JAMESTOWN – The Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency has given its approval to a series tax breaks to a large wind farm project in the eastern and central portions of the county.
On Tuesday morning the IDA board unanimously approved a property tax abatement for Cassadaga Wind LLC project, set to be located in the towns of Arkwright, Cherry, Creek, Stockton, and Charlotte. Once built, the wind farm will include as many as 58 wind turbines, with a maximum height of 500 feet and which would have a maximum generating capacity of 126 megawatts (MW).
Under terms of the PILOT plan, Cassadaga Wind LLC would not have to pay any property taxes, but would make an annual payment of $4,000 for each megawatt produced, on average, over the course of any tax year. If full capacity was achieved, the first year PILOT payment would be $504,000 and would be split up between the affected taxing jurisdictions. An annual escalator was also included.
Because the tax exemption would involve a deviation from policy, a deviation hearing on the matter also took place prior to the vote with representatives from each affected taxing jurisdiction allowed to address the board. The only officials present were from the Cassadaga School District and no one spoke against the PILOT plan.
With the abatement in place and with the state Siting Board giving the green light for the wind farm earlier this month, the project can now move forward.
Developers say the project would have a major positive economic impact on the host communities, including creating nearly 75 to 100 construction jobs. Once operations, another 7 to 10 jobs would be in place.
The majority of the wind farm will be located on private land and about 50 private property owners would also receive a payment from the company, with projections of those annual payments totaling $1,000,000.