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Huntington Town Hopes LIPA Reforms Include Tax Stabilization

As Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan moves forward, town still battling LIPA on assessment challenge.

Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone is hoping that Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan to restructure the Long Island Power Authority may include dropping tax grievances against municipalities.

The town is currently involved in a lawsuit against LIPA for filing a tax certiori seeking to reduce taxes paid on the Northport Power Plant by almost 90 percent. The plant paid about $70 million in taxes in 2011.

If the assessment was reduced by this amount, Huntington property owners would face a 10 percent increase in the town portion of their tax bills and the average Northport-East Northport School District resident would see the school portion of his/her property tax bill rise by over 50 percent.

"As the Town has contended in the suit, there is an agreement going back to the 1990s that the Town would not raise the assessment on the plant, and LIPA would not challenge the assessment," said Town Spokesperson AJ Carter. "The Town has not raised the assessment, and contends in the suit that the agreement is still in force."

According to Newsday, Long Island Association President and former LIPA executive Kevin Law met with Cuomo administration officials last week and discussed tax plans. He told Newsday that, whatever ends up being done with LIPA, the administration related that it "doesn't want to hurt communities that have historically been good hosts for plants that generate power for Long Islanders."

Plans to overhaul LIPA began in earnest after Hurricane Sandy. Cuomo has said that he'd like to privatize the burgeoning utility,and that reforms must include property tax stabilization.

"The Supervisor believes that agreement is fair to Huntington residents, especially those in the Northport school district, as well as LIPA ratepayers," said AJ Carter. "He also hopes LIPA will look at repowering the Northport plant, making it more valuable to LIPA and its customers and increasing the value of the property."

Cuomo administration representatives could not be reached for comment by press time.

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