Finch to get landfill tax deal
NORTHUMBERLAND Finch Paper will get tax breaks on the landfill it is buying from Saratoga County, and pay property taxes on the land value but not the full assessed value for the first five years.
The Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency on Monday morning voted unanimously to grant the Glens Falls company a property tax break for the first five years of its ownership and a sales tax exemption on materials and services it needs to get the landfill ready for use, said Larry Benton, CEO of the IDA.
The sales tax exemption is worth about $210,000. The landfill on Kobor Road has sat unused since its completion in 2001, and Finch officials have said it will take a fair amount of work to get it up and running.
It will likely take at least a year after the settlement for the landfill to open and then another year or two for the improvements to be finished, officials have said.
The payment in lieu of property taxes arrangement will make the landfill itself tax-free for the first five years, though Finch will pay taxes on the $262,000 land value of 63 acres during that time. The landfill itself, which covers 23 of those acres, is assessed at $5.6 million over and above the land value.
In the sixth year that Finch owns the landfill, the company will be expected to pay taxes on the full assessed value, Benton said. Finch and the county are expected to close on the deal in December, when the company will pay the county $4 million.
Later on, Finch will give the county $2 million more if the state allows the county landfill to be connected across a six-acre gap with Finch’s paper sludge landfill on adjacent land, which is nearly full. If they’re connected, the landfill would be able to accept both paper mill sludge and municipal solid waste, attracting local municipal waste haulers who now drive to landfills in western New York.
“The county landfill portion will provide a revenue stream for Finch,” Benton said. The landfill will be able to accept 275,000 tons of waste per year.
Those tipping fees also could provide a revenue stream to the county and the town of Northumberland, which will get a share if the fees are higher than $38 per ton. The county’s share of tipping fees, estimated at $1.7 million per year, includes the $200,000 to be paid to Northumberland.
The remaining $1.5 million would be split evenly between the county and its towns, cities and villages, with the municipal shares to be based on the existing county sales tax distribution formula.
Benton said Finch also will pay taxes on 35 acres south of the landfill that are set aside as protected habitat for the northern harrier, a ground-nesting hawk that’s on the state’s threatened species list. That property is assessed at $185,000.
At current tax rates, Finch would pay $8,225 the first year for school, county and town property taxes for both properties. Those properties currently pay no taxes because the county owns them.
The county Board of Supervisors in June chose Finch to buy the landfill over national waste disposal firm Waste Connections, which proposed expanding the landfill from 23 acres to 204 acres.