your efforts to ensure all these issues can be addressed to the best interest of all. Thank you for your efforts."