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Not blowing over

RPTL section 487 makes wind power projects tax exempt for the first 15 years of their existence. Municipalities must opt out of the RPTL to collect taxes or payments in lieu of taxes.

"They are tax-exempt until that happens," Bargabos said.

Lura said the county could not establish a windmill PILOT policy without first enacting a local law to do so. Supervisor Loren Corbin (Brookfield) said the whole deal sounded like "taxes in lieu of taxes" to him.

Bargabos countered Henderson's proposed resolution with one of his own: To put on record the county's historically minimal involvement in windmill projects.

"I don't think finance, ways and means makes policy," DiVeronica said in response to Bargabos' proposed resolution. "It should be [the] government operations [committee]."

Supervisor James Rafte (Oneida Wards 4, 5 and 6) expressed his frustrations.

"I feel dumber than a box of rocks," Rafte said to DiVeronica. "First you send a resolution for a policy to this committee for approval, then you say this committee isn't the appropriate body."

Bargabos said Madison County is a leader in green energy and its involvement should be to promote well-planned and well-positioned windmills. He moved his resolution, which was seconded by Puddington.

Henderson accused Bargabos of hijacking his meeting.

"I agree the county needs a policy," Henderson said, trying to redirect discussion toward his proposed resolution.

The finance committee meeting ended with no resolutions passed, but a three-two vote in favor of Bargabos' resolution ended in a three-three tie when DiVeronica invoked executive privilege.

"It goes to the full board then," Bargabos said.

Supervisor Douglas Holdridge (Lincoln) worked to de-escalate tempers and arguing at the subsequent meeting of the committee of the whole.

"I suggest the county just back out of this one, develop a policy for future projects and let's move on," Holdridge said.

Bargabos approached DiVeronica after the committee of the whole was adjourned to shake his hand.

"That's all I wanted was some public discussion," Bargabos said.

Discussions are expected to pick up again at 8 a.m. Feb. 13 when numerous supervisors said they hoped to have a resolution that would allow the county to move forward with its regular business.

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