Burrillville signs new five year tax treaty with Ocean State Power

1
713

BURRILLVILLE – A new, five-year agreement between the town of Burrillville and Ocean State Power will see tax payments for the company’s property – including its 560-megawatt power plant – begin to gradually decrease starting next year, with an annual payment of roughly $2.1 million in effect from 2025-2027.

The treaty, signed in March and received by the Town Council on Wednesday, April 13, settles negotiations for Ocean State’s tangible property in town, as well as three lots owned by the power company totaling 75 acres. A previous agreement valuing the property at $160,000,000 for six years, and contributing around $2.5 million annually to town coffers, expired in 2021.

Under the new tax treaty, passed Wednesday, April 13, the property will continue to be assessed at $160,000,000 in 2022, with a tax bill totaling $2,627,200.

The agreement sees the value of the property declining steadily over the next three years at a rate of $10,000,000 a year through 2024, when it’s valued at $130,000,000, an assessment that is held through the remainder of the contract with a $2.1 million associated tax burden.

The deal pertains to 350 West Ironstone Road, where the company has two gas-fired power units, as well as 2890 Bronco Highway and 0 Bronco Highway, vacant 5 and 8 acre properties also owned by OSP.

Nick Katkevich of Bristol spoke against the agreement on behalf of the FANG Collective, an organization that advocates for social justice issues, including active opposition to the fracked-gas industry. The group worked with Burrillville BASE to stop both the Enbridge Gas Pipeline and the Invenergy power plant from being built in town.

“We’ve been working to shut down the Ocean State Power Plant with a just transition process,” Katkevich said, noting that he spoke with ISO New England, the organization responsible for energy planning throughout the region, last year. “They told me personally that this power plant will close before then. These types of power plants are going to close soon.”

“What’s going to happen to this town if there’s not a plan created now to close it in a good way? What’s going to happen is this plant’s going to close and they’re going to leave it,” Katkevich said. “They’re not going to clean the land. They’re not going to even disassemble the building.”

Katkevich repeated a concern brought to the council in December by Kathy Martley of Burrillville BASE, who stated there have been, “cancer clusters,” among residents who live near the plant. At the time, NRI NOW asked for copies of Martley’s data, and provided contact information to further discuss the issue, but the news outlet has never received a response.

This week, after news was published, BASE did share data on OSP’s violations issued through RIDEM, which were mostly for exceeding emissions standards. NRI NOW is now in the process of seeking additional information.

Katkevich said his group plans to meet with the Rhode Island Department of Health to discuss the issue.

“The FANG collective is calling for more input from the community,” he said of the tax agreement, asking for a public hearing on the power plant treaty. “It was built amid widespread opposition in this town.”

Town Council President Donald Fox told Katkevich his testimony would be limited to three minutes since he is not a Burrillville resident and stopped him when the clock ran out, noting that the agreement with OSP had been signed and executed prior to the meeting.

In audio from the council meeting, Katkevich can be heard yelling, “shame on you.”

Councilors voted unanimously to receive and file the agreement, which waives Ocean State’s right to appeal the property assessment. Burrillville’s last tax assessment of the plant, which went live in 1990, was subject to several lawsuits before a deal was ultimately signed in 2015.

“The parties wish to avoid the costs and burdens associated with appeals and litigation concerning the correct fair market value of the property in tax year 2022 and subsequent years,” notes the document.

The treaty is based on continuing operation of the plant, and Ocean State may withdraw from the agreement if the plant’s output is zero for a year or more, or if the company makes alterations that reduce capacity by more than 25 percent. The agreement also includes stipulations for additional taxes if the power plant significantly exceeds the projected output.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

1 COMMENT

  1. Burrillville residents enjoy the lowest electricity rates in the state, and they should be able to continue doing so. Cancer clusters – another scare tactic used by the greenies to scare people. There’s NO peer reviewed study on that claim. FANG people and BASE people that are trying to shut down power plants, keep touting renewable energy -which costs WAAAYY more to purchase. These green groups also don’t care about the estimated 1 million birds that are killed each year in the USA alone by wind turbines – millions killed each year worldwide (American Bird Conservancy). Or solar panels that require the use of hazardous materials to manufacture (Union of Concerned Scientists). CSP, or concentrated solar thermal plants, require millions of gallons of water annually to cool their systems. Solar fields like we see in RI, have resulted in the destruction of hundreds of acres of prime forest land, resulting in the lost habitat for wildlife. These green groups are highly hypocritical, in that they are killing the planet to “save” the planet. It’s like an episode of The Twilight Zone.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here