Even though the Huntley Coal Power Plant closed in 2016, its future role in the Town of Tonawanda is still an issue, said Supervisor Joseph H. Emminger in his State of Town address Friday during a luncheon at the Ken-Ton Chamber of Commerce.
"The big story will be the same in 2018, as it was in 2017 and 2016 and will be until we find a user for the large industrial site (the former Huntley Coal Power Generation Plant) along our waterfront," said Emminger.
He said the loss of revenue since the plant closed on March 1, 2016, continues to create a gap in the town's budget. He said state funds help, but this is only a stop gap and it does have a sunset date.
He said officials are looking for an energy company that might be interested in the site and received six submissions of interest last month. The town is also pursuing a joint public/private partnership to supply local industries with untreated water that had once been provided by the Huntley water intakes. This project could provide the town with an annual income of $500,000 to $600,000 per year.
Emminger said there is not "one knight in shining armor" that would replace all of the lost revenue from the Huntley closing. Over 1,000 residents participated in the Tonawanda Tomorrow initiative which will provide the town with a planning document for future economic development projects.
He said in 2018 the town, under the leadership of Councilman William Conrad, was successful in obtaining a designation as a Clean Energy Community and received a $150,000 grant from the New York Energy Research and Development Authority which will be used for a comprehensive re-write of the 1940s-era zoning laws.