That's not nearly enough to pay for damage to town infrastructure, said Supervisor James S. Goldstein. He said some dairy farmers pay more property tax than Nornew. The total town tax levy is $367,725. Goldstein is also concerned about funding emergency management and fire safety.
"They are using the infrastructure and not paying for it," Goldstein said.
Gas produced in Lebanon is shipped elsewhere and provides very little benefit to the town in its present form, Goldstein said.
"The amount of taxes that would be added to the gas company's bottom line would have a minimal impact on the consumer," Goldstein said. "When you look at the benefit to all of the property taxpayers in our township, it is far more beneficial to our taxpayers and less harmful to the gas company. We have an opportunity to significantly reduce the property taxes of our residents and add pennies to the cost of gas."
Goldstein said if the state approved the request, they would hold hearings and suggested a fuel enhancement tax could lie between 5 and 10 percent. He emphasized that this is a "home rule request...a civic request for the town of Lebanon, a uniquely rural town... not a statewide tax." He said several towns in Madison and Chenango counties are interested in a similar taxing authority. Smyrna, in neighboring Chenango County, passed a resolution mirroring Lebanon's, and Otselic has recently signed on as well.
Magee suggested collecting a bond from the gas company that would be held in case of damage to roads. He said towns in Chatauqua County already collect such bonds. Goldstein said Lebanon had already undertaken steps to collect such bonding, but that this solution would neither address past damage to infrastructure nor fund emergency services.
Nornew did not return calls for this article.