Ulster County Industrial Development Agency officials expect developers of the proposed power transmission line to increase pressure for tax breaks
KINGSTON, NY – The Ulster County Industrial Development Agency expects developers of the planned 1,250 megawatt Hudson Champlain Power Express electric transmission line across the Hudson River to lobby for tax relief in a near future.
Questions about the status of a request for $64.83 million in tax relief were raised Wednesday, January 19 during a meeting of the agency’s board of directors via videoconference.
“The cases in other jurisdictions are moving very quickly with a lot of pressure, so I expect them to come back to us in a month or two,” said agency attorney Joseph Scott. “It’s… a matter of focus, given how many projects they have.”
Under the proposal requested in October for a 30-year payment in lieu of taxes agreement, Champlain Hudson Power Express would see $93.76 million in taxes reduced to $28.93 million for the 18.5-mile stretch. of waterway running along the shores of Ulster county.
The request for agreement was presented during a meeting by videoconference on Wednesday. Agency officials declined to hold a public hearing, saying they were skeptical of the significant local benefits of the $2.2 billion project.
The project includes 339 miles of transmission line. Company spokesman Todd Singer said similar tax breaks were being sought from industrial development agencies in 13 of the 15 counties included in the route.
In October, the Greene County Industrial Development Agency approved a deal that will give the project $25.19 million in tax relief and require developers to pay $41.05 million in hospitality benefits to 10 communities . Under the agreement, the project will see its property taxes reduced by $100.6 million to $91.85 million, with $14.21 million in sales taxes waived. In addition, the project would be exempt from mortgage tax of $2.22 million.
In a document outlining the agreement, Greene County officials wrote that there are still final guidelines and restrictions to be established for the use of the community benefits fund.
“The fund is not intended to be used to further reduce the tax levy and is intended to provide communities with a source of revenue to undertake capital projects and other community improvements that will benefit the community as a whole without adding additional burden on the tax levy,” they wrote.
Ulster County Industrial Development Agency chief executive Rose Woodworth said the same level of information had not been provided to county officials.
“I feel like they’re trying to pile on what they get approved in order to have more clout behind them,” Woodworth said.
A representative for Hudson Champlain Power Express said Friday, January 21 that the developers were asked when they would provide the information to Ulster County officials.
Ulster County and Dutchess County officials have raised concerns about the effect on recreation and services under a project that would have cables placed in 2ft wide trenches that would have up to ‘4 feet deep. Water supply systems, including at Rhinebeck and Esopus, where the use of ‘jet plowing’ to create the trenches is expected to create plumes of sediment that could enter the inlet valves, were among the concerns .