I have never been more ashamed to be a Evans Town resident than I am today. Our Town Board is proposing to take away a Tax Exemption Town Residents have had since 1977 ! On tonight’s Town Meeting agenda is a resolution for our town to opt-out of the Real Property Exemption for Solar , Wind, and Farm Waste RPTL 487 In doing so the Assessor has to assess and the Town has to under State Law collect property taxes for many forms of Residential, Commercial, and Agricultural energy improvements as well as all forms of renewable energy. Such improvements include Residential , Agricultural, Commercial, PV Solar, Solar Thermal systems, Solar lighting, Solar Power vents, Energy Efficient replacement Windows & Doors, Energy efficient Greenhouses, Solar & Wind pond aerators and a host of other items outlined in the NYS Assessor Manual.
The position the Town Board is taking in opting out is not being supported by the Evans Climate Change Task Force or the Evans Environmental & Conservation Committee, we were not asked or informed of the Town Boards Action on this issue. Our Committee’s have been proud to say we are Climate Smart Community and we support and promote clean renewable energy and the thousands of jobs it creates. The Town Board I feel is also circumventing your right as taxpayers to have a public hearing before adopting this resolution thus burdening Town Residents with yet another tax.
Attached is a fact Sheet NYS put out to Help “Understanding the RPTL 487” as well as links to other resources regarding this Law. Hope you can attend tonight’s meeting At Evans Town Hall, 8787 Erie RD Angola 7pm and voice your objection to this resolution during “privilege of the floor”.
Respectfully William J Henry – Town of Evans Climate Smart Coordinator
Thank you so much it is frustrating, I fear everything we all have worked so hard for the last 20 years is about to change. The thousands of renewable energy jobs we have helped create here in Western New York are in jeopardy. As a former Erie County Legislator you know hard it has been to bring good paying jobs here such as the ones at Solar City, as well as all the Solar Installer jobs that are already here. How embarrassing is it to have a Community just a few miles south of this plant saying we are making Solar Energy unaffordable for the Homeowners, Farmers,and businesses by collecting property Taxes on these systems by opting out of the RPTL 487. The Town of Evans is in dire straights financially and is looking in any way it can to increase revenue. How ironic will it be to have Erie County lose all the solar jobs because of actions of a Town Erie County had to recently bailed out with loans. I fear there will be a domino effect with other towns and school districts. The sad part about it is the Town of Evans and other Communities have another option in which they can collect revenue in the form of a Pilot Agreement from the Large Solar farms, leaving the tax exemption in place for Homeowners, Farmers, and Businesses. This Pilot was done by the City of Lackawanna, Lackawanna School Board, and Erie County in which all Taxing Jurisdictions shared the revenues. The Evans Town Board is aware of this option and is choosing at this time not to exercise it.
In fairness to the Town Board I mistakenly informed you that there will not be a Public Hearing on this issue, This is not true there will be a Public Hearing on January 11, 2017 at 7:10PM at the Evans Town Hall, 8787 Erie Rd, Angola in which Taxpayers and concerned citizens & groups may speak out in regards to the removal of this Tax Exemption.I hope you can attend. There will be a petition circulating in our town for taxpayers to sign. “Stop The Sun Tax In Evans” and leave the Exemption for our town residents as it has been since 1977 and all of Erie County.I have attached a copy of this Petition to this E- Mail as well as the Fact sheet ” Understanding New York State’s Real Property Tax Law 487
I am respectfully asking the Erie County Legislature to weigh in on this issue because this Town’s Actions can adversely effect jobs in our County. I also ask Erie County Legislator Mills and Dixon to attend this Public Hearing and add their input on this issue for they are the Legislators that spearheaded the legislation in Erie County that helped create these jobs.
William J Henry -Town of Evans Climate Change Coordinator
How frustrating this must be for you – you have spent so much time and effort advocating for the use of renewable energy technologies that this must be a big disappointment to you. We have admired your leadership.
What are they thinking!!
Please let us know how we can help.