The Niagara County IDA's mission statement, as posted on its Web site, is to promote sustainable economic development, create and retain jobs, expand the tax base and improve the quality of life for Niagara County residents.
The recent PILOT agreement that the NCIDA handed to AES Corporation's power plant in Somerset does not do this. No jobs were created. No jobs were retained. (AES was not planning any layoffs, nor were they in financial distress). No new development or revenue will be put back into the county.
Fact: People will lose jobs. The Barker Central School District will be hit the hardest, facing massive cuts in employment and programs to make up for the loss of roughly $23 million over the life of the PILOT.
Fact: The tax base was not expanded by this deal. This PILOT agreement had nothing to do with a new clean coal plant being built. While AES tried to hide their reasons for this tax break behind bidding for a new plant, the current tax break was not needed to submit their bid.
Fact: This will affect all Niagara County taxpayers by raising taxes. The county stands to lose roughly $13.8 million over the life of this PILOT. With higher taxes, people will have less spending money for the local economy. Their quality of life will be negatively impacted due to the rise in their taxes -- some homes will see a rise in their school taxes, county taxes and town taxes. All in one year.
How can the NCIDA or Niagara County legislators defend such a one-sided deal? Look at the numbers! We, the residents of Niagara County, get nothing from the PILOT and the economy will surely lose as everyone is forced to tighten their belts due to tax increases.
Louis J. Mead,
President, Barker School Board