County seeks PILOT for new solar projects

County seeks PILOT for new solar projects

By Dan King

The Washington County Board of Supervisors wants Borrego Solar to pay some money for its solar project on Buckley Road in Whitehall.
Supervisors held a special meeting Monday for the sole purpose of voting on a resolution that requires Borrego to enter into a Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) on the project located on Buckley Road in Whitehall. The recommendation for doing so came from the county’s finance committee.
“I think they’re going to do it for the project on county Route 12 near the Methodist Church too,” said Whitehall Supervisor George Armstrong. “Ones that haven’t been built yet and any future ones will require a PILOT.”
All 12 supervisors who attended the meeting voted in favor of requiring the PILOT. Absent from the meeting were Armstrong, Hebron Supervisor Brian Campbell, Salem Supervisor Seth Pitts, White Creek Supervisor Bob Shay and Cambridge Supervisor Cassie Fedler.
While PILOTs will be required for the county Route 12 project and the Buckley Road project, a PILOT will not be required for the project on county Route 21.
“The Millett project was approved a long time ago, so no PILOT will be required on that one,” Armstrong said.
According to the New York State Real Property Tax Law, the county must notify an owner or developer of intentions to require a PILOT within 60 days of receiving the written notification that the developer plans to construct a solar array. That’s why Armstrong said the solar farm on county Route 21 will not be required to pay a PILOT.
Currently, solar projects are exempt from taxation from Washington County, the town of Whitehall and Whitehall School District. The county and town will both require PILOTs on any future solar projects, while still granting the tax exemption. The school district has not made a policy requiring PILOTs.

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