Ed Romaine, now the supervisor of Brookhaven Town, speaks during...

Ed Romaine, now the supervisor of Brookhaven Town, speaks during a meeting of the Suffolk Legislature in Hauppauge. (May 3, 2012) Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

Brookhaven Supervisor Edward Romaine Wednesday stepped into the debate over LIPA's future, asking Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to drop tax challenges LIPA has filed against the town over the Port Jefferson power station.

LIPA pays $29.4 million annually in taxes for the National Grid-owned plant, which has been used infrequently since LIPA began drawing energy from the more efficient Caithness plant in Yaphank. LIPA has sought a 90 percent reduction in the assessment of the plant.

In a letter to Cuomo, Romaine pointed to commitments LIPA made in 1997 and 2004 not to file grievances in urging the governor to drop them from any legislation to reform LIPA. Huntington Supervisor Frank Petrone also has urged Cuomo to drop a grievance filed against the Northport power station.

Cuomo has said any plan for LIPA would include "property tax stability" for ratepayers, a statement some have interpreted to mean that the tax cases could be dropped.

Cuomo spokesman Matt Wing wouldn't say whether the state was prepared to call for dropping the tax grievance cases. "The governor has been clear that one of our top priorities is property tax stability," Wing said. "That's why he passed the property tax cap. Any new system [for LIPA] would have to make sure that we protect property taxpayers on Long Island."

Romaine's letter points out that a successful grievance case involving the Port Jefferson plant would have a "devastating" impact on Brookhaven, the village of Port Jefferson and its school district.

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