But what about taxes, jobs, and our property values, etc?
What about Tax revenue? Won't these industrial facilities bring money to Dover ?
Well, while you and I pay our taxes, some of these power companies, like Cricket Valley Energy Center (CVEC) don’t exactly pay their fair share, so our Town and Planning Board should ensure that these facilities will be paying full tax before even considering.
Let’s look at CVEC, i.e. - that monstrous gas plant. According to an audit of the Industrial Development Agency (IDA) by Dutchess County Comptroller, Robin Lois - in 2017, CVEC should’ve paid the town $11.7 million dollars in property taxes but they paid us $109,521 dollars instead.
It’s called a PILOT payment (payment in lieu of taxes), and it’s BS. They should’ve paid us $59 million in school taxes but they only paid $552,559 instead.
That’s like you and me taking the five bucks today when we could’ve gotten $1,000 if we just waited for the week. Through 2050, the gas plant will have avoided paying $1 BILLION dollars in taxes.
While some of these projects like NY Transco said that they will pay full tax, others may not. We can't allow another situation like CVEC to happen again.
But what about jobs? These industrial energy facilities will bring permanent jobs, right?
Nope. The Cricket Valley Energy Center promised some jobs for highly skilled individuals. Yes, there were short-term jobs during the construction phase, but not every worker was from this town and again it was short-term. Today, they employ about 28 people - that don't necessarily live in Dover.
It's not the same thing as for instance a grocery store employing managers, people to work the front, people to stock the shelves, maintenance staff, etc. or a medical facility providing permanent employment for our town's skilled nurses, doctors, and administrators.
These upcoming projects aren’t coming with the promise of permanent jobs. Take NY Transco for example, after it's built, it will be an unmanned site.
And my property value...?
On average, being within two miles of any type of power plant will decrease your property value by 3% - 7%. There's data to back this up. Most families don't want to raise their children in towns with power plants or utility facilities.
Depending on the type of power lines, property values can decrease by as much as 5% (at one point it was up to 7%).
And there's the substation. This typically gets lumped in with the power lines but it is its own special deterrent.
There is debate about the health effects of being near a substation, including childhood cancer. Read more here and here.
Surely, this will be the last of it...?
The town is currently working on revising our Comprehensive Plan, which means they're revising zoning as well.
As of right now, the town is proposing new industrial/commercial zoning along route 22.
Once we open the door for one, the rest come knocking.
The thing is, we don’t have to zone for industry (and obviously, not all industry is bad!). We can zone for more commercial use and only commercial use so we can get stores and commerce in our town; a grocery store, medical facilities, a theater, live music venue, cafe shops, arts center, shopping – things to do!
And we can zone so that when industry does come to our town, it’s small-scale, local industry that actually revitalizes Dover and doesn’t deplete it.
Okay, but our electricity will be cheaper?
Or the power they supply comes right to us?
No. The power supply does not come to Dover, it goes outside of Dover. Dover is host and not a beneficiary. We are technically considered an overburdened town by EJA terms on many factors, but especially because we host Cricket Valley Energy Gas Plant. Our town should not carry the full load for the state's initiatives when we don't benefit.