Ken-Ton school district to receive $2.2 million after power plant closure

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TOWN OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) — New York state officials say Tonawanda taxpayers will see relief after the NGR Huntley Power plant closure that led to a loss in tax revenue.

Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda Union Free School District Superintendent Dawn Mirand says the plant’s closure led to a “loss of $3 million annually in school district revenue.”

“After years of devastating losses from the Gap Elimination Adjustment and other cuts to state education aid, the Huntley closure significantly challenged the Ken-Ton School District’s ability to provide students with the opportunities and programming they deserve,” Mirand said. “The assistance from the Electric Generation Facility Cessation Mitigation Program will help the district transition from when the Huntley Plant was our largest taxpayer. I am very grateful to all those who worked toward the creation of this fund, Empire State Development, and to Gov. Cuomo and the state Legislature for understanding the tremendous impact the closure of these plants have on the local community.”

The Electric Generation Facility Cessation Mitigation Program can provide grants to municipalities “that demonstrate qualifying reductions in the tax liability and/or payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT) owed by an electric generation facility subject to their taxing authority,” according to state officials.

Officials say the school district will receive more than $2.2 million in the first year of the program, pending the proof of significant tax loss and approval of the award by the Empire State Development Board of Directors.

“These communities were facing very difficult financial decisions as they examined how to absorb the loss of revenue from the closure of the Huntley and Dunkirk power plants,” Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said. “That’s why the state established the Electric Generation Facility Cessation Mitigation Fund – which is now supporting communities with funding to help reduce tax burdens in order to lessen the effect on local property taxes, small business and those on fixed incomes.”

The program was enacted as part of the 2016-2017 State Budget. Eligible government entities can receive program grants annually for up to five years.

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