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Norton disagrees with OBSERVER project story

October 14, 2008
ARKWRIGHT — Taking exception to a front page story in the OBSERVER's Monday edition about Arkwright’s proposed Horizon Wind Farm project, Supervisor Fred Norton issued a lengthy statement on its contents. The story’s headline read “No more town taxes? Wind farms could mean big bucks for Arkwright” referring to a plan Horizon had submitted to Arkwright. “Horizon has submitted no such plan (and) it has never stated that the income from the wind farm in Arkwright would or could allow us to abolish town taxes,” Norton said at Monday’s town board meeting. He went on to say the revenues generated by the wind farm would be based on two documents, a host agreement and a pilot agreement. “Horizon has not begun to negotiate any host agreement and it has not applied to the Chautauqua County IDA for a pilot agreement,” he said. If Arkwright applies the wind tower revenue it may receive to abolish taxes, the first $322,000 of this revenue would have to be applied to the current town operations, Norton explained. “To accomplish what needs to be done for our roads, we would need another $322,000 — the difference between the $400,000 cost and the $168,000 we currently spend,” he said. Calling the current town hall “a slum," Norton said the building’s roof leaks and the storage area looks like Fibber Magee’s closet. “There is space for only 30 people for a town meeting and in the winter months we may have people looking in through the windows at a town board meeting. This may seem quaint, but it’s cold for those on the outside and it’s cold for us in the room,” he said. “In short, we have needs which must be met before we ever (could consider) abolishing taxes. “I hate these taxes as much as anyone, but first, we have to spend (tax) revenue to improve the town.” Summing up his remarks, Norton said, “I recognize the need to sell newspapers. Unfortunately, the absence of accuracy in the reporting of news makes governing much more difficult and subject to suspicion when the reported events did not occur.” When asked about quotes attributed to Neighbors Informed about Clean Energy co-chairman Larry Wilcox at the meeting covered by the news report, Horizon project manager Tom Stebbins said, “He does not speak for Horizon, nor, I believe, does he speak for the town board.”


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