Opinion: Host Community Agreement could impact PILOT money, says Parishville resident
Thursday, July 27, 2017 - 8:08 am

Letter to Editor:

To be honest, I never read Avangrid's full-page ad or the ads that they put together and pay for on behalf of North Country for a Brighter Future. Today I did and I must say, it was so full of misinformation, that I felt compelled to write this letter.

First of all, and most importantly, the only way taxes will be reduced in the Town of Hopkinton is if the Hopkinton Town Board does not accept money for a host community agreement. Residents of Hopkinton need to start looking into these false promises much more carefully.

When Avangrid speaks of a PILOT agreement in the amount of $750,000, we all know that this amount is to be divided (unequally) between Hopkinton, Parishville, the Parishville-Hopkinton School, and St. Lawrence County.

Now, here is the important fact your probably were not aware of: If Hopkinton negotiates a Host Community Agreement for any amount of money - say $300,000 for example - then that amount is deducted from the $750,000 pie, leaving $450,000 to be divided (unequally) between 4 entities.

This is why time after time, community after community, you hear residents complain that they allowed an industrial wind project to be built, thinking they were all going to receive tax relief, when in fact their tax bills went down by pennies or not at all.

Based on public comments made by one Hopkinton board member who has his eye on a new fire station, and understanding that PILOT money must be deducted from the total amount to be raised by taxes (thus eliminating any option to spend this "windfall" on "special pet projects"), his feelings are to negotiate for a much larger Host Community Agreement. Plain and simple, he is putting his wants above the health, safety, and well-being of his constituents.

PILOT money received by the school works exactly in the same manner. Many leaseholders regurgitate the promises of Avangrid so much, they actually believe them. PILOT money will not increase the quality of education for our children -- it is not extra money that the school receives.

Any PILOT money must be deducted from the full budget and the difference is the amount of money that will be raised through local taxation and state aid revenues.

If you do not believe me, then please, I urge you to go to http://www.nyssba.org/news/2014/09/18/on-board-online-september-22-2014/... and see for yourselves.

Lori Witherell

Parishville