Changes to fund, payment schedule mean more assistance for Tonawanda in state budget
New York State Sen. Chris Jacobs and Assemblyman Robin Schimminger released the following joint statement from Albany, upon their successful efforts to secure more funding to offset local taxes lost due to the closure of the largest taxpayer in the Town of Tonawanda, the Huntley Power Plant:
"We are thrilled that the new state budget includes a dramatically improved mitigation fund that will significantly enhance our efforts to protect taxpayers in the Town of Tonawanda and Ken-Ton School District from the disastrous effects of the closure of the Huntley Power Station. We have improved upon past accomplishments and will continue to do all we can to meet the community's needs.
"Under the state's Electric Generation Facility Cessation Mitigation Fund, the current five-year mitigation program will be restructured and extended with a new, seven-year payment schedule. It calls for 80 percent reimbursement of lost tax revenues for the first year, then decreases 10 percent per year to a 20 percent reimbursement in year seven. Additionally, the fund will increase from $30 million to $45 million in the year 2020. These significant modifications will further help mitigate the loss of nearly $6 million annually in tax revenue to the Town of Tonawanda, the Ken-Ton School District and Erie County.
"The new program is projected to provide an approximate $5.4 million in additional relief over seven years. Broken down by entity, the school district would receive approximately $2.7 million more than under the current mitigation program, the town approximately $1.8 million more, and the county approximately $1 million in additional aid.
"These changes are being made in response to our ongoing conversations with local officials, and they will provide the dual benefits of ensuring more time and resources for the town and school district to stabilize their budgets, as well as giving all stakeholders much-needed additional time to evaluate and plan for the future of the site. We are working to create a brighter economic future for an area that has suffered a huge blow. This will help create that brighter future by stabilizing the community for a longer period of time as the local tax base is being revitalized."