Cook Says LIPA Didn’t Follow Rules on Tax Challenge; Utility Disputes Claim

Huntington Councilman Eugene Cook said Friday that the Long Island Power Authority broke the rules by not getting approval of a state board before filing a challenge to its property taxes.

Cook said that unlike other cases that were turned down by the Public Authorities Control Board, LIPA avoided the process by not requesting permission.

However, a LIPA spokesman disputed Cook’s views. 

“Councilman Cook is incorrect that asking for a property to be fairly taxed under the law requires PACB approval,” a LIPA spokesman said. “LIPA has the right to grieve unfair tax bills the same way homeowners do, and in this case, LIPA is grieving the highest property tax bill in the United States on behalf of all Long Island homeowners. After a decade in the courts and on the cusp of a judgement, the councilman’s latest theory is once again unrealistic and distracts from ongoing talks to work out a compromise.”

Cook argues that  LIPA knew if they followed state law and requested permission from PACB in 2010, 2011, and 2012 and thereafter to file the tax challenges using their Power Purchase Agreements with Nat Grid, they would be stopped. He asked the state Division of the Budget, which oversees the PACB, for information but learned that the agency had no information on the request because LIPA hadn’t filed for approval.

“I ask the Governor and the members of the State Senate and State Assembly to join me, in advocating for the rule of law,” Cook said. “The rules should be followed.  The absence of PACB approval means LIPA’s rogue tax challenge cases should be dismissed.”

Councilman Edmund Smyth said, “I am open to any option which would lead to a resolution favorable to the Town of Huntington.”

LIPA is challenging the taxes it pays on facilities around Long Island, with a dispute over taxes on the Northport power plant awaiting settlement. 


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