Last week the Marlboro Town Board approved a resolution that new homes, buildings and properties that will be used for human occupancy, employment or recreation and are within the water district must hook up to the town’s system if they are within 100 feet of the equipment.
Supervisor Al Lanzetta said this resolution makes sense.
“It’s kind of a no-brainer; I don’t see why anybody wouldn’t want to do it because you don’t have to dig or maintain a well,” he said. “We just want to make sure that people realize they should do it; that’s according to our code.”
Lanzetta said the cost will be borne by applicants who will tie into the water system. He said the fee is fairly reasonable, “way less than a $6,000 or $7,000 well and you’re getting the best water in the world.”
The Town Board set a public hearing on this proposed law for Monday, February 24, 2020 at the Town Hall, 21 Milton Tnpk, Milton.
The board also approved a second resolution to repeal a section of the town’s Solar Law that “affected the opt-out from the real property tax exemption provisions found within Sec. 487(2) of the Real Property Tax Law for solar farms, wind energy facilities, farm waste energy systems, micro-hydroelectric energy systems, fuel cell electric generating systems, micro-combined heat and power generating equipment systems and electric energy storage systems.”
Lanzetta said this law brings the town back to where they were and allows the town to approve PILOT [Payment In Lieu Of Taxes] programs, mostly aimed at large facilities.
Town Code enforcement Officer Tom Corcoran explained that if the town were to give exemptions just to residential homes it would be considered spot zoning. He said a request for a PILOT can still be granted or declined.
“The PILOT gives the town a specific income for 15 years but the lack of having that number there means that the assessor has to assess that solar farm every year. What I have come to understand is that somewhere in the middle of a PILOT program, between 7 to 8 years, there is always a fight between assessors, the municipalities and the solar companies about what the value is worth. If you start with $3 million when it was built and by the 7th year the assessor says it’s worth $2.2 million and the solar farm comes back and says it’s only worth $1.1 million, you end up in a legal battle. What I have heard is that solar farms win almost all the time because they have the data behind them that says they decrease in value not only because of the depreciation of the units but because the technology gets better and the systems that are out there are worth so much less and depreciate so much faster and you’re fighting a lawsuit that is a losing battle. A PILOT program in the beginning is more apt to give you that money over the long term.”
Councilman Alan Koenig said he is surprised there is not a depreciation schedule on these facilities similar to vehicles. Councilman Scott Corcoran said although a PILOT program gives the town a little less upfront, “I think if you average it out through the whole thing, it probably comes out to about the same without having to go through a legal fight in the middle years.”
Lanzetta said a review of this issue was sparked when Cypress Creek applied for a 3 mega-watt facility off of Milton Turnpike. The developer reminded him that it is illegal to grant exemptions to residents and not to a company.
“This led to the present resolution that the town will opt back into Sec 487 of Real Property Law where PILOT agreements can be considered and granted by the town,” he said.
Solar company Nexamp has already gone through the process before the Planning Board for a 2 megawatt project and Cypress Creek is the newest proposed solar farm that has just started a dialogue with the town.
A Public Hearing on this proposed law to opt back in, is also scheduled for the February 24th meeting at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.