Somerset, Yates are spending big money to fight turbines, despite project offering many benefits for community
I am writing to refute some statements by the Town of Somerset Supervisor Dan Engert in an interview recently. Dan said that the Town of Somerset is “fully supportive of spending whatever money is necessary to defend their interests and defend the health and property values” of our Town. He said that 70 percent of the town’s residents are opposed to windmills and that over 60 turbines will be erected.
Our town is not fully supportive of opposing windmills. And there will not be 60 turbines. In truth, no more than 50 is the number planned at this time. In truth, there are over 100 contracts signed so there are over 100 signers plus their families who support this project in the total project area of Somerset and Yates.
Over 10,000 acres are signed up with more being signed periodically each month. In truth, we still don’t know what 44 percent of the people who received the survey from a couple years ago think about the project (they never returned it) so it’s impossible that 70 percent of our residents oppose it.
I am concerned about the reporting of inaccurate and incomplete information concerning this project. One thing that is truth, is the amount of our tax dollars being spent to oppose the only major development to come to our town in years. Now our county is spending more of our dollars to prevent it. Somerset alone has spent $260,000 since 2015. Another $250,000 from the Town of Somerset and Yates, plus another $15,000 from Niagara County, is planned for the upcoming year alone!
This is not insignificant and this information should be known by every family in our towns. All to prevent economic development in our town and work opportunities for local businesses, that would equal several million dollars over the next many years.
What’s the plan here when the coal plant completely disappears from the revenue stream? What’s the plan when people begin to leave our town because our taxes continue to increase and the benefit of living here away from jobs and stores, continues to disappear? What’s the plan for a school whose enrollment is declining rapidly and multiple classrooms are empty? What’s the plan for empty storefronts?
The only positive I see in our town, other than the prospect for wind turbines and all they can bring to a community, is that multiple houses have gone up for sale recently and have sold very quickly, leaving me to believe that people are not being scared away, as some would have you believe, because of the probability of wind turbines in the Town.
Please ask questions and research. There is a new project manager in town. Talk with him. Attend meetings. Somerset needs an infusion of positive energy and development. This is our opportunity.
Susan P. Atwater
Town of Somerset