Council seeks input on PILOT program for solar power systems

Published Jan 22, 2018 at 4:00pm

The Common Council will open its meeting Wednesday with a public hearing at 6:50 p.m. on a proposal to regulate commercial solar power systems with payment in lieu of taxes programs.

The seven-member council’s hearing and regular meeting will be held in the council chambers at City Hall. The regular meeting will begin at 7.

At the previous meeting, the council tabled legislation to amend the Code of Ordinances to establish a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) for solar energy systems. The legislation must wait until after the hearing.

The PILOT would allow for commercial systems to be tax-exempt for the first 15 years.

The first five years would include annual payments of 25 percent of assessment, years six through 10 would have payments of 50 percent of the assessed value and the final five years’ payments would be 75 percent. It would not cover residential systems.

There is also legislation for up to $1,591,350 in bonding for various purchases this year. There’s up to $210,000 for a six-wheel dump truck, $35,000 for a pickup truck, $162,000 for a mower, $82,000 for a backhoe, $74,625 for a truck cab and chassis, $30,000 for a Ford Explorer, $400,000 for a tank and gear boxes (sewer equipment), $80,000 each for two Ford F150 pickup trucks, $152,000 for a payloader, $137,370 for snowblower, $138,855 for air circulation/conditioning system expenses at the justice building, $7,000 for handicap access to the water fountain at the Department of Public Works building, $45,000 for a mini dump truck, $17,500 for a Polaris Ranger ATV and $20,000 for a traffic light intersection control panel.

Another ordinance would be for $635,350 in bonding for reconstruction at City Hall. This project, for which the city is seeking to use some of its state Downtown Revitalization Initiative funding, would include a new entry atrium that is controlled and safe as well as ADA-compliance and environmentally sustainable upgrades. The total cost could reach $3 million, but the city could request use of up to $2.4 million in DRI money to cover what would not be funded through the bonding.

The council will also be able to authorize $76,900 for hiring an auditing firm or certified public accountant for 2018. The legislation states the city will again hire D’Arcangelo & Co. of Rome for the work.

The council will also be able to authorize payments to a host of local non-profits groups as was approved in the 2018 budget in the fall:

  • $12,160 for the Capitol Civic Center.
  • $2,000 for the Rome Cemetery Association for the Rome plot.
  • $14,000 for the Humane Society of Rome.
  • $32,224 for the Rome Art and Community Center.
  • $1,600 for the Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency’s runaway and homeless youth program.
  • $31,616 for the Rome Historical Society.
  • $322,932 for Jervis Public Library.
  • $31,680 for the Senior Citizens Council.
  • $10,880 for the South Rome Senior Citizens Center.