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Towns may end energy incentive


Some Monroe County towns might opt out of a state incentive for solar, wind, and farm waste-to-energy projects.

A section of state law currently shields property owners from local property tax increases when they install wind, solar, and farm-waste energy systems; the systems can add to a property's assessed value.

The law has been on the books since 1977 and applies automatically unless a local government opts out, which is what some Monroe County towns are considering, including Sweden, Hamlin, and Perinton.

Perinton officials are concerned that a larger energy project could place demands on town services without contributing tax revenue, Supervisor Michael Barker says. The town has no proposals currently, but "we have our share of farmland" and aging farmers who may see energy projects as an income source, he says.

But the towns can't eliminate the exemption just for larger wind, solar, or farm-waste energy projects, says a state fact sheet. Homeowners who install small systems would also be ineligible.

Sweden held a hearing on its proposal Tuesday night, while Hamlin has one scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on February 13 at its Town Hall, 1658 Lake Road. Perinton's is at 7:30 p.m. on February 22 at its Town Hall, 1350 Turk Hill Road.