LIPA Tax Dispute Headed to Mediation
Saturday, August, 4, 2018
The Huntington Town Board, Northport-East Northport Union Free School District, and Long Island Power Authority and National Grid are all headed to mediation to resolve the dispute over tax assessments on the Northport power plant. Mediation is expected to cost more than $1100 per hour. In addition to the board’s recent vote to participate in mediation, it also voted in favor of sharing the cost with the other participants.
According to town board member Gene Cook, sponsor of the resolution, “It is time we get everybody in the room and see what we come up with. It is nonbinding mediation, so if it does not work out, we can proceed further. ”
The school board voted in favor of it joining mediation proceedings in mid-July.
National Grid and LIPA spokesman Sid Nation stated the company intends to work with the mediator. He further explained, “Our goal remains putting an unsustainable situation back on a sustainable path for both the local community and the rest of Long Island customers. ”
The need for mediation arose from a lawsuit filed by the school district and the town challenging LIPA’s 2010 attempt to reduce the tax assessment on the power plant. The district and town claim a 1998 letter locked LIPA into never challenging taxes on the power plants, but LIPA now questions whether that letter is legally enforceable.
LIPA has requested a 90 percent reduction in the power plant’s assessed value. Now the matter is set to be settled in mediation. No official date has been set yet, but should mediation prove unsuccessful the trial date for the lawsuit has been pushed back to December 3rd, 2018.