Northport, NY – Huntington Town Supervisor Frank P. Petrone and Councilman Mark
Cuthbertson today launched a major grassroots effort to fight the Long Island
Power Authority's challenge of the assessment on the Northport Power Plant, a
challenge that if successful could cause major pain for Huntington taxpayers
while providing minimal if any benefit to LIPA customers.
At a rally held in the shadow of the plant's stacks, Supervisor Petrone
and Councilman Cuthbertson announced
details of "Stop The LIPA Tax Hike," a multi-pronged campaign to fight the LIPA
tax lawsuit, including a new website, www.stoplipataxhike.com, to raise awareness and
educate residents about the devastating effects a successful LIPA property tax
challenge would have.
The campaign will also include the distribution of
"Stop The LIPA Tax Hike" lawn signs and a Feb. 1 bus trip to Albany to lobby the
Governor and New York State lawmakers to help protect Huntington taxpayers. Residents wishing to
participate in the lobbying trip can sign up on the website or in person at
"LIPA was created as a
public utility to serve the best interests of Long Island residents and to
replace a private company that placed its stockholders' interests ahead of its
customers'," Supervisor Petrone said. "But in filing suit against the Town, LIPA
is demonstrating that it cares more about shareholders of British-based National
Grid than it does about Long Islanders. With the grassroots effort, we hope to
remind LIPA whom they were created to serve."
"While we will vigorously defend the town's interests in the suit, the
most effective resolution is for LIPA to accede to the wishes of Long Island
residents and withdraw the litigation," Councilman Cuthbertson said. "We hope to
spread that message, loud and clear, on lawns throughout the Town and in the halls of the
State Capitol. By working together, we can stop this attempt to raid
Huntington residents' pockets to benefit utility shareholders."
In October, LIPA filed
its suit challenging the assessment on the Northport Power Plant, an effort that
if successful would result in tens of millions of dollars in property tax hikes
for Huntington Town residents generally, with the heaviest impact on property
owners in the Northport-East Northport School District.
In November, the Town Board voted to
authorize the Town Attorney to defend the suit using all means at his disposal,
including the hiring of outside counsel, consultants and experts. The Town
Attorney is currently interviewing law firms that specialize in utility and tax
The Town Board resolution also created an Assessment Advisory Committee,
composed of representatives
from Town government, taxing jurisdictions in the Northport area and area
business groups, including the Village of Northport, the Northport/East
Northport Union Free School District, the Northport/East Northport Library
District and the Northport and East Northport Chambers of Commerce. The
Committee held its first meeting recently and will continue to meet
The suit contends that
the Northport plant is worth less than eleven percent of the value reflected by
its current assessment, on which LIPA plays a total of roughly $70-million in
property taxes. In addition to
serious increases in Countywide and Police District portions of tax bills, Town
of Huntington residents broadly would experience tax increases of up to 10
percent. The Northport-East
Northport school and library districts are looking at a whopping 50 percent tax
Under an agreement
between LIPA and National Grid, tax savings from an assessment reduction would
be passed on to National Grid and its shareholders.
property tax challenge comes along at the worst possible time for every
Huntington taxpayer. An assessment change would add yet another financial burden
to Huntington residents and could very well be the difference between a family
staying in the community or picking up stakes. On behalf of every overburdened
and underserved LIPA customer, I call on LIPA to do the right thing, drop the
challenge and put the hardworking customers' needs ahead of corporate greed,"
said Senator Carl L. Marcellino (R-Syosset).
Assemblyman James Conte (R-Huntington Station) said,
"When LIPA was created there was an agreement that it would not proceed with any
tax certiorari proceedings. Our taxpayers should not be hit with a 10
percent tax increase in these tough economic times. As a state representative
from Huntington, I will work with our local town officials, LIPA representatives
and Governor Cuomo to ensure that Huntington residents are treated fairly and
not taxed out of their homes."
Andrew Raia (R-Huntington) said, "I am proud to support my fellow taxpayers and
the families of the Northport / East Northport School District in strong
opposition to LIPA's lawsuit. I pledge to stand along side my colleagues in
local government as we work to find an equitable solution to LIPA's actions
against our community. "