Cohocton Wind Watch: Wayland-Cohocton School District January 28, 2008 Letter by James Hall
Cohocton Wind Watch is a community citizen organization dedicated to preserve the public safety, property values, economic viability, environmental integrity and quality of life in Cohocton, NY and in surrounding townships. Neighbors committed to public service in order to achieve a reasonable vision for a Finger Lakes region worthy of future generations.


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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Wayland-Cohocton School District January 28, 2008 Letter by James Hall

January 28, 2008

Wayland-Cohocton Central School Board
2350 Rte 63 N
Wayland, NY 14572

RE: UPC SCIDA PILOT approval not required for Wayland-Cohocton School District

Dear School Board members:

Submitted this date to the Wayland-Cohocton School Board the following documents:

1) Press Release January 10, 2008 from attorney David Miller
2) List of SCIDA Board members and their home addresses
3) SCIDA January 23, 2008 letter from CWW/James Hall
4) SCIDA January 22, 2008 letter from CWW/James Hall
5) Assemblyman Sam Hoyt January 21, 2008 letter from CWW/James Hall
6) SCIDA January 18, 2008 letter from CWW/James Hall
7) SCIDA January 18, 2008 letter from Judith Hall
8) SCIDA December 20, 2007 letter from CWW/James Hall
9) SCIDA December 18, 2007 letter from CWW/James Hall
10) Naples School Board December 12, 2007 letter from CWW/James Hall
11) Wayland-Cohocton Superintendent October 12, 2007 letter from CWW/Hall
12) SCIDA September 27, 2007 letter from CWW/James Hall
13) SCIDA November 14, 2006 letter from CWW/Steve Trude
14) Copy of a Naples/Bristol residents hoping the PILOT won’t fly
15) Copy of Naples Record ad – Naples Residents Voice Your Opposition

This background information may assist in your deliberation process on a UPC Cohocton PILOT. Note that NYSRL Section 487 was cited in the October 12, 2007 letter to Mr. Wetherbee. The following quote is from this section of NYS law: “School districts opting out of the exemption provided by Real Property Tax Law Section 487, common called the Solar, Wind, or Farm Waste Energy exemption, remain "opted-out" until such time as they rescind the resolution that caused them to opt out of the exemption.”

http://www.steubencony.org/archlegminutes.html
Mr. Sherron, executive director of SCIDA, insistence that independent taxing jurisdictions MUST accept a PILOT is based upon the following: “No Exemption under Real Property Tax Law 487 be Applicable within our jurisdiction with respect to Solar and Wind Energy Systems or Farm Waste Energy System”. (page 9 of 2006 of the Steuben County legislature minutes) This legislature passed A LOCAL LAW providing that no exemption under Real Property Tax Law §487 be applicable within our jurisdiction with respect to any solar or wind energy system or farm waste energy system. (page 18 and 19) Note that Town attorney for both Wayland and Cohocton and legislative representative from our district, attorney Pat McAllister abstained, when this local law was approved.

If the Steuben County legislature passed a law to opt out of automatic exemption of 487, why is Mr. Sherron going around to School Districts representing that they have no option but to accept the PILOT?

I trust that in basic civic class in Steuben County, that it is still taught that New York State law supersedes county and town local laws. SCIDA doesn’t pass laws. How can SCIDA represent that legislation passed by the Steuben County legislature requires that independent taxing jurisdictions like the Wayland-Cohocton School District cannot opt out of an IDA PILOT?

Also note that the New York State legislature, as of this date, has not renewed the authority of the IDA’s. As of January 31, 2008 the IDA’s could very well be operating without a state mandate of their very existence.

SCIDA in particular has a dismal history of questionable conduct. The March 28, 2007 audit of SCIDA by the Office of the State Comptroller is evidence that this unelected and virtually unaccountable board has run afoul of professional state standards of operation. Mr. Sherron’s disingenuous response that the same audit report was sent to all the IDA’s conflicts to the details within the audit specific to SCIDA.

The Wayland-Cohocton School District should confer with the attorneys of the Naples School District at Harter Secrest & Emery (585) 232-6500. Ronald Mendrick (585) 231-1299 is the regular counsel and Edward Premo (585) 231-1192 represented the district at the January 18, 2008 SCIDA Public Hearing on the UPC Cohocton PILOT. Their review of the illegality of the SCIDA position may well assist the interests of the Wayland-Cohocton School Board and every taxpayer in the district.

http://www.orps.state.ny.us/
Cohocton Wind Watch offers the research skills and extensive database records that document the long trail of SCIDA abuses, for any future legal action the School District may take against SCIDA. You board has a responsibility to tax the UPC development, if it is built and commissioned, at full industrial utility commercial tax rates. New York State Office of Real Property Services NYSORPS must compute and publish a formula that local tax assessors will use to add the assets of this project to the tax rolls.

When Chris Swartly states that the $4,400,000 per year, that UPC was willing to pay in their PILOT application was an amount based upon an Empire Zone status which never existed, he avoids the essential issue. New York State taxpayers have no obligation to further subsidize commercial wind enterprises. UPC should be held to the original $4,400,000 they agreed to in writing.

CWW hopes to work with the Wayland-Cohocton School District to achieve a fair and equitable tax revenue from any industrial development project that is built in our district.

Cordially,


James Hall for CWW

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