Updated 8:42 p.m. The Long Island Power Authority has offered an extra $3 million to the Town of Huntington as part of the proposed settlement on the Northport power plant tax assessment case.
The town said Friday that the money was aimed at helping the town reduce the impact of COVID-19 on residents.
With a vote on the settlement expected to come Thursday at a special town board meeting, following a second public forum on the issue, resolution of the long-running battle over the proper assessment of the plant appears to be coming to a head.
Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci said that LIPA has agreed to the Town’s request for $3 million in additional payments to the Town of $1 million per year in 2021, 2022 and 2023.
“While we were fortunate to be in a strong financial position when COVID-19 hit, the long-term impacts of this unprecedented economic crisis on our local economy and future government operations are not fully known,” sakd Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci. “LIPA has agreed to $3 million in additional payments to the Town for COVID-19 relief, which is an appropriate recognition of the impacts of this crisis and the economic challenges that all Town of Huntington residents will face in the near future.”
“I am continuing to analyze this settlement but any money that will go to the taxpayers is certainly a welcome development,” said Councilman Mark Cuthbertson.
Councilwoman Joan Cergol said, “This $3 million concession to soften any financial impacts of COVID-19 is certainly worthy of consideration in helping to protect and preserve vital town services and programs that our residents depend on and deserve, especially during these, and continuing difficult times.”
But Councilman Edmund Smyth said, I think the $3 million is a joke. It would just about pay thte town’s legal fees for the last ten years of litigation. It’s $822 million short.” He said he is still weighing all the facts ahead of Thursday’s vote.
Updated 8:42 p.m. And Councilman Gene Cook, asked what he thought of the LIPA offer, said, “You mean the $3 million bribe? It shows the desperation of LIPA and that this is the worst deal that Huntington could ever possibly make. If it went to the judge, we would get a better deal.”
Michael Marcantonio, a critic of the proposed settlement and a candidate for the 12th Assembly District seat, said, “Under LIPA’s settlement offer, Huntington will lose about $200 million over the next seven years, nearly $480 million over 12 years. Giving us $3 million back is crumbs. It doesn’t change the risk calculation at all.”
The second public forum on the LIPA proposal will take place Thursday at 6 p.m., online, using the same Zoom video and telephone conferencing platform used for the first forum. Public comment may be submitted ahead of the forum at huntingtonny.gov/lipa-forum.
The forum will live-stream on Optimum 18, FIOS 38 and at huntingtonny.gov/featured-
The special Town Board meeting, at which the Town Board will vote on LIPA’s proposal, will follow at 8 p.m. and will live-stream on Optimum 18, FIOS 38 and at huntingtonny.gov/meetings.