Establishes an energy system tax stabilization reserve fund in the Copenhagen Central School District to lessen or prevent increases in the school district's real property tax levy resulting from decreases in revenue due to changes in or termination of the payments in lieu of taxes receivable by the school district.
NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A7781A
TITLE OF BILL:
An act to establish a wind energy systems tax stabilization reserve fund
in the Copenhagen Central School District to lessen or prevent increases
in the school district's real property tax levy
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:
To allow the Copenhagen Central School District to establish a real
property tax stabilization fund out of part of the proceeds of a payment
in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement from various wind farms. Upon termi-
nation or decrease of the PILOT payments, transfers from the fund would
ease a transition in the tax levy so that taxpayers do not have to bear
a sudden spike in real property taxes.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section one: The legislative findings section recognizes that the school
district's current receipt of significant PILOT payments from wind
developments will at some point either terminate or significantly
decrease, which could result in a massive destabilization of the
district's tax base and the amount of its tax levy to meet current budg-
Section two: This section makes definitions of important terms in the
bill, including providing that PILOT payments may mean either PILOTS
under Real Property Tax Law Section 487 permitting municipalities to
enter into PILOT agreements for wind energy systems or Subdivision
fifteen of § 858 of the General Municipal Law (authorizing IDA created
PILOTs) and adopting the definition of wind energy systems already found
in Real Property Tax Law § 487.
Section three: This section permits the school district to create a wind
energy systems tax stabilization reserve fund if the fund shall be
approved in a separate ballot proposition by a majority of voters in a
special district election or in the annual district meeting and
election. The proposition must set forth the maximum allowable balance
for the fund. After the establishment of the fund, the board of educa-
tion may make payments into the fund all or part of any portion of the
amount by which the amount of the PILOT payment received in any budget
year exceeds the amount of PILOT payment received in the preceding budg-
et year. No such payment may cause the fund to exceed the maximum
balance approved by the voters. This section further provides that funds
may be withdrawn from the fund for any lawful purpose. Such withdrawals
would be subject to the usual disclosures required for withdrawals from
other reserve funds including disclosures required by the property tax
report card. Deposits and withdrawals would be subject to the
district's normal annual budget process. All money in the fund is to be
deposited, invested, and accounted for under the requirements of subdi-
visions 2 and 6 of section 3651 and 3652 of the Education law.
Section four: Provides for an immediate effective date.
The district requires the approval given in this bill to use PILOT
revenues to establish a tax stabilization fund which will one day be
equal to the task of smoothing the transition that will be required by
ramping up the tax levy over a period of time. Absorbing all of the
loss or decrease in the PILOT in one or two years would cause a severe
spike in the tax levy, dramatic slashing of programs or both. The bill
contains significant safeguards to insure the dedication of PILOT funds
for this purpose.
This legislation seeks authorization to establish a wind energy systems
tax stabilization reserve fund to ensure that future decrease or loss of
the PILOT payments will not cause a dramatic and onerous spike in the
real property tax levy. The district seeks permission through this
legislation to prudently use these funds to promote fiscal and tax
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
This is a new bill.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS:
None for the State of New York. Positive impact on the district's fiscal
and tax levy stability.
This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK
2021-2022 Regular Sessions
May 21, 2021
Introduced by M. of A. BLANKENBUSH -- read once and referred to the
Committee on Education -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered
reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee
AN ACT to establish a wind energy systems tax stabilization reserve fund
in the Copenhagen Central School District to lessen or prevent
increases in the school district's real property tax levy
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-bly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. Legislative findings. The legislature hereby finds that the
2 private development and ownership of a wind energy systems project or
3 projects located within the Copenhagen Central School District may
4 result in instability in the real property tax base and the budgets of
5 the district due to the uncertainty with the assessments of such wind
6 energy systems project or projects and the variability of payments in
7 lieu of taxes prior to and at termination of such payments.
8 § 2. Definitions. As used in this act:
9 (a) "Board of education" or "board" means the board of education of
10 the Copenhagen Central School District.
11 (b) "Wind energy systems tax stabilization reserve fund" or "fund"
12 means the wind energy systems tax stabilization fund established pursu-
13 ant to this act.
14 (c) "Payments in lieu of taxes" or "payments" means payments in lieu
15 of taxes receivable by the school district pursuant to contracts entered
16 into in accordance with section 487 of the real property tax law or
17 subdivision 15 of section 858 of the general municipal law on any wind
18 farm energy system located wholly or partially within the Copenhagen
19 Central School District.
20 (d) "School district" or "district" means the Copenhagen Central
21 School District.
22 (e) "Wind energy systems project or projects" shall be defined as in
23 section 487 of the real property tax law and shall include the land upon
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.
A. 7781--A 2
1 which the system is located, any equipment used in such generation, and
2 equipment leading from the system to the interconnection with the trans-
3 mission system.
4 § 3. Wind energy systems tax stabilization reserve fund. The board of
5 education is hereby authorized to establish a wind energy systems tax
6 stabilization reserve fund to lessen or prevent increases in the school
7 district's real property tax levy resulting from decreases in revenue
8 due to changes in the amount of or termination of the payments in lieu
9 of taxes receivable by the school district; provided, however, that no
10 such fund shall be established unless approved by a majority vote of the
11 qualified voters of the district present and voting on a separate ballot
12 proposition therefor at either a special district meeting which the
13 board of education may call for such purposes or at the annual district
14 meeting and election, to be noticed and conducted in either case in
15 accordance with article 41 of the education law. Moneys shall be paid
16 into and withdrawn from the fund and the fund shall be administered as
18 (a) For any school district fiscal year commencing after the effective
19 date of this act and after the establishment of the wind energy systems
20 tax stabilization reserve fund, the board of education may determine
21 that there shall be paid into the fund all or any portion of the amount
22 by which the payments in lieu of taxes receivable by the school district
23 for such fiscal year is greater than the amount of such payments
24 received by the school district for the preceding fiscal year, provided
25 that no payment into the reserve fund shall cause the balance of the
26 fund to exceed the amount approved in the ballot proposal described
28 (b) Moneys may be withdrawn from the energy system tax stabilization
29 reserve fund for any fiscal year to be expended for any lawful purpose.
30 Withdrawals from the fund shall be disclosed in a manner consistent with
31 the required disclosures of similar reserve funds held by the district,
32 including disclosures required by the property tax report card prepared
33 by the district pursuant to the provisions of subdivision 7 of section
34 1716 of the education law; and deposits and withdrawals made in each
35 fiscal year shall be subject to the district's annual budget approval
37 (c) The moneys in the wind energy systems tax stabilization reserve
38 fund shall be deposited, invested and accounted for in the manner
39 provided for in subdivisions 2 and 6 of section 3651 and section 3652 of
40 the education law.
41 § 4. This act shall take effect immediately.