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Solar

Sunflower stalks and solar panels share space on a property along Route 149 in Queensbury. The Kingsbury Town Board passed two local laws about solar facilities in October in the hopes of bringing more solar power to the town. 

The Kingsbury Town Board passed two local laws in October, one allowing for payment in lieu of taxes agreements for solar facilities and one requiring decommissioning plans for those facilities.

Councilman Dan Washburn said the town encourages the development of solar projects, according to meeting minutes, and there’s been interest from various developers to put up panels in the community.

The payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT, is intended to promote the installation of solar equipment by reducing the cost for developers and energy consumers and providing a revenue stream to the community, the local law resolution states. PILOT agreements are not for residential solar systems or systems that do not seek or qualify for an exemption from real property taxes.

PILOT agreements will last 15 years. In most cases, the annual payment will increase each year.

Councilman William Haessly said the agreements allow companies to know what their tax payments will be over the next 15 years, “so they can plan their investing in the community. In 15 years the facility will be fully assessed at the market rate and go on the tax roll at their assessed value,” he added, according to meeting minutes.

The second local law requires developers to submit a decommissioning plan, a new condition added to an issuance permit. The plan must include an expected timeline, remediation to soil and vegetation and projected cost of removal.

The company must also have the removal funds available either in escrowed funds, bonds or otherwise “to ensure that the Town has sufficient funds available to remove the installations ... in the event the applicant fails to comply with its decommissioning obligations,” the local law states.

Both passed unanimously, but Supervisor Dana Hogan was absent.

Grasslands funds

The Fort Edward Town Board accepted a $1,000 donation from a nonprofit birding organization Tuesday night, helping with lost property tax revenue.

The Friends of the Important Birding Area at the Washington County Grasslands donated the funds after the town lost about 180 acres of land from its tax rolls. The acreage included important grassland bird habitat and was owned by Merrilyn Pulver.

Pulver property

Merrilyn Pulver walks on her 180-acre property in 2016 in Fort Edward. The state Department of Environmental Conservation announced July 30 that it purchased the property for $326,000 to be added to the Washington County Grasslands Wildlife Management Area.

In July, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill requiring the state to pay property taxes on state-owned land in Fort Edward as well as in Argyle and Kingsbury. The law goes into affect in January.

The Friends of the IBA recognized that the town would lose some tax revenue before the law goes into affect, and thus raised the $1,000 for the town.

The Town Board accepted the donation unanimously with no further comment.

Culvert delayed

The Hogtown Road culvert replacement that has been in the works since January 2017 will likely not happen until next summer or fall in Fort Ann.

The state Department of Transportation approved funds to replace the culvert through Bridge New York last year, and in September the town awarded a bid to Ellsworth and Son Excavation for $299,453. The bid still had to be approved by the DOT.

Supervisor Richard Moore said Tuesday night that DOT had not awarded the contract to the Lake George company, but was working with them to update the bid. Moore said once the bid is awarded, work wouldn’t start until May 1, but that would likely be delayed further as Mount Hope Brook’s water levels would be too high.

Moore said the culvert would probably be replaced by fall next year.

Hadlock meeting

Moore said Hadlock Pond’s weed harvester, which removes aquatic invasive plants but broke down earlier this year, could get fixed soon. The Town Board is hoping to get another season or two out of the equipment.

Meanwhile, the town is looking into adding suction weed harvesting to the pond’s maintenance. The process is the same as what the Lake George Park Commission has funded on Lake George. Divers pull up the the invasive aquatic vegetation and put it into an underwater vacuum that spits out onto the boat.

Hadlock Pond harvester

Milfoil harvesting is performed on Hadlock Pond in Fort Ann in 2015. 

Moore said the town issued requests for proposals and got one back, but the board is reviewing how it wants to proceed.

The future of the park manager position is still up in the air and will be discussed 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 27, at the Town Hall.

“One thing we want to make certain is we continue the maintenance of the lake, the quality maintenance of the lake,” Moore said. “The lake is in great shape, and we want to keep it that way.”

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Reporter Gwendolyn Craig can be reached at (518) 742-3238 or gcraig@poststar.com. Follow her on Twitter @gwendolynnn1.

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