Seneca Supervisors: Solar Energy Law killed, would have ‘stifled development’

‘Table it forever’!

That was the message from David Dresser, who addressed the Finance, Assessment & Insurance Committee at Tuesday’s regularly scheduled standing committee meetings for the month of January.

The resolution being considered by the committee would have forced a full-board vote on a local law aimed at exempting solar, wind and farm waste energy systems in Seneca County from tax exemptions provided for under section 487 of the Real Property Tax Law.

If the local law were adopted by Seneca County, Dresser said that the net cost of his solar system would have increased from $33,133 to $66,588, according to his assessor, who noted that the system would add value to his property.

“It would represent a 16.5 percent increase in my assessment and my taxes,” Dresser continued.

Dresser also noted the risk associated with passing a local law — like this one — and how it could set a ‘bad example’ for other taxing entities. “It would be setting a bad example for towns, school districts, and other counties,” he said.

“I will even go so far as to say that I think it would be socially irresponsible for the Board to pass [the local law] because it would be encouraging the continued use of fossil fuels, which climate scientists overwhelmingly say is contributing significantly to the warming of the earth, with all of its disastrous consequences.”

The committee — made up of Waterloo Town Supervisor Gary Westfall, Fayette Town Supervisor Cindy Garlick-Lorenzetti, Lodi Town Supervisor Lee Davidson, and Waterloo Supervisor Don Trout — would end up voting unanimously to kill the local law.

“You can table it, and it will be available to come back to the board — but if you vote against it — it dies right there for all intents and purposes,” Seneca County Board of Supervisors Attorney Frank Fisher explained.

Dresser also pointed out the variety of jobs that solar offers to bring to the area. “Solarizing will create jobs. It brings a range of low- and high-skill labor,” speaking to the potential economic impact of solar energy.

While the committee wondered if they could create a distinction between commercial and private within the law, Fisher explained that it would not be possible or legal. The measure was killed and will not be brought back to the board.

Romulus Town Supervisor David Kaiser, a member of the committee, was not present at Tuesday’s meeting.

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