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LETTERS

NCIDA action on AES is deeply troubling

My exposure over the past several weeks to the detailed workings of the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency was deeply troubling as related to the payment in lieu of taxes recently approved for the existing AES Somerset facility.

The necessity for a PILOT for the current AES facility is a deep mystery. Why does AES, a highly profitable multibillion-dollar multinational corporation, deserve a tax break from Niagara County?

The NCIDA was taken in by Kevin Pierce and AES propaganda and coercion, submitted to special interest pressure, ignored their own procedures, operated in less than an open manner and disregarded the will of the people. This sequence of events does not pass the smell test.

Is it the role of the NCIDA to promote corporate welfare on the backs of Niagara County taxpayers and insult, divide and impugn a community in the process?

With respect to the proposed new cleaner coal facility, the AES Somerset site is the best coal fired site in the state. This was determined in the late 1970s and subsequently NYSEG built the current facility there. With the infrastructure now in place, it is now even a better location.

Promotion and selling of a new facility is the answer, not tax breaks on the existing facility. The fact that the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise and the Buffalo Partnership have given a belated and tepid endorsement of the Somerset site for a cleaner coal facility does not speak well for the efforts of Mr. Maziarz and the NCIDA in selling the AES Somerset location to state officials. Perhaps too much time and effort was spent reacting to the coercion of AES as they threatened not to bid on a cleaner coal plant in Somerset unless they achieved a huge tax break on the existing facility. A regional approach may have benefited all of us in the area more thoroughly.

The Niagara County Industrial Development Agency has given Kevin Pierce and AES the granddaddy of all Christmas presents -- $40 million-plus in tax forgiveness over the next 12 years. Can the Niagara County taxpayers afford this gift?

NO!

Contact your county legislators and insist that they rescind the actions of the NCIDA and replace its membership with persons who will act in the best interests of all county taxpayers.

James Hoffmann

Barker

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Deveaux area residents angry over Tecmotiv

Many of us in the Deveaux area of Niagara Falls consider it a travesty that our local Planning Board decided to approve Tecmotiv's plan to increase its operation.

The Niagara County IDA also approved earlier this month a tax break request from the manufacturer's landlord, Armond Cerrone, for 15 years that would allow for a 10,000-square-foot expansion.

That approval will add a measly 15 employees over the next three years. Tecmotiv currently only employs 29 people.

Many of us in the Deveaux area are being assaulted by extremely loud noise pollution created by Tecmotiv as it repairs and tests diesel engines at all hours of the day, sometimes as early as 6 a.m. and as late as 8 p.m., not to mention the noxious fumes that flow while these engines are running.

In an area of the Falls that has one of the highest tax bases for the city, and an area that the city is looking to increase the assessments on property values, an increase in Techmotiv's facility without a plan in place to reduce both the noise and air pollution can only have a negative impact on our quality of life. We would like Tecmotiv to be a responsible neighbor and find a solution to this problem. Possible solutions might be relocating where the testing of the engines is done, sound barriers which you see near highways, or some other way to deflect the noise away from our homes.

Recently, I went around the neighborhood with a petition to present to our local lawmakers at a public hearing. Many of the residents were aware of the noise, but had no idea where it was coming from. Through the efforts of a neighbor and myself, we were able to collect 65 names for this petition. That is more then double the people that Tecmotiv currently employs, and is only a sampling of what I am sure could be a long list of concerned residents.

If you would like to know more about this issue or you would like to add your support to our campaign to deny this tax exemption and expansion until such a time as they have demonstrated, with actions, a desire to be a good neighbor, please contact me by e-mail at deveauxny@hotmail.com.

Jeffrey LeClair

Niagara Falls

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