Albion school accepts PILOT agreement from Heritage Wind

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 December 2020 at 8:20 pm

District could receive up to $201,600 in first year, plus another $50K in one-time payment

BARRE – The Albion Board of Education agreed to a payment in lieu of taxes agreement with the developers of Heritage Wind, a deal that would bring up to $201,600 in the first year, plus 2 percent in annual increases.

Apex Clean Energy, the developers of the project, also offered a $50,000 one-time payment to be paid within 15 days of when construction of the project is done. The company is proposing to build 33 turbines with a 5.6 megawatt capacity of 184.8 megawatts total.

The company has offered $9,000 per megawatt annually to be shared among taxing entities in a PILOT or community host agreement.

Barre has opted out of a PILOT and instead is trying to negotiate a host community agreement. That way Barre will get a majority of the revenue from Apex. With a PILOT, the money tends to be divvied up based on the tax rates of the municipalities. With that approach, the school district would get the largest percentage with Barre getting less than the school and county.

With the PILOT agreement, Albion would receive $1,091.91 per megawatt annually or $201,600. One of the 33 turbines also is proposed to be in the Oakfield-Alabama school district, which would receive $34.09 per megawatt or $6,300 annually.

Orleans County would receive $1,125 per megawatt for $207,900 in the first year, with 2 percent annual increases to follow.

Heritage also agreed to $50,000 to the school district for a one-time “Heritage Wind Renewables Ecology, Clean Energy, and Sustainability Scholarship and Education Support Fund.” The money is to be spent at the discretion of the district. It could be used for scholarships, science fairs, student research projects, financial support for faculty in renewable energy field, a STEM lab or “however the district deems fit.” The $50,000 is to be paid within 15 days after completion of the project.

The Board of Education accepted the terms of the PILOT on Monday, with the understanding the BOE isn’t stating support or opposition for the project. That decision will be left to the town and the state, the BOE said.

“Approving these resolutions does not mean that the district is in favor or against the construction of the wind mills,” the BOE stated in its resolution. “The district has made it very clear that this is a decision to be made by the people in the Town of Barre and the State of New York. These are just procedural items necessary in order to be included in the distribution of funds if this project does move forward.”

The Albion school district had a tax levy of $8,449,094 for the 2020-21 school year. The $201,600 would represent 2.4 percent of the school taxes.

For the county, the tax levy in 2021 is $18,309,497. The $207,900 for the county represents 1.1 percent of the county taxes.

The revenue for Barre would make a much bigger difference in the town taxes. Barre’s 2021 budget calls for a tax levy of $1,108,566.

Apex has offered the local taxing jurisdictions $9,000 per megawatt annually. If the project is built as proposed at 184.8 megawatts that would be $1,663,200 in total annual revenue.

The PILOT includes first year payments of $207,900 for the county, $201,600 for the Albion school district and $6,300 for Oakfield-Alabama – $415,800 total. Subtracting that from $1,663,200 might leave $1,247,400 for Barre, which would more than wipe out the town taxes. (The terms for the Barre host community agreement haven’t been publicly disclosed.)

Heritage Wind officials will discuss the proposed project for Barre during a virtual public meeting from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday. Click here for more information.