MIRANT DEBT RELIEF PROPOSED

Tom Basile

In New York, you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows, despite Governor Cuomo’s attempt to blame the state’s fleeing population on the weather.

Many municipalities across the state have been impacted by the closures of power plants, but perhaps the one that stings the most is the smack-down the North Rockland School District and the Towns of Stony Point and Haverstraw got socked with when the Lovett Power Plant was shuttered and subsequently torn down in 2006.

NRSD has been paying $12 million a year since the Lovett coal-fired plant was closed by Mirant Corp. In addition to the burden on the school district, the closure left the Town of Haverstraw and Stony Point with a yearly tax certiorari judgement.

Tom Basile, running for the seat being vacated by NYS Senator William Larkin, (R/C/I-Cornwall-Hudson) met at the Bowline Plant in West Haverstraw on October 10 with Town of Haverstraw Supervisor Howard Phillips, Town of Stony Point Supervisor Jim Monaghan, Superintendent of Schools Ileana Eckert, along with the President and Vice President of NRSD Board of Education, to discuss a plan to provide aid to the school district and municipalities.

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan sent representatives to that meeting. Subsequently, Flanagan publicly endorsed Basile’s plan to create a $200 million state fund to help struggling school districts impacted by power plant closures, calling on the governor and the Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie to support the creation of this new fund to solve what has become a statewide problem. “Something needs to be done to alleviate the crushing burden of taxes on homeowners and businesses,” said Basile. “School aid will go to schools and this proposed fund will be not detract from funding that should be going to education.”

“We’ve had enough politicizing and photo ops,” said Basile. “We need real solutions to this problem, not just here on the west side of the Hudson, but in the case of Indian Point and other plants about to be shut down. We need the governor and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie need to come to the table with Senate Majority Leader Flanagan help modernize our power infrastructure without passing the tax burden on to school districts and homeowners.”

In the case of the Danskammer Plant in the Town of Newburgh, the state intervened for the Marlboro School District and relieved the financial impact the on its property tax. “We need similar relief for the North Rockland School District and the towns of Stony Point and Haverstraw.”

Tax relief has been bandied about on both sides of the aisle, but Basile feels the relief plan will provide the real relief North Rockland and its municipalities need. “We’re going to need the same help for those impacted by the impending closing of Indian Point…but in fact, this is not just a local problem. There are plants across the state being closed, and the crushing tax burden is a direct cause of New York’s population leaving for more affordable pastures.”