Hearings today on proposed power plant
The Town of Brookhaven on Tuesday will hold public hearings on a proposed 752-megawatt power plant — one of the Island’s largest — to be built in Yaphank.
The facility, known as Caithness II, would require clearing 81 acres of land adjacent to an existing 350-megawatt plant, also owned by Caithness Long Island Energy, near Sills Road at Old Dock Road.
A megawatt powers as many as 800 homes. The facility would become one of the largest available to the Long Island Power Authority. Its trustees could vote on a contract for the estimated $3 billion plant in the coming months.
LIPA would be the sole user of energy from the facility, which would begin operating by May 2018.
“We are working with the Town of Brookhaven and the local community to assure thorough consideration of this important proposed addition to Long Island’s electric supplies,” Ross D. Ain, president of Caithness Long Island II, said in a statement.
Brookhaven, which has lead-agency status on the project, is holding hearings starting at 5 p.m. in Town Hall to accept a draft environmental impact statement by Caithness and to consider issuing permits for the facility, which will operate primarily on natural gas.
Critics of the plant and other observers point to the region’s declining energy use in arguing the plant isn’t needed. Last week, LIPA reported energy sales declined 3 percent in 2013. LIPA last year said the plant could raise rates by as much as 3 percent starting in 2018.
LIPA has said the plant is needed not just for what it believes will be increased demand but also to provide excess power needed during projects like overhauling the Port Jefferson power station.
— Mark Harrington
Village plans hearing on tax measure
The village of Massapequa Park plans to hold a hearing Feb. 24 about breaking the tax cap for the fiscal 2015 budget.
Village administrator Peggy Caltabiano said the measure is precautionary.
“We really do it as a safeguard,” Caltabiano said. “We don’t know at this point whether we’re going to go over or under; we’re assuming right now we’re going to stay under the tax cap.”
Caltabiano said village officials haven’t come up with a dollar amount for the tax levy or budget, which will likely be proposed in March and passed by April 1, but spending isn’t expected to increase much beyond this year’s $5.9 million budget.
“We have a healthy surplus so we can take some monies there if needed to hold down the tax rate,” she said. “Barring anything coming in the next couple months, we’re right on track.”
The state tax cap generally restricts tax levy increases to the lesser of 2 percent or the rate of inflation.
The amount of this year’s village surplus is expected to be more than $1 million because expenses have been running below projections while revenue has been running above, Caltabiano said. Massapequa Park ended its last fiscal year with a surplus of about $950,000. The village’s fiscal year begins on June 1.
— Ted Phillips