From the Buffalo News....
LOCKPORT — After State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. dismissed the remaining portions of their lawsuit, the Town of Somerset and Barker Central School District were left Thursday with the hope that an appeals court will overturn a tax break for their largest taxpayer.
In his ruling, Kloch also rejected Niagara County’s claim that AES Corp. had committed fraud by seeking a payment- in-lieu-of-taxes, or PILOT, arrangement with the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency. Whether the county would appeal remained unclear.
The decision is pretty definitive and leads to several observations:
1) While one can appreciate the school district and the town making the case of the legality of the pilot and the process that was followed, the county's fraud case was a huge waste of taxpayer money that someone should answer for.
2) Isn't it time New York State stepped in and settled this power plant assessment issue statewide so communities are not torn apart debating whether a PILOT or future refunds based on assessment challenges is the lesser of two evils?
3) AES needs to make a significant investment in the plant to show they are indeed interested in being a long-term, good neighbor in the community and make doubters feel that the PILOT was justified.
4) Henry Sloma comes out of the decision looking pretty damn good.
5) The school district and the town come out of this looking like they fought the good fight for their constituency. The county looks ridiculous.
6) You can guarantee appeals because there is money to be made for lawyers.
7) Tough to tell who this court decision helps/hurts politically this election season.
Those are my snapshot judgments...let's hear yours.