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Ripley Town Board Approves 4 Resolutions

Attorney Ben Wisneiwski updates Ripley Town Board members on the most recent applications under the town’s solar law.

RIPLEY — Ripley Town Board members approved four resolutions at their regular meeting on Nov. 9.

Four public hearings were conducted via Zoom for the purpose of obtaining input on the preliminary budget for 2022, opting out of cannabis retail sales and on site consumption locations, the property tax exemption for senior citizens and the veterans’ property tax exemption.

Council members accepted the preliminary budget for the town of Ripley for the fiscal year beginning Jan. 1, 2022, which has been filed in the town clerk’s office.

A resolution for the town to opt out of allowing a cannabis retail dispensary and on-site consumption was also approved by the board.

Council members also adopted a resolution to amend the town of Ripley Local Law 2012-2. Local Law 3-2021 will increase the income limit for property tax exemption from $18,000 to $26,000 for people over 65.

A resolution to amend the town of Ripley law for real property tax exemptions for veterans was also accepted. Local Law 4-2021 will increase the exemption for war veterans to $9,000, for veterans who served in a combat zone, the exemption would be increased to $6,000, and for disabled veterans, the exemption would be increased to $30,000.

Doug Bowen, town supervisor, then asked council members to approve a change in the designation of town employee Trevor Enterline to Dual Licensee. Enterline’s new title will be deputy water and sewer supervisor, Bowen said.

Attorney Ben Wisniewski, who joined the meeting via ZOOM, updated council members on several matters, including solar projects recent meetings and the draft of the battery energy storage law.

Wisniewski told board members that the clean Choice Energy Project, which will be located on Route 76, is a smaller project than the South Ripley Solar Project and does not include battery storage.

Council members received a presentation on the proposed “community solar garden” from Jodie Hunt, senior project manager, at their October 14 meeting.

“We’ve submitted an application for a solar project located on Route 76,” Hunt told the board.

Wisniewski explained that the town’s new Solar Law requires the zoning officer to review the application for completeness.

“We’re been assisting the zoning officer in going over the application,” he said. “We will be sending a deficiency letter to Clean Choice Energy.”

Wisniewski said the application did not include the required 1% deposit, a fact which will be noted in the letter. There are a host of more technical issues, Wisniewski said, “but they should be easily remedied.”

In his update on the South Ripley Solar Project, Wisniewski reminded council members that ORES issued a deficiency letter to ConnectGen. However, a revised application for the project has not been received.

Wisniewski also told board members that there was a meeting recently to discuss a potential Host Community Agreement and a PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) Agreement. He noted that, while it was not a public meeting, and the fire district was involved.

Regarding the draft Battery Energy Storage Law, Wisniewski said he would present a completed draft at the December meeting. He noted that there is some concern that December will be too late.

Wisniewski told the board that, even without the new law in place, battery storage units are prohibited at this time.

“So, the town is protected right now,” he said.

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