Power is money, and the town wants more of it. Lots more.
Town Board members unanimously agreed Monday that they will continue to be the lone holdout of the seven-member Niagara Power Coalition, which has yet to agree on a proposed $1 billion settlement with the New York Power Authority.
The sticking point, according to board members, is the 25 megawatts of power that will be divided each year by coalition members over the course of the 50-year license agreement. Currently, the worth of a single megawatt is valued at $227,000.
Town Supervisor Fred Newlin said the board remains unanimously opposed to its receiving 3 to 3.5 megawatts while 9 megawatts go the Niagara County, 7 to the City of Niagara Falls and 3.594 to the Niagara Falls School District. Other coalition members -- Niagara-Wheatfield and Lewiston-Porter schools and the Town of Niagara -- will receive from about one-quarter to 1.5 megawatts. All of the other boards have accepted the offer.
"I strongly objected to distributing power based on the sole criteria of municipal usage," Newlin said. "We are determined to get cheaper power for our residents who have been enduring the burden of the Power Authority for so long. As the host community, we are just asking for our fair share."
He said that 90 percent of the Power Authority's 2,400 acres lies within the town and called the more than 1,000-acre reservoir like a hole in doughnut, around which all town services have to be routed.
"We've been good neighbors and we've inherited the burden," Newlin said. "We've lost prime real estate. We provide fire protection for this very hazardous site, and our Police Department responds to their calls."
The board was happy with other aspects, including cash payments over 50 years. Councilman D. James Langlois said, "Cash is nice, but low-cost power for citizens is our objective. Power will remain a valuable commodity, and we honestly believe we have a right to it."
The board plans to continue to negotiate and will hold a public hearing on the proposed settlement at 6 p.m. Nov. 22 in Town Hall.