Mar. 23—Otsego County Board of Representatives Chairman David Bliss on Thursday released the text of a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul, objecting to the governor's proposal to change the the rules for assessing and taxing large-scale solar and wind projects.
The board, at its March meeting, passed a resolution opposing Part N of the Article VII Executive Revenue Bill as it relates to the appraisal of such projects.
Bliss's letter notes the Department of Taxation and Finance developed an assessment model for wind and solar energy producing properties pursuant to Real Property Tax Law section 575-b in 2021, but also notes it is held up by litigation. "Our view is that the assessment model developed and published by DTF is not in compliance with the State Administrative Procedures Act (SAPA)," the letter said.
The letter said Part N "would also have an adverse impact on upstate rural areas where farmlands are being used for solar and wind electric generating facilities.
"Wind and solar developers already receive significant support from NYSERDA contracts and other state and federal incentives funded by ratepayers and taxpayers. The proposed model ignores the SAPA safeguards and deprives local governments and residents of adequate compensation for lands used. This negative financial impact will deprive communities of essential funding and would significantly diminish property values."
The letter criticizes the assessment model, saying it "degrades a critical tool of local governments struggling to provide services for rural upstate residents." It says the state's "aggressive and urgent push toward renewable energy sources means more and more productive land will leave agricultural and commercial use, further undermining local and regional economies and the sales taxes that fund local government services."
The letter notes the state recently invested $4.5 million in Cooperstown in one of the first New York Forward awards. "While we are confident that tourists from all over the world will come to see the Baseball Hall of Fame, Glimmerglass Opera Festival, and Otsego Lake, we are much less confident they will come to see acres of solar panels or wind turbines," Bliss said in the letter.
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